5 Amazing Films Before and After Special Effects - Maleficent
Image Source: Youtube

Amazing Films Before and After Special Effects

the Matrix

5 Amazing Films Before and After Special Effects - the Matrix
Image Source: wsj.com

This film by Andy and Lana Washowski features an incredible number of special effects. So much so that the titanic work had to be distributed among several companies: Manex Visual Effects, Animal Logic, and Dfilm.

One of the most famous special effects in the film is the freezeframe as we can see in this mythical scene where time stands still around Morpheus. First, the team filmed the background without anyone, then they filmed the people passing by without the two actors, and at the right moment, they increased the frame rate from 24 to 96 frames per second to create this desired slowmotion effect. They then selected the sharpest image and extended it as they wished during the final stitching of the shot, which was done on computer software. And since you have become an expert, you will know that the two actors were filmed in the same place but this time without the crowd and in front of a green background! Magical isn’t it?

Now let’s move on to the most distinctive feature of the Matrix movie! This film owes its reputation mainly to theBullet Timetechnique! A technique that consists of freezing time in a scene while walking around freely. It’s as if you decide to press thestopbutton on your remote control and walk through the scene! Incredible isn’t it? It means that the team wanted to have an eye on all the points of view at the moment T, so they had to have cameras all around the point they wanted to film to make the maximum number of photographs and then assemble them. In the case of Matrix, these movements are circular around the actors. Like for example the famous scene where Neo tries to avoid the bullets on the roof.

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Although at the time it was difficult to achieve such a visual effect, Manix was still up to the challenge. To obtain this effect, it was first necessary to film a stuntman with several cameras on several angles to have a reference of the movements of the actor in the scene, then it was necessary to create the preview, that is to say, to recreate in a rough digital way everything that happens in the shot based on the movements of the stuntman, a lining is then created on the computer, a crucial step since it is this lining that determines the speed of movement and the trajectory of the camera. Finally, once everything has been planned, the filming stage comes, with the help of more than 120 cameras all hidden behind a green background, and arranged around the actor according to the trajectory obtained on the computer.

Then each of the cameras needed to take only one image one after the other, with two cameras at the beginning and at the end of the journey to film at 120 or 150 frames per second for the images before and after the slowmotion! The effect of slowmotion is obtained by reducing the trigger interval between each camera which is on average 1/3 of a second. If they want to slow down or speed up apart, they add or delete images. As for the actor, he is suspended by cables for his fight scenes! The images are then assembled thanks to the software by creating homogeneity between them so that there is not this jerky effect. Out of breath? So are we!

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Wait, this isn’t over! To create the background scenery, they used the technique calledimagebased rendering“. This process consists of taking pictures of a given place, with different points of view. Then, with the help of a special measuring tool called the laser rangefinder, they took the measurements of the buildings and surfaces present at that place, they were then able to reproduce a 3D model of the landscape with all its shapes and project the photos of the scenery at the right place, on the 3D volumes and surfaces. This then created a 3D environment entirely made by computers, mainly thanks to photos! And to finish, of course, they used as always, the technique of inlaying the actors on a green background in the 3D set to assemble the whole thing! Promise this time weโ€™ll stop!

Maleficent

5 Amazing Films Before and After Special Effects - Maleficent
Image Source: Youtube

Maleficent: The mistress of Evil is an American fantasy film released in 2019, directed by Joachim Rรธnning. This sequel to Robert Stromberg’sMaleficentfeatures the sublime Angelina Jolie as Maleficent. And since it’s a fantasy film, you can imagine that it’s full of special effects, here are the most surprising ones!

First of all, what you need to know is that a large part of the sets was actually designed in the studio and then improved on the computer during editing. On the other hand, for elements that are impossible to create such as the castle, the trees, the forest, or the mountains, they had to use the inlay technique. This technique consists of integrating into the same image by software, objects filmed separately, or 3D objects. For digitally shot film productions, inlaying can be done life or in postproduction during editing.

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This process, known in English asmatting“, takes place in the following way: the directorsfilm an object on a blue or green background, as well as a separate set. Starting from the image of the object, they transform the blue background into a black mask, which allows the silhouette of the object to appear in transparent on a black background, as well as a complementary mask, which gives them the silhouette of the object in black on a transparent background. Then thanks to a huge work of superimposition of the images, carried out on the computer, they get the appropriate visual effect. However, the blue background is more appreciated in the cinema: because this color is closer to the complementary color of the skin, so the contrast of chrominance is optimal.

Let’s now move on to another effect used in the film. As you probably know, one of the characteristics of the character of Maleficent is that she flies. Well to make the actress Angelina Jolie fly, it was necessary to use a kind of huge removable lever, calledan arm“, which behind the famous blue background, disappears. All that was left to do was to glue wings to the computer to give the illusion that Maleficent and his acolytes could fly in the sky. Fantastic, isn’t it?

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