Media Production Mentoring

Free online film school designed with beginning filmmakers in mind.


Effect Shot in the Making

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).

Pretty cool.

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.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor

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