How special effects are created in a movie
In the olden days, the special effects they used in creating a movie were simply done by a camera or stunts done by actors. Now, this is changed dramatically. Computer graphics (CG) do it all.
Special effects are categorized in many types, likewise: physical effects (for example a car falling through a tree in an unreal world, as Jurassic Park is); visual effects include animation and digital effects produced by a computer (as in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy); atmospherics include special effects for rain, wind, snow; pyrotechnics refer to the area that occupy itself with fire and explosions. There are people who are experienced in creating and controlling explosions.
An animatronics is a model or a prop that uses cables and pistons. Though it can be quite low-tech, it can be used for T-Rex head, as an example.
Prosthethics implies molding on a character bruises or a damaged head, something that is really convincing. Nimba Creations can even sculpt directly onto the character.
Props and models refer to chairs or other objects that have unusual functions, like futuristic weapons.
Miniatures refer to locations that are low-scaled versions of some locations that don’t need to be in their true size or for low-cost purposes. Special costumes include anything that an actor wears that is unusual, like wearing foam, fiber glass and plastics.
Polystyrene sculpting can create oversized statues as in Tomb Raider.
If you ever wondered how they did the movies back in 1800, here’s how Oscar Gustave Reijlander, born in 1813 and who died in 1875, edited the scene where Mary Queen of Scots got killed by the guillotine. He would stop the scene just before Mary was supposed to be beheaded and afterwards a dummy dressed like Mary entered the scene, then it was placed just under the blade of the guillotine, thus creating a realistic sense of execution.
Another man who was a pioneer in this field, is the French magician George Melies, born in 1861 and dead by 1938.He used multiple exposures, stop scenes, time-lapses and dissolves. In 1927, Fritz Lang used mirrors to create miniatures of locations. In 1939, Mgm studio created the film “The wizard of Oz”, after the script of Frank Baum. The special effect for the tornado was having a long muslin tower put on the top of steel. A brown material was thrown to create the illusion of dust and clouds were made of sulphur and carbon. On the top of all these, a panel of glass was put there and they had cotton balls glued on them. To show the motion, they were moved in opposite directions. In the end, some wind machines will do the trick and now the tornado is done.
In 1940, Larry Buttler created the special effect of traveling matte, which he used it for flying carpets, a tall genie, a goddess with six arms and so on. He could have used actors, but if something happened to them, that would have been a problem. They were to valuable to lose them. He could have used also stunts men but then you couldn’t see the tension of the actor. So, the matte system refers to filming first the skyscraper, the background, and then you film the actor hanging a similar wall created in the studio. In fact, the actor is just a few feet high. Then these pictures are combined and like magic, you have a person hanging by a skyscraper.
The film crew puts in a lot of effort and time in picturising a imagination. They also might have to travel to some unsafe destinations. There are great chances of accidents and injury while making a movie, so the production house always looks for good medical coverage from a reputed insurance agent for protection and guidance.