Key Advances Of SFX In The Film Industry.
Throughout the history of the media industry, the special effects used to create new and complex scenes and characters had made key advancements since the very start. From Stop-Motion animation to CGI, these advancements has lead the media industry to create blockbuster films showing unreal and unusual things real.
1933 showed one of the first modern ways of stop-motion, in King Kong. The large 18 inch fully posable model was covered in rabbit hair. This was then filmed a frame at a time to create Kong’s movement. This stop-motion was the first to advance in showing stop-motion and human films projected together to give the image that the ape was holding the human.
Later on in 1963, Ray Harryhausen used this form of stop motion modelling to create the famous four minute skeleton fight scene in Jason and the Argonauts. Stop-Motion modelling, the skeletons were made to be battling humans whilst footage of the actors fighting the skeletons off in the background played to make the battle scenes fit together, which was then combined to make a realistic battle.
Up to this day, Stop-Motion animation is frequently used still to make scenes between real and non-real characters and scenes come to life, with people and vehicle models being constantly used. Feature length films have also been made using just stop motion, such as Wallace and Gromit, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride.
In more recent years,CGI has taken over the role of creating visual effects. Labyrinth of 1986 displayed an impressive effect of CGI at the time. In the opening credits of the film, an attempt was made at creating the first realistic looking animal that is completely created in CGI and this was successfully pulled off by the animation team.
In more recent years, films such as star wars: the original trilogy, Spider man, Avengers Assemble, The Matrix, Lord Of The Rings and Jurassic Park have used a variety of new CGI visual effects to create their most memorable scenes.
The most CGI used in a recent film to date was Avatar of 2009, in which contained the most complex set of CGI scenes ever created. To complete the FX needed, the planets most accomplished FX creator companies had to combine forces to complete the project. Apart from a small amount of blue screen shots of live action, the rest was entirely made from CGI.
Pioneers of the SFX industry
Throughout the history of the SFX industry, Great pioneers have pushed the limits of what SFX can do for films, especially in the modern era. Directors and SFX specialists combined has changed the way Visual effects are used in films. These are people such as Ray Harryhausen, Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, Tim Burton and Ken Ralston, who have radically changed the way in which Visual Effects are used in films to create different scenes, themes and ideas that are not possible to be in this world, but seems so real.
As said in the last section, one of the biggest pioneers of modern SFX is director James Cameron, who created the film Avatar in 2009. The film was mostly made of CGI visual effects with a little amount of live action acting. The film of Avatar took on over a billion dollars at the box office and caused a new revolution in the SFX side of the film industry. James Cameron wrote Avatar in 1995 and was ready to film in 1999, but at the time the technology to make the film didn’t exist. Motion Capture, Stereoscopic shooting and the basic SFX tools weren’t effective enough to create the film in 1999 so he waited for technology to advance, whilst adding to these advancements with inventions and innovations of his own.
James Cameron’s visual advancements also were showcased in Terminator 2 for liquid metal and Titanic which he mixed physical and digital effects together.
Nowadays, hundreds of studios and talented Visual effects artists and directors have worked on films for the last century of film making. It was the combined effort of all these pioneers to bring us to the present day effects we have on offer to create the quality of films we can achieve today.
Case Study: Image Engine
Image Engine are one of the top SFX company’s in the world currently. They are a team of highly talented media creators that bring their global expertise, boundless creativity and shared passion together to create stunning visual effects to every production they have worked on.
They are based in Vancouver BC and are an independatley owned and operated company led by a team of highly skilled and passionate individuals helping to further the art of visual effects and story telling. They have created a number of incredible creatures, environments and digital effects for a wide range of visual media, from District 9 to Zero Dark Thirty to Jurassic World and Game Of Thrones.
Since their opening in 1995, they have grown their capabilities steadily. They now frequently work on multiple projects at once and managing the entire visual effects for most films they are working on. With new and ever advancing technology, they are able to create and pioneer the new dawn of the visual effects industry and continue to create top effects in top films.
The impact of using SFX on a production budget
SFX used to take a large amount of the overall budget to create and use good quality visual effects in a film. This was okay for big budget films as this would be a small sum taken from the large budget but for smaller budget films, this was a hard task to do for a small sum of the production price and sometimes filmmakers would spend a large amount of the budget on the visual effects rather than the film itself.
Nowadays, the advancements in SFX technology have meant that it is relatively cheaper to create Visual effects in films without taking a large amount out of the budget. If this isn’t a way that works for a film, then the alternative is to assume that everything can’t be fixed in the post production stage, and would be easier to film them on set if they are simple and easy to pull off, such as smoke coming from a vent in a street. This means that less of the overall budget will be wasted on creating visual effects for this afterwards.
In conclusion, how much the SFX in films affects the budget is determined by how much your willing to spend on the visual effects and the whole film, as each cost different depending how you see it.