Production-Now.com Media Production Mentoring

Online film school designed with beginning filmmakers in mind.

1.20.2012

Simple Effective Special Effects

A disappearing act was my first special effect. I did it with a Hi8 camera at the age of 15 and without the aid of a computer.

Steps:
1. Put your camera on a tripod.
2. Stop recording right at the moment you want your actor to disappear (I did it when he took a step, so the motion would help sell the effect).
3. Move your actor from the shot, and record a few seconds of an empty scene.

When you play it back, your character convincingly vanishes.

And, in many ways, that's exactly what was used for this simple yet effective special effect:


Now You See Him


Now You Don't

The beauty of this shot is that while the effect involved a computer program slightly more advanced than iMovie/Windows Movie Maker, it could be reproduced on software that costs under $100. And if all you happen to have is Windows Movie Make or iMovie, you could do something almost as effective with the three steps I outlined above and a couple of friends who are willing to walk through your frame.

Be inspired! There are many simple effective special effects that you can do, right now, with the equipment you have.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor

1.13.2012

Great Tip on Editing a Fight Scene

Check out FreddieW's tip on editing a fight scene (from 1:47-2:58). Excellent example of using editing to make something rock!


Whose gun is it, anyway?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor

1.12.2012

How to Light a Scene: Horror, Comedy, Drama

I was disappointed that I couldn't find any tutorials online for how to light a horror scene, or how to light a comedy, or how to light a drama. So I took it upon myself to create just such a walk through... with pictures!


How to Light a Scene: original image

How to Light a Horror Scene


The Horror Look

Horror scenes typically contain the following elements:
  1. They are slightly desaturated.
  2. They have a color wash of some kind (read: monochromatic).
  3. They often have a low contrast (perhaps because they are so often shot on cheap film/video cameras?).
  4. The subject is often isolated in the frame with a dark background and minimal light sources.

How to Light a Comedy Scene


The Comedy Look

Comedy scenes typically contain the following elements:
  1. They are highly saturated.
  2. They have bright colors.
  3. They often have lower contrast lighting (read: high-key).
  4. The subject is placed in the middle of a "busy" location with multiple soft light sources.

How to Light a Drama Scene


The Drama Look

Drama scenes typically contain the following elements:
  1. They are highly saturated.
  2. They have natural colors.
  3. They contain high contrast lighting, often with sharp shadows.
  4. The camera angles and images are artistic and rich.

Hopefully this helps you the next time you want to light a horror, comedy, or dramatic scene.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor