ANIMATION EFFECTS:|:MAKEUP EFFECTS:|:STUNTS
Animation is almost essential in every film nowadays. Unreal things can be portrayed realistically into films. Jurassic Park in 1993 shocked people with the realistic dinosaurs and Final Fantasy 2001 astonished people with their computer made female leading role.
A hundred years ago and today, people are drawn to the cinema to see something they have not seen before. Terminator 2 – Judgement Day by James Cameron, the adventure action thriller which is a combination of romance and suspense gives the film industry adequate opportunity to show off the rapid progress of the special effects industry. The special effects used in Terminator 2 costed 17 million dollars which was a fifth of the production cost, which also made it clear that to achieve good receipts in the future could not overlook computer animation. Tim Burton’s Batman Returns, Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump and Roland Emmerick’s Independence Day are good examples.
In Terminator 2, the most spectacular effect were the flowing transformations of the malicious liquid metal Cyborg. It passed through prison bars and then re-merge again from a linoleum floor, This tecnique is called morphing or shape shifting. It is calculated and generated in a computer. The beginning and end points of the transformation are filmed conventionally and then calculated by the computer the transformation phases.
Special effects are produced by varied techniques. Jurassic Park was originally designed to use original-sized dinorsaur models but Spielberg saw the genuine effect of a particular scene which required animation, so he decided to use animation for the entire film.
Zemeckis drew attention in Forest Gump. Tom Hank’s lip movements were altered by the computer manipulation following the pattern’s of his mouth. In Toy story, it was the first adventure to be completely generated on computer. Final Fantasy’s female leading role – computer-made, was also one of the miracles animation performed.
With innovations that will carry on in the future, the potential of this dreamwork is boundless and flawless.
Makeup effects are very important in film production nowadys, especially in science fiction movies. Makeup effects can alter an actor’s physical appearance in order to create the audiences a better impression of the character’s background, personalities etc. They can change the actor into a completely different person or even a creature out of imagination.
There are many ways to create makeup effects, such as applying makeup, face painting and putting on all sorts of prosthetic appliances. Film makers often use prosthetic appliances to create fascinating effects, prosthetic appliances means fake parts, they can be anything from Dracula teeth to a full body costume of an alien. One of the very popular materials for making prosthetics is foam-latex. Foam-latex has been used for makeup effects for many years, it is widely used in the making of life masks. Silicone is another commonly used material, it has high heat resistance and is a very stable material that is difficult to decompose. It can be used to make all kinds of prosthetics for the body as well as molds for masks etc. Materials for makeup effects must be able to fit perfectly to the face or body and very flexible, or else it will be difficult for the actor to move inside.
To make prosthetic appliances, there are a few steps to follow. In the case of making a mask, first, a mold of the actor’s face has to be made. The mold is made of substances which will become gelatin-like after setting, such as alginate. This material is to be spread over the actor’s face so that the actor’s features will be transferred to the mold. Next, casting materials is poured into the mold to form a hard mold, these materials can be Gypsum Cement or plaster. Then, the material for the mask’s final outcome is poured into the mold, it can be foam-latex or silicone or PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) or some other soft rubber-like substances. Lastly, everything is baked and when they cool down, the mask is taken out for painting and decoration.
Procedures in making other prosthetic appliances are pretty similar, but in creating all makeup effects, there are factors other than the design that have to be considered. In some movies, it takes hours to dress an actor in full costume and makeup, and it takes another long period of time to take off everything, and what if the actor suddenly has an urgent need for the bathroom? Therefore, the application process of makeup has to be as simple as possible. A full body costume often consists of many pieces, this makes the process of taking off the prosthetics more convenient. Surgical adhesives are used to glue prosthetic appliances to the body, but as more new technology is developed, some materials can stick to the skin by itself, simplifying the process of applying prosthetics greatly.
Makeup effects nowadays can be very high-tech, they can be combined with digital effects, for example, if a flaw is discovered on a piece of prosthetic appliance in the middle of the shooting, there’s no need to stop and shoot it over again, the computer will fix it afterwards. All of these aim to make film production as perfect and as efficient as possible.
As more new techniques are discovered, filmmakers have to keep digging for new ideas in order to keep up in the competition of the film industry. They’ve come with high-tech and complex mechanical moving parts and even food colouring, simple yet not commonly used, what else will we see on the big screen in the future?
When working with special effects, there is always a special effects coordinator, along with his or her assistants. They are responsible to the director for safely and effectively planning and executing all special effects required during the production. This may include weather effects such as wind, rain or snow; separate from furniture for fight scenes; fire and smoke etc.
Special effects like stunts require another person. This person, called the stunt coordinator, is responsible to the director for safely and effectively planning and carrying out all stunts required for the production. This includes everything, and I mean everything, from simple fistfights to someone falling out of an airplane. Some stunt coordinators only specialize in certain stunts, say, perhaps, stunts that requires the actor to do fighting scenes, which involves hitting and crashing into everything.
Usually, dangerous stunts are done by a stunt double. A stunt double is a person who is a professional stunt man and specializes in doing dangerous stunts. He must also have a similar physical appearance to the actor he is doubling for. The purpose of a stunt double is so that if the stunt man gets hurt, it will not affect the production, whereas if the lead actor, say, Tom Cruise, had to do the stunt himself and gotten hurt, then that would’ve affected the whole production.
Being a stunt man is a dangerous job. You never know when you will get hurt; you could get hurt at anytime. Yet some people find that being a stunt man is challenging and thrilling. They live for that kind of danger. Although, nowadays, with modern technology getting better and better, stunts are usually very safe and the chance of the stunt man getting hurt is not that big.
However, pyrotechnic work is dangerous and as of now is still very risky. Pyrotechnic work is when a stunt involves explosions or fireworks etc. To be a stunt man that acts in scenes which involves pyrotechnic work requires a special license. In order to prevent accidents from happening, this kind of film effect is closely watched by the government.
While being a stunt man is a very risky job, it does have its attractions and appealing points. And with new discoveries in modern technology nowadays, it’s no wonder that more and more people are starting to live for this kind of job.