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“Key Concepts of Visual Effects” Phillip Shaw

 

      A reflective report on key concepts and production of visual effects for film

Phillip Shaw 0800554 Games art and Design.


List of images in the order they appear. Traffic Crossing Page 3: senhorziglemoco. (2009). Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge (1888) - O segundo filme produzido por Louis Aime Augustin. Available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yqmXS8Dhy0&playnext=1&list=PLBE0EC392BE79AE45 &index=7. Melies Scene by Scene Page 5 Behets,. (2009). George Melies 1902. Available: http://img18.imageshack.us/i/georgesmlis1902levoyage.jpg/. Star Wars Matte Paintings Page 8 Shaw, P (2010). Return of the Jedi matte paintings. Only available within this document. Optical Printer Page 9 Nugent, N. (2004). NRN DESIGN - VFX. Available: http://www.angelfire.com/scifi2/valaryc/index.html. Earthquake: The Big One Page 10 NicksVideo. (2009). Earthquake: The Big One. Available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvBo3RchvAY. Miniature Big Ben Page 11 Tucker, M. (2006). DOCTOR WHO ALIENS OF LONDON/WORLD WAR THREE, BBC1. Available: http://www.themodelunit.co.uk/ Miniature Big Ben Page 12 Tucker, M. (2006). DOCTOR WHO ALIENS OF LONDON/WORLD WAR THREE, BBC1. Available: http://www.themodelunit.co.uk/ Hunter Bug Page 15 Cetorelli, L. (1996). The People Behind the VFX. Available: http://www.vfxhq.com/1997/starship-who.html. Selma Hayak Wire Stunt Page 16 Bourque, X. (2008). Shot Breakdown. Available: http://www.xavierbourque.com/portfolio/Shot_Breakdown_files/mexico_1.jpg.


Pirates of the Caribbean Matte Paint Page 18 Dusseault, Y. (2005). Matte Paintings. Available: http://www.dusso.com/images/mp02/mp53.html. Concluding Visual Effects Shot Apocalyptic City Pictorion. (2009). VFX Breakdown. Available: http://www.pictorionfilm.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=48&Itemid=69&limit start=3.

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“Key Concepts of Visual Effects” Phillip Shaw

Abstract:   Most of us take Visual Effects (or VFX) in film for granted. We simply; a) criticise the quality of it or b) don't recognise it's there at all! I fall into the first category so this report will address the complexity, history and technique behind VFX and postproduction, as well as give you the reader a look at industry standard practices. By the end of this report you will have a concise in-depth insight into the creative art of VFX production that will equip you with the knowledge you need to understand and appreciate fundamental themes of this vast subject field. It is beyond the scope of this report to investigate every visual effect practice used in industry so I have distilled this text into the core concepts that the complete novice should ʻknowʼ when considering production of a visual effects scene.                                    


Contents I have split my document into two encompassing chapters but have cross-referenced key points by paragraph number. For example the Stop Action Trick starts on page four paragraph 2 and continues until page five paragraph one. This should make finding particular themes easily navigable.

Table of illustrations Introduction………………………...……….page 3 para 1

Chapter One………………………………...page 3 para 2 Birth of Cinema…………………..….page 3 para 3 Stop Action Trick…………………….page 4 para 2 Editing…………………………...……page 5 para 1 Matte Painting……….……………….page 5 para 2 Glass Plates………………………….page 6 para 2 Rear Projection………………………page 7 para 1 Latent Image Matte………………….page 7 para 2 Optical Printer………………………..page 9 para 1 Miniatures…………………………….page 10 para 1 CG Models……………………………page 11 para 1 Lighting Models………………………page 13 para 1

Chapter Two……………………….………...page 13 para 3 3D Models……………………………page 14 para 2 Lighting and Composites….….….…page 14 para 2 Object Removal……….……………..page 16 para 1 Camera Tracking…….………………page 16 para 1 Green Screen………………………...page 17 para 1

Conclusion...……………………….………...page 19 Bibliography……………………….….….……page 23

 

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An Introduction to Visual Effects 101: An historical look at key concepts!

I have often found, when writing reflective reports of this nature, that starting at the beginning is often the best foot forward. It is with that in mind that I will break down this research report on “Key Concepts of Visual Effects” into easily navigable and digestible sections, starting with the history of visual effects.   When we think of VFX today we think of blockbuster motion pictures and heart stopping action sequences with car chases and explosions. In this chapter I am going to introduce you to the two, in my opinion, historically hardest working techniques in visual effects production. But let's just roll it back for a moment and consider where those conventions have stemmed from, let's consider that the root of visual effects is actually capturing those moments on film in the first instance. I won't dwell too much on the history of cinema because that goes beyond the scope of this report but I feel it's important to understand where this involved subject begun.     Le Prince is considered the pioneer of the motion picture. His father was an intimate friend of Louis Daguerre, the famous pioneer of photography, who gave his son some early lessons in the art.   (Varma, 2011)     Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince was the first to capture moving images on film, in 1888 with a selection of pieces including traffic in Leeds:

© Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince 1888 (Senhorziglemoco, 2009)

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This was at least seven years before the Lumier brothers or Thomas Edison, who as we know historically pioneered various photographic and technological innovations (National Film and Media Museum, 2010). It was in peculiar circumstances that Louis was denied the title of 'first filmmaker' because it was that he mysteriously disappeared on a train journey in 1890 never to be seen again. But, suffice to say he laid the keystone to this billion-dollar industry. It's based on Le Princes', the Lumier' and Edisonʼs development that VFX as we know them really started to take shape. It was in 1902 by a French filmmaker by the name of George Meliès that first used a 'special effect' in a simple film he was shooting of Parisian traffic. Meliès' camera gate mechanism jammed whilst filming so he had to fx the fault and replace the film to continue the shot, thinking nothing of this he finished shooting and processed his film, this is where the magic happened! When Meliès watched back his film suddenly objects disappeared and vehicles changed their appearance, he had accidentally invented the "stop camera trick". With this discovery Meliès began filming magic tricks at his Theatre Robert Houdin for the public's marvel. This was the advent of visual effects.     "He pioneered the first double exposure (La caverne Maudite, 1898), the first split screen with performers acting opposite themselves (Un Homme de tete, 1898), and the first dissolve (Cendrillon, 1899)." (Walters, 2002)     Meliès didn't stop with his stop action trick, he also, quite fantastically, used paintings to extend his set. Like most filmmakers Meliès is most associated with his most iconic work, in this case it was the science fiction extravaganza "Le Voyage dans la Lune" or rather "A Trip to the Moon". This film is considered today to be the most technically innovative film of its day, largely down to the effects that Meliès has woven into the feature. American film academic Ken Dancyger states on the subject of editing, (a post production phase);              

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"[The film is] no more than a series of amusing shots, each a scene unto itself. The shots tell a story, but not in the manner to which we are accustomed. It was not until the work of American Edwin S. Porter that editing became more purposeful." (Dancyger, K, 2002)   Without drifting too far off of course the editing of A Trip to the Moon is an interesting avenue of research. Meliès portrays the same scene, the landing of the travellers on the moon, in two very different ways. In the first instance the travellers crash into the eye of the 'man in the moon' in the second instance the rocket ship is seen landing smoothly on the moons surface. (Melies, 1902) As mentioned above Edwin Porter toyed with editing and filming the same scene twice in the 1903 short Life of an American Fireman (Dancyger, K, 2002) partially based on what he had seen in A Trip to the Moon. Editing was now being considered whilst in the filming stage of production. Yet another important concept inadvertently created by Meliès.   Whilst the stop trick was what Meliès most famously used, as mentioned above, he also creatively used paintings to incorporate fictional backdrops into his films. These by todayʼs standards are considered to be matte painting. An example of Meliès' matte painting is one of the moons landing scenes in which you can see the rocket ship and travellers on the lunar surface.

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A shot-by-shot breakdown of A Trip to the Moon © Melies, 1902 (Behets, 2009)

Matte painting is an incredibly important concept in visual effects; throughout the twentieth century matte painting was considered the workhorse of visual effects. A big part of visual effects is combining traditional art into filmed sequences. There are many different artistic way in which film makers trick the viewer into believing the actor, for example, is on an alien planet, or being chased through a forest by zombie dogs. let's take a look at the evolution of this by considering the practice in industry. I have mentioned George Melies as being a true pioneer in VFX he extended his set in his 1902 film "A Trip to the Moon" by aligning a painted canvas in front of his camera but behind the actor, thus creating the effect of the actor being on the moon. This by definition is a matte painting, however the history books tell us that he didn't invent this art even though he used this practice in 1902 to present his film in this ingenious way. In today's terms we would call this practice "Rear Projection" matte'ing. Lets for a moment go back to the beginning of the 20th century to the photographer and filmmaker Norman Dawn, it is generally regarded (Fielding, 1980) that he first used a matte painting in his 1907 film "Missions of California” (Jeka, 2006) in which he used extensive "Glass Plate" mattes, (note that Melies used mattes five years before Dawn.) I donʼt want to argue the accuracy of history but simply to provide passage through this minefield of a subject. I have come to learn that historians frequently disagree when it comes to the history of cinema. Tim Dirks credits Melies as using matte paintings in A Trip to the Moon on his Filmsite website:

“It (A Trip to the Moon) contained 30 separate tableaus (scenes) with innovative, illusionary cinematic 'editing' techniques (trick photography with superimposed images, double-exposures, dissolves and stop-motion jump cuts), live-action, animation, the use of matte paintings..” (Dirks, 2009)

Fry and Furzon elaborate more on the technicalities of matte painting and Norman Dawnʼs techniques:

“Dawn combined his experience with the glass shot with the techniques of the matte shot. Up until this time, the matte shot was essentially a doubleexposure: a section of the camera's field would be blocked with a piece of

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cardboard to block the exposure, the film would be rewound, and the blocked part would also be shot in live action. Dawn instead used pieces of glass with sections painted black (which was more effective at absorbing light than cardboard), and transferred the film to a second, stationary camera rather than merely rewinding the film. The matte painting was then drawn to exactly match the proportion and perspective to the live action shot. The low cost and high quality of Dawn's matte shot made it the mainstay in special effects cinema throughout the century.” (Fry & Furzon 1977)

It is certainly important to understand how this practice has evolved over a hundred years and that although by todays standards those practices are out of date for a number of years it was a cost effective and viable solution for directors and film makers to achieve fantastical results. For example George Lucas relied heavily on matte paintings for his science fiction saga Star Wars using numerous techniques, including 'Rear Projection', to place the viewers in those space aged environments. Many modern and groundbreaking films use matte painting in some form or another. Let's look at George Lucas' Star Wars franchise. We all have at some stage in our lives been exposed to Star Wars so there is no need to address to narrative here, what is important are the processes used to achieve the films potential, in this case weʼre talking about the matteʼing involved. Much like Melies and Dawn, Lucas relied heavily on 'trickery' to produce the myriad of shots that he needed to showcase his scenes, there are a plethora of fantastical environments and landscapes, many of which were far beyond Lucas' budget to build, so, he turned to the talented matte artists. Simple matte painting onto glass wasn't going to be enough here however and other techniques needed to be used. This is where I'll introduce "Latent Image Matte", simply shortened to LIM. LIM utilizes the typical glass plate matte technique but takes the process further. In LIM a portion of the film is left unexposed during filming, often by blacking out a portion of the cameras lens, typically blacking the part that you want your matte to appear in. For example these shots below of the droids from Star Wars Return of the Jedi;

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©Lucas, 1979, (Shaw, 2010)

As you can see although the process is complicated the final composite works brilliantly. Of course it isn't quite as simple as it may seem. I will now refer to Nick Nugent's incredibly helpful website that focuses on, specifically, Star Wars and the visual effects within it, however many of the practices are uniform and cross over onto many movies and into other industries. Lets for a minute imagine the advancement of games on 'discs' happened in the late seventies or eighties and not the nineties, if a games designer wanted to include an opening movie, or a cutscene, he would have had to use these film theories and practices in order to achieve what the studio wanted. Imagine Asteroids' opening movie, maybe a squadron of ships cruising through space or a commander in his space ship. All this would have had to be produced in a similar way as Lucas produced the shots in Star Wars. So, thanks to Nick's website we have a concise but involved look from the producers chair at how these visual effects are achieved;    

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(Nugent, N 2004)

What we have here is an “Optical Printer” and it is with this device that much of composting from the Star Wars saga was completed. Nick explains the processes on his site;

1- A projector shines the front strip of film over the strip before it. (#2)

2- This strip of film has the image we are trying to composite into the scene. (TIES, Live Action Footage, etc).

3- This lens focuses the elements from strip #1 and #2 to be composited to the final film strip (#4)

4- This strip of film already has its own image on it, such as the image of a Matte Painting, motion backgrounds, etc.

5- The camera that photographs all the films composited together in the lens's eye. To this camera, the images appear to blend together with 
crystal clarity, save for the grain of the film which produces the final illusion of all the elements existing in the same place. (Nugent, N 2004)

Again, to todays standards these processes seem long winded but in actual fact revolutionized the way in which set extension and composited matte paintings were achieved.

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So I have given you an overview of a major weapon in the visual effects arsenal letʼs bring things a little more up to date. Thereʼs an old saying in Hollywood; “if you want to make something really really big, you have to make it really really small!” (Heston, 1992) If you have been lucky enough to visit Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, or California then you would have probably taken a tour around a sound stage in which they tell you a little about the history of film effects. I happen to be one of those people and remember those attractions vividly. On the Earthquake: The Big One attraction the audience is treated to a behind the scenes look at some of the effects used in the 1974 movie Earthquake, coincidentally. In Earthquake the use miniatures was heavily relied upon. This is another mainstay of visual effects, remember; “if you want to make something really really big, you have to make it really really small!” (Heston, 1992). That is exactly what they did. I have been lucky enough to find a press featurette on the Earthquake attraction at Universal Studios, here are a selection of stills from that featurette. I have requested a higher quality version directly from Universal Studios but in the meantime this will have to suffice:                                  

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© Universal Studios, 1992 (NicksVideo, 2009)

Miniatures are still very much used in visual effects today. I contacted Mike Tucker, recent author of BBC VFX: The Story of the BBC Visual Effects Department, about his work stepping into the realm of CG from traditional miniature effects. I asked Mike if he thought CG effects would ʻtake overʼ traditional miniature effects;

I've got no issue with digital effects as a new tool for effects designers. I've used digital solutions myself and am very happy to work closely with digital effects supervisors. Where I have a problem is on projects where digital is used as an all-encompassing solution, as there are areas where it's simply the wrong tool for the job. Some producers simply aren't aware of this and look on anything that isn't CGI as 'old fashioned'. Christopher Nolan is an ideal example of a director who uses every means available to him to create good effects sequences - mixing old and new techniques to great effect. (Tucker, 2010)

Mike has worked on a number of commercially successful projects leading The Model Unit, for example;

Working closely with the digital effects team at The Mill, a large-scale section of the clock tower was constructed in plaster sections, and a fiberglass and timber wing built in scale. The destruction was achieved as an 'in-camera' effect, shot on two high speed 16mm cameras. As well as destroying Big Ben, we also got the opportunity to blow up Downing Street - providing a shot of a 1/3 scale model of the famous Number 10 door against black for the Mill to composite into the plate photography. (Tucker, 2006)

(Tucker, 2006) (

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(Tucker, 2006) The miniature shots above are from BBCʼs Doctor Who story “World War Three”. Miniatures in visual effects have a long and rich history but the technique by which they are built is beyond the scope of this report so unlike Matte Painting above I will not cover different approaches to model building. It is important to talk about miniatures however because of the extensive way they are used in production.

As far back as 1898 during the dawn of film, filmmakers used miniatures (a.k.a. models), a special effect technique still used today, to create key events that had recently occurred in the Spanish-American War. Notably the sinking of the battleship Maine. Other techniques, matte paintings and now in the past decade computer generated imagery (CGI) have been widely used to represent grand scale environments in film. In recent years the rise of CGI and sophisticated animatronics and puppetry from Stan Winston Studios to Jim Hensonʼs Creature Shop, has led character modeling and animation to the forefront of the special visual effects industry. (Zeller, 1998)

Although practices such as matte paintings are now handled largely by digital artists model making is still considered to be a viable method of producing effects. In my personal situation I will be 3D modeling a German tank for the live action scene I have planned to shoot but it would be perfectly acceptable to use an actual model and composite the animation together in post. Which is precisely how miniature

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animation is edited together. If I had the skills to physically build a 1/3 scale German tank I personally feel that it would ʻgelʼ better with the live action than a CG tank. Matching the light source for a scene would be much easier in realtime than in a 3D suite and filming assets ʻin-cameraʼ generally produces better outcomes. A prudent quote from Zellerʼs paper illustrates the complexity of getting 3D models ʻrightʼ for the shot:

For the rockets and modules, Visual Effects Supervisor Rob Legato used miniatures. Legato explains his reasons in Tim Prokopʼs Cinefex #63 article, “I like to shoot everything in-camera unless thereʼs a specific reason why I canʼt. Shooting in-camera effects gives me a photographic quality right from the start...”, the latter highlighting an obvious problem of computer generated imagery where time tweaking for photo-realism and excellent digital artists are required. The lack of photo-realism in some digital shots has hindered 3D animation until recently. (Zeller, 1998)

Regrettably I cannot find the Cinefex article that Zeller refers to but this is a very important point. However, in the twelve years since Zeller wrote his paper 3D modeling and animation has grown incredibly and the quality of todayʼs CGI is phenomenal. This brings us up to the ʻnowʼ with regards to visual effects, I could literally spend thousands of words detailing every visual effects practice but highlighting the concepts that directly influence my live sequence is far more relevant. In the next chapter I will use industry insights to pull apart a shot and break it down into production practice.

VFX On Location: Key concepts for producing visual effects!

I have already given you an overview of two principles that are synonymous with visual effects now letʼs look at how these may be applied in filmmaking. I will be introducing more visual effects concepts in this chapter but it is possible to consider these without discussing their history. As mentioned I will be producing a live action filmed sequence to which I will be adding visual effect elements. This is out of necessity and not simply desire. The narrative of my sequence neednʼt be explored in any great depth here but an

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overview is certainly needed to understand why I canʼt achieve completion of sequence using standard film practices. I will be producing a cutscene for a World War Two video game in which a German Panzer tank will ambush our two protagonists. There will be explosions, smoke, debris and, of course, a Panzer tank! I cannot ever hope to actually blow anything up on location or use an actual Panzer tank so these things will have to be added as digital assets in post-production. Letʼs look into the archives and behind the scenes of 1997 movie Starship Troopers at how the varying visual effect elements were produced. As already mentioned lighting any miniature or 3D model is an agonising task and certainly one that needs to be right. Technical Director on Starship Troopers Larry Weiss says:

"In lighting the bugs in the daylight shots, we tried to recreate the lighting that an actual sky would produce, using a combination of lights acting as aerials, and a group of lights aiming up from the ground, in addition to the key (the sun), whose position was based on positioning data from the set." Using reference footage taken on location, including photographing a grey sphere and scale Marquetteʼs of the bugs, "we determined the color and intensity of each of those lights. It was a very accurate way of making the bugs appear as if they actually exist in the background plate." (Vaziri, 1998)

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(Cetorelli, 1996)

Above is an example of the 3D model created for the ʻHunterʼ bugs in Starship Troopers. Compositing footage together in post-production is regarded as a visual effect practice in itself. The amount of time spent on post-production is directly comparable to the length of time spent actually capturing your footage, in some circumstances shooting can be completed in a month but the editor and producer may then spend another year in post-production building the movie to a high finish. Much like Weiss I will be spending a lot of time considering lighting my models for my sequence. Fortunately enough me I have the bonus of shooting in winter with blown out overcast skies lighting my footage, re-creating this in post is much less complicated than re-creating direct sunlight. For example, I wonʼt have to spend too much time on perfecting a sky-dome in 3D to produce accurate shadows because in my footage I simply wonʼt have any. Robert Rodriguezʼs cult movie Once Upon a Time in Mexico uses a myriad of visual effects. The way Rodriguez produces these effects are noteworthy here because his studio, Troublemaker Studio, does not employ a visual effects supervisor, Rodriguez plans all of the effects himself. One impressive sequence in Once Upon a Time.. is the scene in which Antonio Banderas and Selma Hayak are

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swinging along the side of a building four stories above ground. This sequence was actually penned for Desperado, the second movie in Rodriguezʼ ʻEl Mariachiʼ trilogy, but had to be dropped simply because it was impossible to shoot. However, six years later technology has improved and this sequence is finally achievable. Rodriguez says:

“This scene I wrote for Desperado but cut it out of the script ʻcos I figured it would just be impossible to do, but six years later object removal is far easier we still have the actors hanging there with no net beneath them but securely fastened to wires. All you then have to do is erase the wires.” - Rodriguez, 2004 (Fimmaker101, 2007)

(Bourque, 2008)

Object Removal is an innovative technique, it allows the filmmaker to have ʻsomethingʼ in the shot but gives him the freedom to later erase that from the finished piece. This is useful, not only for safety reasons, but also for technical considerations. In my sequence I will be adding animation and so will therefore need to create a camera track digitally so that my animation will seamlessly merge with the film. In order to do this I will need to have camera markers in the scene because I will not have enough contrasting data in the footage to track with them. Normally, like the wire removal above, the filmmaker would place highly contrasting markers in the scene so that tracking the camera would be possible. I have chosen a different method. This means that, for example, amidst the undergrowth of the road embankments I will include “litter” to use as camera markers, perhaps a Coca Cola can, the red is vastly different to the earthy greens of the background, and an old tyre. I can use those as anchor points for my camera track and then get away with leaving them in the shot. In the case of the wires on Selma Hayak in the shot above object removal was necessary, as it couldnʼt be made integral to the scene.

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Another way the scene above could have been filmed would have been to use a green screen and composite the actors into the shot in post production. This wouldnʼt have necessarily omitted the need for wires but it would have taken the dangerousness of the shot down. Green screening is a great tool available to filmmakers because it blows your location shooting right open and enables you to ʻfilmʼ sequences that you couldnʼt do otherwise. Logistics arenʼt the only reason for the use of a green screen. As I mentioned above for reasons of safety it may be the only option you have if you want to film a particular scene that may be hazardous. Quentin Tarantino planned contrary to this because he dislikes digital video effects. I his movie Grindhouse: Death Proof Tarantino knew that the use of CGI would be a necessity if he wanted to use Uma Thurman for the iconic car chase at the end of the movie. He then decided to write the part for Zoe Bell instead, as she was Thurmanʼs stunt double in Kill Bill. Tarantino says;

"CGI has fully ruined car crashes. Because how can you be impressed with them now? When you watch them in the '70s, it was real cars, real metal, real blasts. They're really doing it and risking their lives. But I knew CGI was gonna start taking over, so this was my chance. Zoe Bell was Uma Thurman's stunt double in "Kill Bill." So I thought, if write a part for her, I can do all the stuff I can't do with normal actors. And Zoe will insist I do it that way. So I can really push this! And that was that." (Tarantino, 2009)

Tarantinoʼs partner on Death Proof was the afore mentioned Robert Rodriguez who comments on his choice for omitting a green screen in favor of a live car chase;

"I am so proud of him for doing a car chase like that. I would never do a car chase like that, Iʼd be too scared. I would just have those guys in front of a green screen so quick, but I wouldnʼt end up with the product that he ended up with. And the result is itʼs a freakinʼ awesome chase." (Rodriguez, 2009)

Although not favored by all filmmakers green screens offer huge potential for low budget filmmaking.

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Green screen, or chroma-key green fabric, is the best way to merge layers of footage and graphics onto a single, video timeline. Add in some 3D scenery, advanced CGI, and photorealistic texturing, and you've got yourself a pretty fine looking film. (Larson, 2009)

It can allow filmmakers to create virtual environments tailored to their narrative and built around the actors. Set design, prop building, lighting and crews are just a few of the overhanging expenses that can be cut by considering a green screen. (Larson, 2009) I have explored using a green screen in my live sequence but have reduced the need for one based on choices I have made in pre-production. Had I not have decided to revise my camera positions and filming location I would have utilized a green screen because it would have been necessary. Couple a green screen together with a photo realistic matte painting and you can literally create any world you can imagine, look at this shot from Walt Disneyʼs visually stunning Pirates of the Caribbean;

(Dusseault, 2005)

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In Conclusion ..there and back again!

The amount of work that goes into filming for visual effects is literally mind blowing. I couldnʼt possibly hope to cover this subject in its entirety in five thousand words but I have steered you through the subject matter that matters! That is, it matters because it has made you aware of where visual effects has begun, how it has grown and what it can achieve if applied correctly. I have showed you that although visual effects can achieve fantastical results, based on choices that filmmaker makes in the preproduction of his feature visual effects may not be necessary. I made a bold statement in my abstract stating that;

“By the end of this report you will have a concise in-depth insight into the creative art of VFX production that will equip you with the knowledge you need to understand and appreciate fundamental themes of this vast subject field”

I have introduced you to the practices of matte painting, miniature and 3D modeling, object removal and green screen usage all of which make up key concepts within producing visual effects for film. The subject of visual effect production has many sub-categories within itself so trying to cover everything is less of a report and more of an encyclopedia but the aim and focus of this text has been met. To quote J.R.R Tolkien from “There and Back Again”: The Fellowship of the Ring:

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.” (Tolkien, 1954)

This is an appropriate summing up. It is fair to say that we as students, as essentially we all are, wonʼt ever know this subject completely but simply know enough as is required, or indeed how much is humanly possible to absorb. I direct you now to the shot below. I wonʼt explain what visual effects are being used but see if the text in this document has helped you to understand the subject by putting my words to the test. I hope you have found this report as informative and enjoyable to read as I found creating it. Thank you.

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(Pictorion, 2009)

Bibliography Websites: Barron, C. (1998). Matte Painting the Digital Age. Available: http://www.matteworld.com/projects/siggraph01.html. Last accessed 01 Nov 2010. Bosko, M. (2001). Using Mattes to Broaden Your Horizons. Available: http://www.videomaker.com/article/8208/. Last accessed 22 Oct 2010. Dirks, T. (2009). Film Milestones in Visual and Special Effects. Available: http://www.filmsite.org/visualeffects1.html. Last accessed 13 Jan 2011. Drozda, J. (2007). Simple Object Removal. Available: http://library.creativecow.net/articles/drozda_jerzy/SimpleObjectRemoval/video-tutorial. Last accessed 26 Oct 2010. Edison, T. (1895). The execution of Mary, Queen of Scots. Available: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/h?ammem/papr:@field(NUMBER+@band(edmp+4036)). Last accessed 15 Oct 2010. Jeka. (2006). Matte Painting. Available: http://www.eyesontutorials.com/articles/5250/1/Mattepainting/Page1.html. Last accessed 16 Dec 2010. Larson, B. (2009). The Green Screen Potential: Behind the Scenes of Sin City and The Matrix. Available: http://www.binarycrumbs.com/2009/03/green-screen-potential-behindscenes-of.html. Last accessed 22 Dec 2011.

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Key Concepts of Visual Effects.  

An overview of the key concepts within the production of visual effects for film. - Matte painting - Miniatures - 3D - Green Screens

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