Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Special Effects seen in "Twister"

When it comes to well-done special effects, one of my favorite movies comes right to mind, Twister. If these don’t look like real F-5 tornados, then I don’t know what does. The special effects used in this movie do not only include constructing numerous tornados that resemble various F-1 to F-5 treacherous storms, but tractors, tankers, and cows were also easily created in a computer environment all with a little magic from Hollywood.

This YouTube video shows really well what exactly goes in to making this movie seem as real as they can be. Things such as color, lighting, and speed are all taken into account when designing a real life tornado because good visuals are a key concept in convincing the audience that what they’re looking at is actually happening. (Of course, similar sounds are helpful, but if you’re anything like me or most people these days have to “see it to believe it!”)Special effects teams today can create just about anything known to your imagination. As discussed in the reading, one of the most common tricks of special effects are used when a team constructs a miniature model of something they want to appear real. In the example for this movie, that could be a cow flying across the screen as if were being blown by the winds of the tornado. Obviously this couldn’t be reenacted for real life filming, but instead, filmmakers constructed a mini version of a cow and made it appear real by “overcranking” the camera at a faster than normal speed. This is also commonly used in movies such as King Kong with the humungous gorilla who held up lifesize trolly cars, or the building size t-rex in the movie Godzilla. It can even be used for objects that are not living, such as constructing the great Emerald City for the film The Wizard of Oz.

All in all, I feel that when it comes down to deciding if a movie was good or not, it really comes down to the special effects seen in the movie. If you felt like you were right there in the middle of the action, then the filmmakers did their job. And if not, it’s usually a pretty big disappointment because listening to actors walk and talk can only take you so far. Can you think of any other examples from movies in which you think the special effects teams did a great job in making something seem very realistic?

1 comment:

  1. I think this is an excellent example (esp considering it was 1996) and it did win an Oscar for Best Visual Effects! CG has definitely come so far so fast. I think it's weird how nowadays rather than being just impressed by really awesome visuals (like District 9), it's also really easy to point out really bad effects (like some scenes from Spiderman).