Visual effects are one of the oldest elements in cinema and while they have been around for some time they have continuously evolved and improved. They not only rely on well-established techniques and technology but there is a long tradition of using such effects to enhance stories and narratives. Some critics might say this is just a secondary element to the wider experience of watching a movie, but visual and special effects are more important today than they ever have been. Let us tell you why.
Visual and Special Effects as Immersive Tools
In essence, visual and special effects help create fictional worlds and give cinema an extra layer of magic. Nonetheless, in recent years, and as virtual reality and augmented experiences have gained popularity, these effects have started being perceived as the key to unlocking a new age of films.
In fact, this follows a wider trend in the online entertainment industry where users increasingly demand and look for immersive experiences. For instance, open-world games feature complex and living digital worlds, allowing users to explore huge maps and fictional locations. Similarly, online casinos, feature immersive gambling experiences, where players can join virtual themed rooms that can offer users a realistic gambling experience without them leaving their homes. Bingo games, among others, incorporate different types of graphics and animations to help create appealing and dynamic gambling titles. With the production quality aided by accompanying music and sometimes quite elaborate narratives, bingo has substantially evolved over the years to cater to modern audiences of the digital era.
In recent years, the film industry has invested large sums of money to develop better software and technology that can deliver not only high-quality and convincing digital images but also visual landscapes that can immerse movie audiences. However, this was only made possible through the precious contributions of different films to advancing the art of visual effects. Join us as we list some of these films.
A Trip to the Moon
Back in 1902, George Méliès took audiences to the moon, in what is considered the first time that visual effects were used in the history of cinema. His film portrays a group of scientists trying to reach the Moon and discovering that it is not deserted.
While the film combines elements of theatre through the use of complex sets, it was the use of smoke, stop-motion animation, different layers of expositions, cross-dissolves, and the now famous jump cuts made that truly made a sensation. To this day, the film is still considered one of the most important in the history of the seventh art. Only a few copies of the movie survived the last hundred years, but these were enough to create new remastered and restored copies. The movie can be watched online for free.
The Lord of the Rings
It is undeniable that Middle-earth is one of the best-created visual worlds in cinema. Upon its release, The Lord of the Rings was quickly considered a revolutionary piece of filmmaking. The movie featured not only incredibly detailed and vast sets, but also a broad range of special effects. The trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson, was an instant hit, with both audiences and critics being blown away by the visuals of the film.
The best example of how much the film advanced visual effects is Gollum. Such realistic use of motion capture was unparalleled at the time and paved the way for the development of even more advanced technology.
It is impossible to discuss visual effects and not mention Avatar. The film features special effects in almost every single scene and, much like The Lord of the Rings, it is known for its beautiful and spectacular landscapes. Director James Cameron had to wait over a decade to start working on the project to allow for the necessary technology to be developed. Some of the novelties used in the film included large motion-capture stages, photorealistic computer-generated images, supercomputers, cloud computing, and special cameras for enhanced performance capture.