How to Make Movie Special Effects

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Making movie special effects can be done using miniature robots, where model spaceships and figures are filmed, edited on the computer and merged with life-size footage. Create movie special effects with information from a computer graphics artist in this free video on robots.

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Video Transcript

I'm John P. Funk with the Cosmic Funk Studio, and I'm going to talk to you today about how to make movie special effects. So, what we have here is a miniature of the spaceship that I made for my Quest for the Dark Planet movie, and this spaceship is in a originally produced special effect. Which is just like what you've seen in the Star Wars films of a spaceship flying through space. So we start off with the model spaceship, as shown here, made from all different kind of model parts. I've taken two Star Wars ATAT walkers for the body, so these components here are from the ATATs. Also the front section. Parts from X-Wing Fighter model kits... also different detail pieces from cars and tank treads, and RoboTech pieces, and really cannibalizing all different kind of model parts. And also, what you can see are the LED lights that I have. I have flashing lights on the bottom and on the front for the docking, and in the back here we have the LED engine lights. So this miniature is only built to be part of a larger scene. I have plenty of other miniatures that I made, but this particular one is what's called the hero, or the main spaceship in the show. What we're going to demonstrate, how I actually composited the different layers into visual effects. We're going to start with the space background, and that is actually going to be moving, because a spaceship is moving through space. We have the photographed miniature, with footage that's brought into the computer, which we're editing in. We're also editing in a foreground to also have dimension of the effects shot. And then we have a glow that's happening on the spaceship, from like the point of view of a sun or a star nearby causing the structure of the ship to have a glowing element to it. So all these four layers are combined in the video software, and then the final composite reveals the effects shot of the spaceship.

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