Classic movie scenes: before and after special effects 2

Cloud City was actually a pile of old mattresses… (Words: Mark Lankester)

This article is reposted from

8. Independence Day

There’s a reason ‘Independence Day’ bagged the Oscar for Best Visual Effects. Although the movie required over 3,000 SFX shots (a then-record), much of the movie’s dazzle was actually achieved through practical techniques – involving twice as many miniatures as had ever been used. The main alien craft itself was 65-foot wide.

9. Back To The Future

When the DeLorean hits 88 mph the flux-capacitor kicks in and ‘makes time travel possible’ – leaving the present day with nothing but some flaming tyre tracks. Alright, it’s not the most seamless use of green screen (look at the Doc’s feet), but it’s up there for iconic.

10. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

We’re not sure which is scarier, the part-man part-sea monster crew of the Flying Dutchman, or Bill Nighy and co. in skin-tight onesies. But, by wearing mo-cap suits on-set, animators were saved plenty of hassle and could work with the raw footage. Captain Davy Jones’s skin texture was based on a coffee-stained Styrofoam cup.

11. The Matrix

Visual effects supervisor John Gaeta won an Oscar for creating ‘The Matrix’s’ pioneering action sequences. ‘Bullet Time’, now a registered trademark, was achieved by surrounding the actors with a ring of still-cameras, each timed to shoot a single frame in quick succession.

12. Godzilla

Actor Haruo Nakajima racked up an impressive 20-year career playing a smorgasbord of suited monstrosities in Japanese Kaiju movies. His most famous incarnation was the King of the Monsters, ‘Godzilla’. Here he takes a break from filming to practice smashing up the streets of Japan.

13. Life Of Pi

Previously undiscovered actor Suraj Sharma took a beating during Ang Lee’s ‘Life Of Pi’. The soon-to-be Oscar winning Lee shot for 10 weeks inside the World’s largest self-generating wave tank, then placing his young star at the centre of a state-of-the-art blue-screen boat rig to complete some of the more spectacular storm shots. We were very impressed.

14. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

Perhaps the most iconic and parodied moment from the entire original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy. It’s not quite as dramatic though with a pile of what looks like old mattresses dumped below the set.

15. Inception

‘Inception’s’ gravity-defying hallway fight scene took an arduous three weeks, and over 500 crew members, to shoot. Three different hallway sets were built, including an impressive 360-degree rotating corridor. Star Joseph Gordon-Levitt trained with the stunt team for two weeks straight to avoid making any dangerous dodgy steps.

16. District 9

Director Neill Blomkamp wanted ‘District 9’s’ creepy “Prawns” to evoke a sense of disgust, using mentor Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop to design the extraterrestrial refugees. Still, Blomkamp knew the aliens should still look slightly human-esque, otherwise we just wouldn’t relate – hence the lucky chap in the revealing mo-cap suit. Problem solved.

Although the before effects do not like the same sophisticated like the after effects, we also have a good impression on them and respect what these producers have done for our audiences. Of course, we can also ignore the contributions made by render farms, which now can be called cloud render farm. I hope these two articles reposted about the before and after effects can do your some favors about the relationship between render farm and movie production.


Comments are closed.