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I'm A Reel Boy Essay About The History And Evolution Of Special And Visual Effects In The Motion Picture Industry. Covers Techniques From Pyrotechnics To Digital Composites.

1216 words - 5 pages

I'm a Reel Boy"Through the magic of motion pictures, someone who's never left Peoria knows the softness of a Paris spring, the color of a Nile sunset, the sorts of vegetation one will find along the upper Amazon and that Big Ben has not yet gone digital," Vincent Canby once stated (Brainy). His statement teases about the rapidly changing industry of special effects and how it is revolutionizing the way we perceive things. The sight of a train passing by the camera flabbergasted and frightened early audiences, when motion pictures were jittery and lacked sound. Now, it has become increasingly difficult to decipher between what is reality and what a men tediously manipulated. The goal of visual effects artists, as magicians of the silver screen, is now to push our senses to their limits and create an illusion of reality without our knowing. George Lucas, one of the greats in film and special effects' and famed creator of Star Wars, said, "the secret to film is that it's an illusion (Brainy)." Assessing the milestone events through out the history of film reveals how far we have come.A number of technologies and inventions related to motion and vision developed in the early to late 19th century foreran the birth of the motion picture industry. Early in 1893, Thomas Alva Edison built the world's first film production studio, the Black Maria, or the Kinetographic Theater, on the grounds of his laboratories in West Orange, New Jersey, for making filmstrips. A Frenchman, Georges Melies, developed his own camera, and then set up Europe's first film studio in 1897. An illusionist and stage magician, Melies exploited the new medium with a pioneering, 14-minute science fiction work, Le Voyage Dans la Lune - A Trip to the Moon. Melies introduced the elemental ideas of narrative storylines, plots, character development, illusion, and fantasy into film, including trick photography or early special effects. He utilized hand-tinting, dissolves, wipes, "magical" super-impositions and double exposures, the use of mirrors, trick sets, stop motion, slow motion and fade-outs/fade-ins to go beyond the limitations of theatre. Melies's creativity and discovery of the fundamental techniques of special effects used today awarded him the title of the father of special effects.The early pioneers of special effects also created illusions that relied on cinema's ability to make discontinuous motion appear continuous, achieved by stopping and then restarting the camera, or splicing the film, to make impossible transformations seem to occur. They also made liberal use of magicians' stage tricks. Another effect made people appear unnaturally large or small by exploiting perspective, an illusion familiar to anyone who has ever photographed a friend whose outstretched hand "holds" an enormous object in the distance. Similar tricks using forced perspective create some shots of the giant pillaging toddler in the movie Honey, I Blew Up the Kid.One of the most common effects used...

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