Media Production Mentoring

Free online film school designed with beginning filmmakers in mind.


A Background in Special Effects

I do not have a background in special effects. The best I ever did was the eternally popular: Shoot the actors, have them take a step, stop the camera, have the actors get out of the frame, and then "poof!" they're gone. Incredibly powerful if you'll still in 1977, but we're not even in 2007 anymore.

So, while I can do these relatively basic special effects, I tend to get stuck if I have to do anything even remotely complicated. I spent much of last week working on a shot for MathTacular4. It's easier to see what I mean than to have me try to write up a description. So, for your viewing pleasure: A brief discussion of using a background image as a special effect for your foreground.

MathTacular4: Backgrounds and Foregrounds

I am amazed at how frequently it is possible to do these incredible things with only the slightest knowledge of special effects. I don't really know how to use fancy special effect programs, but I can still do some cool things. And if I can do it, you can too.

So, once you've done a few fireballs, a couple disappearing acts, start stepping up into the work of digital replacement and modification. It's crazy here.

A Picture from Alaska

Okay, okay, so I didn't have any good visual effect-like photos, so I grabbed a cool looking one I had instead. Sorry.

~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor

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