Visual Effects

Virtual Backlots

This visual effects reel shows how green screen can be used to digitally recreate actual locations.

Whilst we’ve got used to CGI-drenched summer blockbusters, a persistent development has been the growth in the use of green screen to augment environments.

This demo from Stargate Studios uses CGI enhancements made to various TV shows filmed or set in New York.

One thing to look out for is the matching of lighting in certain scenes, but some of this is impressive.

> Stargate Studios on Vimeo
> More on Chroma Key at Wikipedia

Behind The Scenes Visual Effects

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy VFX

A video showing how visual effects were used to create the period world of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy begs the question as to why wasn’t nominated for a BAFTA or Oscar.

Mention the phrase ‘visual effects’ and I suspect images of science fiction or fantasy movies leap to mind.

After all, films like Star Wars (1977) and Avatar (2009) are most associated with the field.

Tomas Alfredson’s masterful John Le Carre adaptation is not the kind of film you would associate with modern visual effects, as it is a realistic tale of corruption and intrigue in MI6 during the 1970s.

But this video shows how modern technology was used to skilfully augment Maria Djurkovic‘s amazing production design:

They were done by Swedish company The Chimney Pot they highlight just how sophisticated the digital augmentation of photographic reality has become.

So sophisticated in fact that it may have worked against them in the awards season as the film has missed out on both BAFTA and Academy nominations.

It isn’t easy to blend old school techniques with cutting edge digital tools, but when they are combined successfully the results can be magical.

There is the (possibly apocryphal) story that 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) lost the Best Makeup Academy Award to John Chambers for Planet of the Apes (1968) because the judges didn’t realize Kubrick’s apes were really people (perhaps that was actually a greater compliment than the Oscar).

It was a strong field this year but it begs the question, did The Chimney Pot lose out on visual effects recognition because they were too good?

> The Chimney Pot
> More on the history of the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects

Animation Short Films

The Third & The Seventh

The above short film The Third & The Seventh by Alex Roman is an incredible example of CGI animation. So good in fact, that it doesn’t on first glance look as though it was entirely created on a computer.

It deals with architecture and photography and the following video explains how it was done:

This video also shows how they did a certain shot:

It not only shows how far visual effects have come but also how cheap the tools are to create something that looks stunning.

[Link vis PetaPixel]

Behind The Scenes Interesting

Visual Effects in Avatar

James Cameron’s Avatar is currently dominating the world wide box office and one of the stand out features is the visual effects.

Here are some behind the scenes videos which explain how they were created.