At the era the movie, Star Wars received the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 1978, it was the first time the visual and aural components of effects were separated.
Way before visual effects (VFX) was recognized by the Academy, it was billed as the end of the auteur revival, a period in Hollywood where directors like Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick, and even George Lucas received unprecedented creative freedom to make the films they wanted with full support. from the studio.
The financial success of films like Star Wars prompted studios to pursue an event film strategy. These films didn't rely on specific directors, but rather on spectacle and the kind of global distribution that only a major company could provide. The enormous expenses of event films forced studios to tighten production controls, resulting in a tension between director-driven filmmaking and visual effects.
VFX has become increasingly profitable, sophisticated, and challenging for directors to oversee as technology has advanced. Avengers: Endgame, which was released in 2019, has 2,500 visual effects shots and is the highest-grossing film of all time.
VFX stands for visual effects
It's difficult to agree on a definition for visual effects, and there are various concepts to understand first.
The term "effects" refers to all of the visual tricks used in film and television.
The creation of animatronics such as the alien E.T., as well as the miniatures like the flying cars in Blade Runner, prosthetics like the hobbit feet in The Lord of the Rings, and pyrotechnics like the explosions in Mad Max: Fury Road are examples of practical effects or special effects.
Using computers, visual effects provide the appropriate visuals offset. VFX can be as simple as compositing one picture onto another – such as when an actor is placed into a different scene after filming in front of a green screen – or as complex as constructing an entirely digital environment, such as the world of Pandora in Avatar.
A complex shot might be handled by a dozen or more artists, each with their own set of skills. Artists of many disciplines construct geometric models of characters or props, texture those models, arrange them in the scene, animate the characters, simulate the costumes, and render the final visuals.
The majority of VFX work takes place at independent studios, with clients such as Disney and Universal functioning as clients.
This establishes a model in which the client studio acts as a go-between for the director and the VFX artists. The director rarely speaks with or sees the hundreds of artists who work on this crucial aspect of the picture.
To make matters even more complicated, the quantity of VFX shots in a blockbuster film is frequently so huge that a single vendor cannot handle them all. It's standard practice to distribute VFX sequences across various providers in different regions.
An Unnoticed Job
VFX has become fleeting and difficult to pin down for filmmakers.
The techniques by which these constructed worlds materialize rely on vastly distributed systems of highly specialized and anonymous artists working in tandem with complicated computer processes.
It's no surprise that filmmakers talk about this crucial part of their work in a way that reflects their estrangement.
Popular filmmakers such as Christopher Nolan and JJ Abrams have made considerable use of visual effects, despite criticizing them as inferior to in-camera effects. While Abrams hailed 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens as a return to the original trilogy's practical look, the film has over 2,100 shots.
It's Worth Doing Well
There's no denying it. VFX is frequently employed in the service of what critic Johnathan Romney refers to as "blockbuster cinema's eternal apocalypse": an endless loop of computer-generated mayhem.
But it's not because of the VFX that these films are awful. They couldn't because they didn't know-how.
While 2019's Cats was indeed upsetting, the film's failure was not due to "poor VFX," nor was the VFX "bad" due to the skill of the artists who created them. If the story is poorly written or interpreted, then the use of the very best of visual effects in the world will not make up for a story told badly, the Visual Effects Society stated.
Visual effects (VFX) is a strong tool. It can be employed in expected ways or in ways that stretch the limits of our collective imagination.
However, VFX production will rarely be used in the service of a better form of the film until it becomes a more integrated element of the creative process.
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