Yesterday I talked about the Two Rules of Special Effects. Today I'm going to give you a real-world example from a production I'm planning on doing in the next couple months.
I need a shot of the roof of an office building collapsing in on the camera. I've never done something like that before, so I decided to do a quick test shot.
Collapsing Roof Test Shot
A little camera shake at the start to simulate the camera being dropped. Some debris falling on top of the camera (crumpled paper and a pizza box).
Perhaps not the most impressive implosion of a building you've ever seen, but for an effect that took me a minute to shoot with materials I had on hand... not bad. It communicates the idea.
Rule #1: Check. The shot communicates.
But did anything bother you?
How about the fingers in a few of the frames?
I did a quick garbage matte to cover up the really obvious hand-in-shot moments, but the few frames with fingers weren't worth the time.
Did you notice the cross-fade?
I used two different shots. The first where the pizza box falls in front of the camera for a nice look. The second where the box actually covers the lens for a great "fade to black" opportunity. To make it work, I also had to black out half the frame...
I'm going to guess that, like my wife, you didn't notice the fingers or the cross-fade.
So Rule #2: Check. The effect does not distract.
Your Media Production Mentor