In this page today let’s see how VFX or Visual Effects being used in Live Action Movies specially.
Every year many films hit the theatres; in all those movies we can find one thing very common and that is VFX or Visual Effects.
Initially in early movies VFX was used in very rudimentary form but with the evolution of digital computer VFX has come a long way.
It is nearly impossible to think of any movie in the recent times which has not used VFX.
In fact in documentary movies implication of VFX is much more less than fictional action or thriller movies.
Let’s move on to look at some of the best Hollywood live action films which did justice to the VFX by using Computer Graphics Imagery (CGI) appropriately.
VFX In Hollywood Live Action Movies
Terminator 2: Judgemental Day is one of the groundbreaking films made in the year 1991.
It represented a new kind of liquid metal cyborg T-1000 character on the screen which the audience had never seen before.
The visual effect of this movie was breakthrough as it first used Motion Capture and computer generated main character.
The main two characters of this film Robert Patrick (more advanced Terminator T-1000) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (less advanced Terminator) were created with heavy CG Imagery.
A human figure made up of liquid metal was really new on the movie screen, nobody saw that character before.
T-1000 was composed of mimetic poly alloy and could manipulate itself to various forms.
T-1000 had the shape shifting abilities; he could change its hand into stabbing blades, slip through physical objects by oozing its liquid form and could reform itself from any physical damage.
ILM composed 6 of the 15 minutes of T-1000 displaying its morphing and healing abilities and the rest 9 minutes were achieved by camera with advanced animatronic puppets and artificial body parts effects created by team of Stan Winston.
Directed by James Cameron this film won Academy Award for best Visual Effects.
The Matrix as a film raised the bar for the choreography of fight sequences.
Directed by Wachowskis brothers in the year 1999 it is a science fiction action film.
The fight scenes of this film were inspired by martial arts and wire fu techniques from Hong Kong action cinema.
The Matrix won four Academy Awards and listed as the greatest science fiction films.
The Matrix popularised a visual effect technique known as ‘bullet time’ where a shot progress in slow-motion while the camera appears to move through the scene at normal speed.
The Matrix received appreciation from the critics for its innovative visual effects, cinematography and entertainment value.
Mind-blowing live action film which needed to be mention here is The Lord of the Rings directed by Peter Jackson.
It had three part The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers made in 2002 and The Return of the King made in 2003.
All the three films were shot entirely in Jackson’s native New Zealand.
The series won 17 out of 30 Academy Award nominations.
Richard Taylor led Weta Workshop on major design elements such as armour, make-up, creatures, miniatures and weapons.
Props were designed by the art department; around 48,000 pieces of armour, 500 pieces of bows and 10,000 pieces of arrows were created by Weta workshop.
Team invested lot of time in designing the sets, models and architecture.
Middle Earth was created by combining historical as well as rational world.
All the three film series were shot at over 150 different locations; the battle scenes were shot at Tongariro National Park (oldest National Park in New Zealand).
The Lord of the Rings series used digital, practical and make-up special effects extensively.
Christopher Nolan’s science fiction film Inception (2010) is an unthinkable concept where for the dream sequences Nolan used very little computer generated imagery and preferred practical effects whenever possible.
Nolan depended on camera very much and used Computer graphics to enhance practically captured shots.
VFX Supervisor Paul Franklin built a tiny mountain fortress set and blew it up for the film.
The most surprising Paris folding sequence was created by producing sketches and then adding computer animation for the final movement.
Slow-motion sequences were filmed on a photo-Sonics 35mm camera at speeds of up to 1000 fps.
Cinematographer Wally Pfister gave distinctive look to each location and dream to avoid confusion in the audience part.
Inception won four Academy Award including Best Visual Effects.
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón Gravity (2013) is a rare combination of graceful CG work and a heavyweight emotional storyline.
Sandra Bullock spacesuit body was animated digitally by Framestore studio artists.
Framestore’s VFX Supervisor Tim Webber stated that 80 percent of the film consisted of CGI compared to James Cameron’s Avatar (2009) which was approx 60 percent CGI.
Cuarón wanted to make the film in an Imax style Discovery Channel documentary so he used tracking shots.
Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki collected large number of photographs from NASA and Roscosmos for the film.
The unfiltered lighting effects in the space were created by manually controlled lighting system which consisted of 1.8 million individually controlled LED lights.
The team used CGI for the spacewalk scenes and automotive robots for Bullock’s character for the space station scenes but the film Gravity did not gave the feeling of a VFX film instead it looked like a documentary.
A well crafted film depends less on visual effects because too much of VFX can ruin the storyline.
A Live Action film should have well planned script before the production stage.
Therefore we come to conclusion that an appropriate and balanced application of Visual Effects in the Live Action movies can give excellent result.