When you can't rely on a computer to improve (or fake) a movie scene, you gotta improvise. And back in the days of silent films, filmmakers were really, really good at coming up with creative ways to cook up special effects. It was a master class of using specific camera angles, splicing together shots, using glass matte paintings and twisting perspectives to make things look as realistic as possible.
Tagged With special effects
Video: Even if there is too much CGI in movies these days (and there is), let's be thankful that the CGI we're bombarded with looks good. Or, at least, it looks so much better than the utter crap computers spat out back in the '90s. God, that era of CGI was awful. Diane Bullock edited together this clip of CGI footage to show how bleak things were back then. Do you remember how bad the aeroplane crash scene from Air Force One was? Or how silly Kurt Russell looked in the surfing scene in Escape From LA? It was hilarious.
Video: Stranger Things costumes are sure to be everywhere this Halloween, so you'll need to distinguish your ensemble by striving for complete authenticity. The ultimate Dead Barb will take some work, but YouTuber Freakmo — who specialises in effects make-up — will show you how in her cheerfully informative tutorial... slugs and all.
Video: These days all you need to recreate Hollywood-calibre visual effects is a fast PC and some expensive 3D software. But if you want to try your hand at recreating old-school special effects, find yourself a 3D printer, make a miniature version of Ghostbusters' Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and go to town with a blowtorch.
Video: Jurassic Park still holds up. It's an excellent movie that's still fun to watch, the dinosaurs are still scary as hell, and the visual effects still look spectacular. How is that possible? Even though Jurassic Park changed the way films use visual effects, the restraint it used with its own effects is what has made it stand the test of time.
Video: As Alfred pointed out in The Dark Knight, some men just like to watch the world burn. To them, a day at the beach spent lounging in the sun isn't particularly enjoyable. But a day at the beach spent terrorising swimmers with this amazing animatronic shark suit? Now that's an afternoon well spent.
Video: Remember that live-action Futurama fan film someone was making? In addition to binging Bender, Fry, Leela, Zoidberg and the professor into our world, the Fan-o-rama filmmakers are working on realising other characters too, including the all-knowing, benevolent, hypnotoad — ALL HAIL THE HYPNOTOAD (replica).
Video: When I close my eyes at night, I can still hear that beautifully creepy score from Game of Thrones' season finale, I can see the Great Sept of Baelor and the characters inside, and I can feel that chilly sense of doom. It's funny how real those emotions are still, especially since so much of what we watched on TV was faked through expert visual effects.
Video: Here's an interesting portrait of Howard Berger, a special makeup effects artist who's worked on films like The Chronicles of Narnia and Inglorious Basterds, and the work he does to transform actors into, well, monsters. You get to see everything: Adding clay to an actor's lifecast to build the form, the moulding process to create the prosthetics, the baking to get everything settled, the painting for detail and the application on the actors themselves.
Video: The Battle of the Bastards in Game of Thrones was one of the best battle sequences seen in TV or even film, and a lot of it had to do with the set up, the show's characters and how Game of Thrones incorporated stunning practical effects. But even more probably had to do with how excellent the special effects were. Here's Iloura's reel showing off all the spectacular visual effects that went into the battle. You can see how a giant gets on the field of battle, how digital horses are sent to induce chaos and how a hundred extras can look like thousands.
Video: Scott Ian is best-known for being the guitarist for thrash metal titans Anthrax. But he's also a huge genre fan, evidenced by his Nerdist video series, Bloodworks — which goes behind the scenes to explore the wonderfully gruesome special effects and make-up that make shows like Game of Thrones come alive.