These days, there are rarely any new Hollywood releases that aren’t riddled with SFX. From massive car crash scenes to impressive space landscapes, there is nothing that filmmakers have trouble recreating on the big screen. Interested in learning their production secrets? In this blog post, we’ll go behind the scenes of some of Hollywood’s biggest movies and reveal their SFX secrets.
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, 1977
The first Star Wars movie that was released way back in 1977 was ahead of its time. And everyone remembers that very impressive opening scene where a rebel fighter flies a small spacecraft down into the trench of the Death Star. This epic scene relies on a filming technique known as Dykstraflex. The special camera that was created for Dykstraflex allows for seven axes of motion so that the camera can get a variety of angles, thanks to it being able to pan, roll, swing, and much more!
Terminator 2: Judgement Day, 1991
The second instalment of the Terminator series is widely regarded as a very fine example of Hollywood SFX. So, how exactly did they create a robot made out of water?! Well, they had to spend a lot of preparation testing out various moulds and 3D models to make sure that they got the look just right. They also had to build a lot of different models of the T-1000 and T-800 robots to use for filming different scenes. For example, they needed a T-1000 with a split head as well as one without any faults!
The Avengers, 2012
Superhero ensemble movies are often packed full of epic special effects. And one of the most recent ones that have achieved critical acclaim for its awesome SFX is Marvel’s The Avengers. A lot of green screens were used during the filming of this movie. What is green screen? It’s a Well, it’s exactly what it says on the tin! It is a green screen which the actors act in front of. In post-production, the SFX team can then edit a different background onto the screen. So, it might look the the Hulk is fighting on a high skyscraper when, in actual fact, the actor didn’t even leave the studio to film the scene!
King Kong, 1933
So, how did the very early films back in the ‘30s and ‘40s manage to do all their SFX without any fancy computer trickery? It’s obvious when you think about it – they filmed small models of New York City and used a very small King Kong doll. The filmmakers were then able to make the iconic scene of Kong climbing the Empire State Building using stop-motion animation. The scenes on Skull Island feature lots of animated models as well, and the landscape scenery is actually a painted scene, which was created using specialist matte paints.
Hollywood filmmakers certainly know what they are doing when it comes to SFX and it is certainly interesting to see how their skills have developed over the years. Who knows what they will be able to do in the future?