The Special Effects Industry

coffee-wallpapers-7993-8437-hd-wallpapersKey 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.






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Employment In The Post-Production and Special Effects Industry.


Part A


Within the industry of post-production and special effects, there are many roles,responsibilities and job opportunities to choose from. One of these roles is being a Compositor. This job consists of working on constructing the final film images by “combining layers of previously-created material”. This includes “rendered computer animation, special effects, graphics, 2D animation, live action and static background plates”. To have this job, it would be a good idea to have some form of degree in an art-related subject. By the time the role is reached, a minimum of two years professional experience would be required, with examples demonstrating artistic talents and and technical skills, also with a vital knowledge of software that is currently used by the industry.


The main role in all aspects of the film in the industry is the role of the producer. They oversee all aspects of a film’s production, from writing to filming to post-production and editing. Their role is to turn story ideas into films that can make a profit, and then pull together a creative and talented cast and crew. In the special effects stage of the industry, they work fully with the crew to make sure the film is produced how they want it to be made. Their is no specific qualification needed to become a producer, but it is best to get experience as a production assistant or runner.


The main role in the post-production and special effects industry is the Editor. The Editors are one of the key heads of their department when working on films. They are always responsible for the first assistant editors and on the bigger productions, second assistants and trainees. The editor works closely with the director and producer, making sure that the story flows the smoothly from the begging to the end. Each shot is carefully selected and edited into separate scenes. These are then edited together to create the full final film. The editors work long hours with little social activity outside of work. This time is spent in an editing suite, usually under pressure to finish the film. They are usually employed on a freelance basis, chosen by the producer by their reputation and experience. Editors usual work on TV dramas and Feature Films. The editor and director work closely before the film shoot starts. This is to decide

Changing Employment Opportunities

People within the media have to be multi-skilled. More skills means they can work on more adaptable jobs. Before digital technology, each person had a role in a film, nowadays everyone needs skills in every role to work in the media for example journalists need to have camera and recorder skills as well as a notepad and to also do some layout and design skills too for internet news pages. Filmmakers are now filming, editing and producing in one role. Looking at all skills, everyone has separate jobs they specialise in, but need more skills than just one. also means that some jobs disappear and some are created due to new technology and changing times. people in the industry already have to retrain with new technologies so they understand how its used. SPD-Continual Professional Development. new job roles-website design and development, video website content, more opportunities to create video content. social media videos, apps are a large growth area. anyone has it skills and creativity are important combination of skills. filmmaking used to be complex and costly with a lot of people, but today anyone can make a film using mobile technology. Computer games industry is a growth area.

Pros and Cons Of Working Freelance

working freelance is working for self in own company. a lot of media workers are freelance, not a lot have permanent contracts. many people work on temporary contracts, some are freelancers. run business and work at same time. its hard freelancing. don’t always have job and income. market self, putting yourself out there, portfolio to promote yourself and get work, networking contracts are crucial. look up freelance working in media.doing what people want you to do. do own tax and accounting. sick means no holiday pay.

ad-not tied to a company. don’t have to rely on other people to work. get to choose the work and get all money. company has house style, freelance don’t. find a client to work for. doing what people want you to do. keep client happy.

Working Practises

there are different types of contracts. permanent full-time, only way to leave is to be sacked or you leave, can have shifts, same hours, different time. temporary contract, more flexible, less stability and secure. part time anything from a minimum to a maximum hours, working on a film, hours would are dependable on film and role so would be flexible on hours, where and who work is. more solo work as a compositor so is flexible but a filmmaker has more people to work with. solo work is more a desk job than being at scenes like a filmmaker would. as an editor, the work would be long hours with little social life and often under pressure.

Part B

Personal Career Plan

Which job role or industry/Career?

I would like to work on small movies and also YouTube daily vlogs as well as a small business. This would mean working as a writer, director, producer and editor to achieve this goal.

My skills gap? what skills haven’t I got yet? Skills and work experience I lack in? what qualifications haven’t I got yet?

I have the basic skills but I would like to develop these skills in editing some more. I wouldn’t require any work experience or qualifications to achieve the goal of working on solo projects and working for myself.

Action plan? How I’m going to get to that job that I want to do?

I aim to build on my skills in college and then begin working on small YouTube videos and projects before building my way up to having a successful business running alongside the YouTube channel and short films.

No work experience or qualifications are required so I could start this career at any time.



Sources: []

Compositor: []

Producer: []

Editor: []

Media Regulation: The BBFC


What is the BBFC?

The BBFC is the company that gives films an age classification so that they can be given a suitable rating for the audience to know what age the film can be viewed by.

  • protect  the public, and especially children, from content which might raise harm risks
  • empower the public, especially parents, to make informed viewing choices
  • recognize and respect adult freedom of choice within the law
  • respond to and reflect changing social attitudes towards media content through proactive public consultation and research
  • provide a cost-effective, efficient classification service within our statutory remit
  • work in partnership with the industry to develop innovative service models to provide content advice which support emerging media delivery systems
  • provide an effective service to enforcement agencies

What are the different classifications that a film can get?

There are seven different types of classification that can be given to a piece of media, each of these has a different meaning and restricts the audience to be of that age to view it. U means that it is suitable for all audiences of all ages to view. PG means that the film can be viewed by all ages but younger viewers need parental guidance whilst viewing it. 12A means that a cinema release is only suitable for audiences of age 12 years and over, where as 12 means that the video release is suitable for ages 12 and over. If media is classified as 15, it can only be viewed by age 15 and over, similar to the 18 classification that means that it is suitable only for adults. R18 means that the media contains restricted content containing adult themes such as sex and this should only be viewed by adults.

For example, there are many differences between films with the rating of PG to those of 15. PG rates media are mainly aimed at a young audience but not all are aimed at this age range, but still pass this classification. Most themes that are shown in this media are appropriate for this general age group PG media wont contain any themes that are appropriate for children but challenging themes such as bullying, bereavement or racism. Bad language, drug and sexual references do feature sometimes but these will either be for effect or the young audience will not understand the language and references made. Violence and threat in PG media is usually mild in these films and are nothing that a young audience will find scary, also behavior that children might copy never goes unnoticed and will always be presented as being dangerous and harmful.

On the other hand 15 rated media are able to feature more detailed themes and workings. These can be anything from strong violence, frequent strong language, sexual activity portrayal, strong sexual references, sexual nudity, brief scenes of sexual violence or references to sexual violence, discriminating language and behavior and drug taking. This is allowed as no person under the age of 15 is allowed to see a piece of 15 rated media as they are not suitable for anyone under the age.

The Criminal Law

The criminal law states that the BBFC is not allowed to pass any media that is likely to infringe any criminal law. These main criminal laws come from The Obscene Publications Act 1959 and 1964, The Cinematography Films [Animals] Act 1937, The Animal Welfare Act 2006 and The Protection Of Children Act 1978.

The Video Recordings Act

This act stated that the BBFC was required to rate a piece of media as to whether it should be allowed to be viewed in the home and what age the media can be viewed by, and where it should be distributed. This act also stated that taped, discs and packaging should be correctly labelled with the BBFC certificate rating that it has been given.

The Race Relations Act

This act places a legal obligation on public authorities to regard the need to eliminate all unlawful discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity and good relations between different racial groups.

Rate A Trailer-The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1

After watching this trailer, I identified that it included issues of Weapons, Threat, Violence, Themes and Dangerous Behavior. I then gave the trailer a rating of a 12A. I chose this rating because the issues that the film shows are, all though works of fiction, strong and graphic content that younger views would find scary or upsetting and wouldn’t be suitable for them. Also the theme of war is frequently shown in the trailer and this could become upsetting for younger viewers.

The BBFC examiners spotted that the film contained issues of Threat, Violence and Themes, which is some that I identified as well. They rated this trailer a 12A as I did and gave this reasoning.

‘The main issue in the trailer is the moderate threat and intensity that pervades the content. We see a man say, “it’s the things we love the most that destroy us” at the beginning which establishes the tone of the trailer before seeing various images of war-torn locations, people crying and screaming in fear, a damn breaking and the protagonist running from bullets. The cumulative impact of these images creates a moderate tonal threat which examiners felt was too intense for the PG category. Though there are scenes of violence such as when Katniss and Gale shoot down an aeroplane or when soldiers shoot at people running towards them, these images lack any strong detail or personalisation and are relatively brief. This trailer was passed 12A.’

The Copyright Law

The Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act of 1988 states that creators of literary, dramatic, musical, artistic works, sound recordings, broadcasts and films have the rights to control the ways in which their material may be used. For example, when the consumer buys a product created by a creator that is covered by the copyright law, it is forbidden to give a copy to another person, making an illegal copy and selling it, using the software on a network unless the licence allows it to be used and renting the product without the permission of the copyright holder.





Evaluation Of Sci-Fi Film Research Project.


Primary Research: Questionnaire.

For the quantitive primary research, I worked in a group with two other people to create this questionnaire. We aimed to ask a small group of people between the ages of 16 and 20 about their views on the Sci-Fi genre of films, this included whether the genre is one of their favourites, what they like about the genre and what films they class as classic films from this genre . We decided that to gather the views from the small group, we would create a short 15 question survey which we gave out to the small group of people we had selected to answer the questionnaire. We gave this questionnaire out to the group of people and gather the answers they gave together to create a conclusion about how much the genre is liked and why it is liked by so many people.

I think the only thing that could have been improved about our questionnaire is the way we worded the questions because they could seem a little confusing and badly worded to some people, which could have been solved if we worded the questions in a formal manor that wasn’t confusing. Also, i think we could have ordered the questions a little differently as they were little muddled when we wrote them, so we could have ordered them to be in a more ordered fashion that let the questions flow between each other. Apart from these two factors, i think we created the questionnaire correctly and it worked effectively to find out the information we wanted to.

The advantages of using a questionnaire is that it allows information that is up to date and from a wide range of people to be collected in real time so that we can know what the reasons for liking the genre are from the present day. Also it allows us to interact with people so that we can personally find out their views on the genre.

The disadvantages of using a questionnaire is that the people that answer the questions we have created could be lying about their views and the answers they put down, meaning that the answers won’t be as trustworthy and helpful if the person doesn’t answer the questions honestly. Also, the person could just not answer the questionnaire at all, meaning that a questionnaire is wasted and no data is collected from them.

Primary Research: Focus Group.

For this piece of research, I gathered a group of four people between the ages of 12 and 62 to ask five questions about the Sci-Fi genre. These five questions were to do with what they like and why they like the genre and also to find out what films they consider to be classics. To conduct this research, I gathered and sat down with my selected interviewees, then I proceed to ask them each of the questions, whilst taking note of each answer that they gave me, to which I wrote up as a piece of work later on.

The advantages of focus groups and interviews are that it allows you to interact and personally ask the questions that you want to, whilst getting truthful answers by the people as you are sat with them hearing their points that they are making. Also it allows for a group of different people to see what they like about it compared to someone who is a different age for example.

The disadvantages are that they could still lie about what their views are but they would have to hide the fact that they are lying from you. Another disadvantage is that the results they give you could are biased to their views and don’t show the views of a large majority of people. Also, though it is easy to gather a group of people to interview, it is often expensive if the people are given something for participating in the interview.

Secondary research: Internet research based.

In this individual secondary research, I decided to continue researching about the Sci-Fi film genre, as this is personally my favourite genre of films. The main aim of this piece of research was to discover how the Sci-Fi genre fits in with the rest of the genres on the box office, finding out things such as how much gross the genre makes with films on a scale with the other genres, what the highest grossing Sci-Fi films are of all time and also to find out how these Sci-Fi films have done on the all time box office when put up against other genres. The research was successful in finding out what these things, with surprising discoveries being made about the genre as a whole and how it contends with the other genres of films. I also did some research into the typical codes and conventions of the Sci-Fi genre. This too was effective research as it allowed me to right a small report on these typical codes and conventions that are often displayed in films of the Genre. To conduct all this research, I used a variety of internet websites that I linked at the bottom of each piece of work I produced.

I think that overall this secondary research I made was effective in finding out the information I wanted, using a selection of sources to give me different information on the subject. All the sources I used were relevant to the research task I was undergoing, but I think I should have made better use of the sources and studied them a little bit more.

The advantages of using the internet as a secondary source is that it allows a large amount of data and information to be accessed on the specific points that i wanted to research, making it easier for me to gather this together and write a piece about it. Also there is a lot of information that has already been gathered so it saves vital time conducting the research as a primary source, meaning that i would have to conduct all the research myself.

The disadvantages of using the internet as a secondary source is that the information that is stored on websites may not be up to date so the information that you find could be out-dated by an amount of years, meaning that the information that you use could be irrelevant. Also the information that is displayed on the internet could be fake and made up, meaning you are using an un-related and untrustworthy source for your research, meaning that the work becomes irrelevant to what your trying to research.


Although I think that the research project I conducted was effective to what I wanted to find out, I could make a few improvements if I was to do this project again. One improvement would be that I would word the questionnaire a little better than I did as it was a little bit confusing, and I would also add some sort of order to the questions to make sure that the first question relates to the second, and then that relates to the third question and so on. This would give it a better structure and flow of questions, whilst also making it easy to understand. Another improvement I would make is to use the secondary research websites I used a little more effectively so that I can gain all the relevant information from each source. I think if I was to do this project again, I would maybe ask the focus group more questions than five because that would gather more of their views to use. Apart from these points I made, I wouldn’t change anything else about the research project as I think I made some successful and positive research that is relevant and effective.

Sci-Fi Film Research


Throughout the past 10 years, since 1995, films of the Sci-Fi genre have dominated the box office and many have become the highest grossing films of all time, including Star Wars, Back To The Future and, the highest of all time, Avatar, grossing $2.788 Million on the worldwide box office. Despite having some of the highest grossing films on the worldwide box office, the genre does not appear on the list of the highest grossing genres of all time when compared to the sales of other movie genres, with Comedy, Adventure, Action, Drama and Thriller/Suspense films taking the top 5 highest grossing genres of all time.

The highest grossing Sci-Fi films between 1977 and 2009 showed that Star Wars were the frequently popular films, with the newest saga taking up spots 10, 9 and 6, and the original saga taking up spots 5,4 and for the first film, 1. This clearly shows that Star Wars is one of the most popular Sci-Fi films that has ever been created. The 8th spot shows that Independence day from 1996 was more popular than Star Wars episode two and three. The 7th spot shows that the first Back To The Future from 1985 grossed over the bottom three films.

In terms of the highest grossing films of all time and all genres, a large amount of these come under the Sci-Fi header. Star wars, E.T, Guardians Of The Galaxy and The Avengers films all rated high on the all time rankings, bringing in between $500 to $2000 million dollars at the global box office after having a budget between $10 ans $300 million dollars. The top grossing film overall was taken by Avatar, which made $2,788 million at the global box office and had only a budget of $237 million dollars, making it the top selling film of all time and all genres.

Despite having the most films at the top of the grossing lists, the genre as a whole doesn’t show on the highest grossing genres in film. Comedy films prove to be the most popular of all genres, bringing in a total box office earning of $40,745,631,721 over 2,149 films in the genre.Sci-Fi films do not rank on this list as being one of  the most popular genre’s despite having a large selection of films in the highest grossing films of all time.


Focus Group-Sci-Fi


I conducted a small focus group. I decided I would like to know what different aged people thought about the genre so I gathered a group with ages between 12 to 62. These chosen people showed interest in the genre of Sci-Fi and agreed that they would call it their favourite genre. This is a summary of what they answered to the six questions I asked.

Q1. What is it that you like about the genre of Sci-Fi?

Person 1-I think it is mostly likely the fact that films that are Sci-Fi have a good storyline to them and they hook the audience in and grips them to watching that film.

Person 2-Yeah but the storyline only works with great and creative characters that are either dark and scary if they are the villains or smart and good looking, and also slightly humorous to add a lighter feel to them.

Person 3- I like the special effects that the Sci-Fi films include in them because they are usually expensive effects that make it seem more realistic that the film is set in another time or in space or on another planet, and if that is shown, it makes it more entertaining and believable.

Person 4- I enjoy everything to do with Sci-Fi. I love the characters and the other times and planets they show and the way that all the things in them are amazing.

Q2. What do you feel lets down the Sci-Fi genre?

Person 1- If the film is not made properly, it loses the way that it can be believed. If it is a badly made film, this shows and effects how the audience believes that the setting and characters are real.

Person 2- If the special effects are not added and used in the film properly, this effects the believability of the film as person 1 said, but sometimes its let down by an overuse of effects and this then makes the film seem just as made up as it actually is.

Person 3- I think that if it is a sequel being made, such as the Star Wars 1-3 episodes, it has a hard expectation to live up to if the old films did well in there time, and often with these types of sequels and reboots, they let down the original films that were made before them because they don’t live up to the standard the other films had set.

Person 4- I don’t like it if characters are stupid in the films because Sci-Fi characters are typically smart and in some films they can be portrayed as dumb people, which can be a result of bad actors playing them.

Q3. What Sci-Fi films are classics to you? Why are they classics?

Person 1- Star wars the original saga, Ghost busters, Superman, because they all show the best special effects for what could be achieved at the time. They also have a large amount of fans so this helps them to be called classics in the Sci-Fi history.

Person 2- Star Wars as said, Ghost busters, Back To The Future, Because they all show other times, worlds and places and, although the effects wouldn’t be called the best in recent years, they showed the best of what effects could be achieved at the time they were released.

Person 3- That’s a tough question, there’s to many to name, but there classics to me because of their special effects and storyline’s as well as the characters that are featured in them.

Person 4- All of them, well Back To The Future, Ghost busters and Star Wars because they are classics that were around before me so that’s why there classic films to me.

Q4. What do you think is one of the worst Sci-Fi film that you have ever seen?

Person 1- Star Wars episode 1-3, definitely.

Person 2- Yep, definitely Star Wars 1-3, although I didn’t like Avatar either.

Person 3- I wasn’t keen on Avatar either.

Person 4- Of course Star Wars 1-3, they were terrible.

Q5. Do you think that the Sci-Fi genre is evolving?

Person 1- Id say that it is evolving in terms of story and special effects as new ideas are being perused and new technology allows more better effects to be made but they are still the same if you compare them with the typical classic films.

Person 2- There evolving in terms of better effects being added to make the worlds and characters seem more realistic but they are just the same as they have been and always will be.

Person 3- The concept of the story and characters are ever changing and technology has advanced to make better and more realistic effects but they are just the same as always, especially if they are part of a classic franchise, like Star Wars, although the prequels films let down the originals.

Person 4- There’s better effects and more realistic things in films now but, although I’m so young, I prefer the old film effects to those of today, although today’s effects are made better.

Q6. What films that are coming out in the recent future are you looking forward to?

Person 1- Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Person 2- Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but Batman V Superman if that counts.

Person 3- Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Person 4-  Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Batman V Superman.

A Summary Of Different Formats Used To Distribute Films


There are many different formats to distribute films, both legal and illegal. Most people use the legal forms to watch films that are out on the media but some don’t and prefer to use illegal apps such as Showbox to watch films that have recently entered the cinemas or have been released in America but not yet in England. YouTube can also be used to stream illegally downloaded movies to the audience over the internet or through the YouTube app as their are billions of videos posted each day and a percentage of these are films that have been downloaded to watch illegally.

The legal ways  that most people use to watch films are on DVD’s and Blu-Ray’s that are purchased in the shops or through online shopping. Also most Movie distributors tend to use the cinema as a way to first distribute their films to the audience and then see the audiences reaction and decide whether they should release a DVD version in the near future, so the audience can own the film for themselves. A various amount of websites and services allow for films to be streamed directly to the audience on their compatible devices, such as Netflix allows for films and TV shows to be streamed directly to the audiences internet or app on a laptop, Mobile or Tablet device, or games console with the app. Other films such as short independent films that last for around one minute to thirty minutes can be streamed through websites such as Short Of The Week, that allows creators to post short movies to the site for the audience to view. One of the final ways films can be distributed is through digital downloads through websites such as Blinkbox, which allows the audience to own a digital copy of the film on an account that they can then watch over the internet on the website or by using an app on their compatible devices. Other digital download sits such as Google Play, allow the film to be purchased and then played through YouTube once it has been purchased.

Sci-Fi Film Genre Research Project


Sci-Fi films tends to hold a variety of different codes and conventions within its genre. These codes and conventions are the typical characteristics that the genre of Sci-Fi portrays in films such as characters being aliens and people from other worlds distant to the one we live in. The typical codes and conventions in Sci-Fi films are shown within the characters, the audio-visual style, the narrative, the locations the film is set, the use of props and the costume the characters wear.



The typical characters you find in Sci-Fi films are mainly aliens or other species from other worlds different to ours. Most films of the Sci-Fi genre tend to use humanoid characters of either human or another species as their main character. They tend to have the qualities of a hero if they are the main protagonist or apart of the group of main protagonists. These traits are usually that they are self effacing so they don’t tend to take attention to them self for what they do, they just do what they believe is the right thing to do. They also tend to be highly noble and sacrifice their own safety to insure that others lives are protected from the evil forces and other dangers to their safety, this is mostly shown by the main character protecting their home planet or city from danger. The hero’s personality can be shown through their costume and but also through how they act, with kindness and caring for others than themselves.


On the other side of the force, the anti-protagonist or the enemies of the typical ‘good’ characters tend to be dark and evil in comparison to the hero. The typical character who is the villain of the hero can be either a humanoid or an alien form. These characters appear to want attention from people and this is usually gained in the form of terrorising them for example, by threatening to blow up the planet with a super weapon orbiting their planet. The villain character in Sci-Fi tends to be darken and hidden in the shadows whilst they terrorise their chosen city, planet or galaxy, sticking in the minds of their victims by their dark or scary appearance. They tend to have powers that counteract the protagonists but also show their typical personality of darkness or madness, such as in Star Wars, where Darth Vader and the emperor have the power of lighting from their hands. The other types of villains that are true alien form or part cyborg, use their looks and evil ways to force fear into people and terrorise them through fear. Characters such as Alien have a different and more scary look to them so use this fear to scare its prey or the hero character, and they can often be mindless creatures that kill, which can often end in the villain attacking a character or killing them.



Films of the Sci-Fi genre tend to have a variety of different narratives to them that affect how the film plays out, although all are based on the main narrative element of the binary opposition of good and evil. One of these narratives is the development or the application of new technology such as nanotech, robots and spaceships. This has an effect on the storyline of the film because it could set the villain wanting to take the new technology and use it for evil purposes so the protagonist has to guard or retake the new technology from the villain. Another narrative that is typical to Sci-Fi films is the development of new scientific principles such as time travel. This sets the plot of the film as this can result in fractures in time that cause changes in the world the characters live but also the plot could revolve around the villain obtaining the new scientific principles and changing the course of history to their advantage. Another narrative element that is often shown in Sci-Fi films is The development and application of of new political systems for example dystopian or utopian societies. Of all these typical types of Sci-Fi narratives, the main narrative that tends to be shown is where the hero is trying to save the galaxy, planet or city from an invasion from other worldly villains that come to the place in a portal or spaceship which causes chaos on the streets and means lots of explosions tend to happen. This is typical to most films in the genre as it means that the conflict between the binary oppositions can be shown through the protagonists struggle to overcome the invasion but showing that in the end, good always exceeds than bad. These narrative examples are primarily used to often comment on the conflict within real society, mainly the relationship between countries or cultures within a nation. They are also used to create ideas in the technological or scientific imagination of the viewers.



The main location of typical Sci-Fi films is in outer space, particularly in other worlds or alternative versions of the earth. These typical locations are often in the distant future on either the present timeline or an alternative timeline. Another possibility also could be the setting of the present but with an alternative timeline, such as in Back To The Future.



Props in Sci-Fi films are typically different to the things you would see in everyday life. They have a more futuristic and space themed design to them such as most guns in Sci-Fi films wont look like the weapons we have today, they will charge energy and fire rays rather than bullets. Also, other props such as vehicles and furniture have a futuristic design rather than looking like the furniture we have today, this could be things such as floating tables that require no legs. Most props are used to reflect the era they are set in, so if its far in the future the props will be more futuristic to imply the change and advancement over time.




The costume that a character wears in Sci-Fi films also represent the era that the film is set in. For example, something that is set in the future in space features some form of spacesuit that is more advanced than ours are in the present.

Also costume can be used to reflect the characters personality in a film. If the colours are light then they would typically be apart of the good side in the film and possibly is one of the heroes, such as in Star Wars with Luke Skywalker, whereas if the colours are dark, then they would be thought of as dark and evil characters, such as Darth Vader.  This concept also works to show the characters mood, such as if the character wears more darker clothing than they did, this could show anger and aggression in the characters feelings.



Sci-Fi Survey Evaluation.


We conducted a survey to gather quantitative data about the genre of Sci-Fi films in which we asked to the rest of the group. From this survey we found  a number of different information about peoples views and likes from this genre. This showed to us what the young people like about this specific genre. This is a summary of the results.

Q1. Age?
0-15=0  16-18=6  19-29=2  30+=0

Q2. Gender?
Male=4  Female=4  Other=0

Q3. Occupation?
Sales assistant=1  Subway=1  Student=6

Q4. Would you class Sci-Fi films as your favourite genre?
Yes=4  No=3  Maybe=1

Q5. What is it that you like about the Sci-Fi genre?
Everything=2  Special effects=2  Unrealistic element=1  Story and FX=1  Interesting and creative=2

Q6. What is your favourite Sci-Fi films?
Star Trek Into Darkness=2  None=1  Star wars=1  Dark Star=1  Alien=1  The Thing=1  Back To The Future=1  All=2      Guardians of the galaxy=1

Q7. What do you class as a classic Sci-Fi films?
Aliens=2  Back To The Future=1  Star Wars=4  Star Trek=2  Jurassic Park=1

Q8. What sub-genre of Sci-Fi can you think of?
Sci-Fi/Fantasy=2  Space Opera=1  None=2  Sci-Fi/Horror=1  Marvel/DC=2

Q9. What sub-genre of Sci-Fi do you like?
Action=1  All=1  None=4  Sci-Fi/Horror=1  Sci-Fi/Fantasy=1

Q10. What’s your least favorite Sci-Fi film?
All=1  None=3  Sharknado=1  Guardians Of The Galaxy=1  Star Wars 1-3=1 Pitch Black=1

Q11. What do you not like to see in Sci-Fi films?
None=3  Old Things=1  Boring Things=2  Bad Effects=2

Q12. How do you watch Sci-Fi films?
Home=2  Cinema=2  Netflix=2  Tablet=1  Don’t=1  All=1  Showbox=1

Q13. How often do you watch Sci-Fi films?
Rarely=2  Every few months=1  Every few weeks=2  Every week=3

Q14. What new Sci-Fi films are you looking forward too?
Star Wars The Force Awakens=4  Deadpool=1  BatmanVSuperman=1  None=2  Don’t Know=1

Q15. What Sci-Fi films should you have seen but haven’t yet?
Amazing Spiderman 2=1  Riddick=1  Seen them all=1  Don’t Know=1  None=4

From this short survey, we can conclude that the Sci-Fi Genre is most popular for students between 16-18 year olds, with the exception of two of the 19-20 year olds that carried out the survey. We had an even split of gender between these, with four being Male and four being female, giving us a fair rage of answers by both genders.  Out of the eight participants, four people said that they would class the genre of Sci-Fi as their favorite genre across the range, whilst three said that they wouldn’t class the genre as their favorite and one person said that they maybe would class it as their favorite but they didn’t know. When asked about what they like about the genre, the most answers where the special effects are excellent and they have a good story to them. Others said that they enjoy them for the unrealistic element and the creativity and others said they enjoyed everything about them and that’s why its their favorite genre.The Sci-Fi films that appeared to be favorites of the participants were Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Wars, Dark Star, Alien, The Thing, Back To The Future and Guardians Of The Galaxy, as well as two people saying all films are their favorite and one saying none are their favorite. In the overall genre of Sci-Fi, there are many sub-genres of the genre, the people responded by saying they mostly know the Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Space Opera, Sci-Fi/Horror, Marvel/DC and others said they couldn’t think of any. When asked what sub- genre of Sci-Fi they like, the most popular selection was none, but some said Action, Sci-Fi/Horror and Sci-Fi fantasy. The survey also asked what their favourite Sci-Fi films are, the responses they gave were Sharknado, Guardians Of The Galaxy, Star Wars 1-3 and Pitch Black, whilst one person said all, and three people said they didn’t dislike any Sci-Fi films. The next question asked what the people didn’t like to see in Sci-Fi films and their responses were that they didn’t like to see old and boring things and bad effects and story lines in the films, whilst three other people said they didn’t mind anything in the films. The questionnaire asked what platform they tend to watch Sci-Fi films on, most said either at Home, At the Cinema or On Netflix but also on Tablets, show box or all the platforms, whilst one person doesn’t watch any. Most of the people asked said that they tended to watch Sci-Fi films every week, although some watch them every few weeks, every few months and two people said they rarely watch them at all. Out of the recent films that are coming out soon, the most popular film that’s coming soon is Star Wars- The Force Awakens, whilst some of the others said Deadpool, BatmanVSuperman, whilst others said they don’t know and two said they aren’t looking forward to any. The final question asked what films they need to see but haven’t yet, the most popular option was none but amazing spiderman 2, Riddick and one person has seen them all, but one person said they didn’t know what they needed to watch.