Tag Archives: special effects

Special Effects: Why They Look Right When They Look Right

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The late, great Ray Harryhausen. (1920-2013)

When I was a little kid my grandpa showed me King Kong, the 1933 one.  King Kong doesn’t look real, but it looks good, because it looks right.  Looking ‘right’ is the key.

Special effects are perhaps film’s biggest point of separation from the other arts.  In literature, if you want a monster in your story, you just describe it.  But a movie has to convince you what you’re looking at is real, even when you’re looking at the most not real things humans can dream up.  This takes a perfect synthesis of human imagination, technology, and innovation.
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When Effects Lose Their Effect

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Unless I’m in the mood for a truly down-to-earth story, I watch movies in order to be transported to places I’ll never go and live moments I never could in real life. In a word, I want escapism. And I get annoyed when I try to escape into an ostensibly escapist movie, only to be jolted out of it because the creators fucked up when it came to immersion. Although aspects such as the story and the characters are undeniably the most important, immersion is also very crucial. Many elements combine to form a truly immersive experience: score, sound design, acting, lighting, camerawork, and, of course, effects.
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