July 1, 2019

What do Modern Movies Look Like Without VFX?

Modern movies rely heavily on VFX, but what do those same movies look like when we peel back the curtain and reveal them without computer-generated effects? 

Visual effects are part of pretty much every movie nowadays, whether they're used on a grand scale or in subtle ways. Still, the best VFX look just like real life. It can create the most beautiful settings, de-aged characters, and stunning vistas. 

One of my favorite things is looking behind the scenes to see what things look like without the VFX added. Check out this video from WhatCulture on the subject! 

Some of the first things I noticed were in the Matrix. I obviously knew the flying was fake but I had no idea all the backgrounds were as well. 

Life of Pi really was unheralded a few years ago, but some of the VFX work was truly breathtaking. Sure, the addition of a tiger was cool, but shooting in a pool and making the background practical while dealing with real water is an incredible feat. 

It's hard to even fathom the scale of a production like this, and the toll it must take on the crew and actors to get it all right.  

The Martian was my favorite movie the year it came out. Ridley Scott has always been a master but seeing him recreate Mars was something else. Knowing now that it was mostly on a soundstage blew my mind. Obviously, you can't go on location, but these shots solidify him as a visionary. 

Look at the way the dirt and rubble are built all the way up to the background so that any wide shots have a seamless meeting of the horizon and foreground.   

I love nerding out about movies and productions. I know we talk a lot about directors on this website but it is truly fascinating to see the effort put into each movie by VFX artists. They deserve to be recognized for all their hard work and world-building. Without them, none of these movies would work. 

What's next? Get the history of CGI in 3 minutes

CGI got its start in the 1950s, in Hitchcock's Vertigo, but since then each year has marked an incredible leap forward in the technology. This video essay comprises CGI's history and its mark on cinema. 

Click the link to learn more!      

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