10 Movie Effects You Always Thought Were CGI

10 Movie Effects You Always Thought Were CGI 10 Terminator 2 Back in 1991, Terminator 2 was lauded with an Oscar, Saturn award and BAFTA for its visual effects

Given that the film came out just when CGI was taking Hollywood by storm, you’d think it earned its accolades purely through digital effects Anyone could see that scenes like this [show slip through bars] rely heavily on digital trickery, but James Cameron’s action masterpiece actually made use of some truly impressive sculpture work Legendary VFX artist Stan Winston crafted a series of foam rubber puppets to depict some of Robert Patrick’s most iconic moments in the movie First there’s the ‘splash head’ in the hospital and the ‘cleave man’ in the foundry, which were designed to spring open on demand using pins and metal rods Then there’s the pretzel man, which was made to explode with a pneumatic ram in this scene; Though I have to say, it’s much less scary when you know that the heroes are being chased by a puppet

9 The Star Wars Prequels The Star Wars franchise has an interesting history with CGI The original trilogy used very little at all – that’s unless you count the remastered versions, but we don’t talk about them Then there’s the prequels, which are usually maligned for being a pure green screen-fest, and quite deservedly But that said, you’d be surprised just how much physical craftsmanship went into those films

Hundreds of models and sets were created for the prequel trilogy – some of which were made by Mythbusters’ Adam Savage, who made the set for the Obi-Wan Jango Fett battle But it gets interesting when you look at how those sets were used Since they were miniatures rather than full sets, the backdrops were composited on green screen in post So you have a strange situation where the cast were acting in front of real sets but rarely in them 8

Independence Day Thanks to this movie, Roland Emmerich made his name as the ultimate disaster artist – in the apocalyptic sense, not the Tommy Wiseau sense But the special effects in the picture sit in kind of a strange place Around 1996, CGI was taking over as the main visual effects technique Just look at Emmerich’s next film Godzilla, where the decidedly graphical lizard’s set pieces dominate the movie So you might think that Independence Day’s iconic explosions are all digital too, but in reality it’s down to miniature sets and camera mastery

The Visual Effects crew created a 24 to 1 scale model of the White House, complete with furniture, and blew it up on film at 300 frames per second to capture every single detail Then they slowed it down 12 times to reach the standard 24 frames per second The end result is a one second explosion made into an entire jaw dropping sequence 7 Inception Given all the mind-bending, physics-defying and dream-jumping action that takes place throughout inception, it’s easy to believe that the whole production abandoned practical effects all-together

But Christopher Nolan likes to go deeper Take the famous hallway fight scene for example Where the similarly warped effects of 2016’s Doctor Strange relied massively on CGI, this scene was actually constructed with a series of functional 360 degree rotating chambers It only using CGI to remove some of the machinery involved Then there’s the Paris cafe sequence

The waves of street explosions look otherworldly enough that they could very well be entirely fake, but Nolan achieved that effect by filming real explosives in a staggering fifteen hundred frames per second with just the lightest digital enhancement That’s sixty two times the usual framerate 6 Blade Runner 2049 The original Blade Runner has a lot of reasons to be iconic, not least its visuals And what’s more, Ridley Scott’s VFX team achieved its look entirely in-camera

35 years later, you’d think technology would have gone completely digital for the sequel Blade Runner 2049, but far from it To capture the feel of the film’s predecessor, effects team Weta Workshop constructed 37 whole buildings at just a forty-eighth of their actual size Then there’s the Wallace corporation building, which was so massive that it had to be built at a one to six hundred scale All 37 buildings took a whole week to make, so you can see how dedicated the team was to capturing that classic sci-fi feel perfectly There was of course some CGI embellishment, it did come out in 2017 after all

But the core of the films visuals were as real as it gets, just quite small 5 Mad Max: Fury Road When Mad Max: Fury Road, the fourth film in the Mad Max Franchise, hit the screens in 2015, the film’s dazzling visual effects were a major talking point I couldn’t really blame you if you thought the effects like the flamethrower guitar and the truly massive number of explosions were digital, but there’s a lot more to it than just computers Yeah, pretty much every part of the film is laced with CGI, more than 2,000 of all 2,400 shots in fact, but that’s really just window dressing

As this behind the scenes footage shows, the stunts themselves were absolutely real underneath the CGI lacquer From this behind the scenes footage in the Namibian desert, you can see 150 real cars engaged in stunt after stunt, crash after crash and enough pyrotechnics to give every insurance agency on earth a collective heart palpitation 4 Lord of the Rings Almost everyone agrees that the Lord of the Rings is a masterpiece of filmmaking, and not least in the visual department But while so many of the hallmark moments are dripping with digital graphics, some of the effects couldn’t be more straightforward

A lot of people assume that when Gandalf interacts with the hobbits, either he’s digitally made taller or they’re shortened, but in fact, it’s a much more simple, in-camera trick To achieve the effect, director Peter Jackson employed a technique called forced perspective By building props with distorted proportions and sizes, Jackson gave the hobbits the illusion of comparatively small stature through distance, but used their angle to make them appear close Take this scene from The Fellowship of the Ring The props team actually built the cart several feet wider than it should be, so when you see Frodo at that angle, he looks like he’s close by but hobbit sized whereas, actually, he’s normal sized and far away

Clever stuff Everyone knows Tom Cruise likes to go pretty gung-ho with his stunts But still, he’s no spring chicken anymore, even with a team of world-class personal trainers So you might think that he’d lean back on digital effects to do the heavy lifting, especially in this scene Well you’d be wrong

In 2015’s Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, it’s pretty impressive to see Ethan Hunt catch a ride on the outside of a plane as it’s taking off, but it takes on whole new dimensions when you know that the famously anti-green screen Cruise insisted it was filmed completely naturally The film’s effects team got the shot by strapping Cruise to a real Airbus A400M as it becomes airbourne, with just a single full body harness and a special set of contact lenses to stop dust and airborne particles from damaging his eyes Apart from that, it is exactly how it looks – Tom Cruise gripping a plane for dear life All I can say is that must’ve been another easy day for Cruise’s stunt double 2

Jurassic Park The VFX in Spielberg’s jurassic classic made cinema history in 1993 It even still holds up today You’re probably picturing some of the marquee moments, like the dino-laden landscapes and the T-Rex in the visitors’ center Those scenes were absolutely chock-full with CGI, but that was actually closer to the exception than the norm for the film In fact, of the fourteen minutes of scenes with Dinosaurs, just six of them were digitally manipulated for a total of 63 shots

The rest were made with traditional animatronic puppets, including the some shots of the T-Rex, which was the largest mechanical actor in history In fact, it took 3 weeks of production just to film the T-Rex scenes, which came close to seriously injuring a crew member when he got trapped inside it Contrast that with the most recent movie, Jurassic World Every dinosaur except the injured Apatosaurus was made using CGI for a total of 2000 shots Well, at least it’s safer

1 Dunkirk As you’ve already seen, Christopher Nolan is a practical effects devotee That’s not to say he won’t use CGI, but wherever he can he tries to make his movies look as real as possible, and Dunkirk might be the perfect example When it comes to filming World War II spitfighter battles, you would expect most directors to settle for digital recreations for easy control over the sequence, but not our Chris The acclaimed director actually used a combination of replica and restored authentic spitfires, fitted with 70mm Imax cameras, to film the real-life aerial maneuvers

And when it came to the crash sequence, the crew dropped one of the planes into the ocean, filming from the aircraft’s perspective The process was so authentic that Nolan nearly lost the footage since the plane’s camera filled with water – which you can actually see it in the final cut That was 10 movie effects you always thought were CGI Which ones did you know about? Let us know in the comments and make sure to like and subscribe While you’re at it, check out this great Alltime10s video on screen now

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