Recent VFX Articles

Casey Neistat Reviews the Rylo 360-Degree Camera

Casey Neistat's latest vlog is a review of the Rylo 360-degree camera. What makes this different than the 360-degree cameras currently on the market is that it comes with software that makes it easy to pick your shot (in other words, the frame that'll fit your 16:9 or 4:3 frame) and compose your video like that. Rylo is a start up, and although Neistat can distinguish which market it is for, I think it definitely can become something many videographers, especially YouTubers, and travel shooters will use.

A Short Film Made With Cinemagraphs

Eric Flores Garnelo has made a short film using mainly cinemagraphs to create the scenes. The audio is well produced, and the production of the scenes are done with craftsmanship. Watching each of these shots with only one item moving opens up the capacity to contemplate. Being a photographer, the first phase was to think how he did it and what it must have taken to actually get the shot. Secondly, it takes you deeper, into the human condition and the small moments during the day that can seem insignificant, but holds so much beauty if we just opened our eyes.

A Breakdown of VFX on 'Mindhunter' TV Series

"Mindhunter" is one of the recent Netflix releases that has me hooked. It has psychology, mystery, analysis, and how the FBI and police went about training for the serial killers who didn't have a motive. It's based on true events, and because the series is set in in 1977, which has different cars and fewer people and buildings than we have now. In this video, you'll be able to see how these shots were altered in postproduction to give the story the 1977 setting. Buildings and trees are added, marks on roads replaced and colors changed to give the series its moody, raw film look.

Cloak Is Where Video Footage Is Going, and It's Amazing

Photo editing, retouching, and removing something from the shot isn't easy to do especially if it's a complex part of the hair, but it's common practice for a professional photographer to be able to do it if the shot and client requires it. It involves masking the new hair refining tool brush over and selecting the best feathering to make this selection as true as possible. Have you ever thought about removing something from a video? This is what Adobe is working on and this video shows a sneak peek of what Cloak will be able to do.

How to Recreate the Orange Desert Effect From 'Blade Runner 2049'

You want Hollywood-grade shots but you don't have the money? The bad news is most of the time you can't do anything about this. The good news is there are cases when with the help of some VFX you can go a long way, as in this case. This video will help you recreate that orange desert look from "Blade Runner 2049."

Surreal Drone Video Blends Time-Lapse and VFX in 'Korean Mirrorworld'

Always looking to try something different with his aerial videos, Vietnam-based Filmmaker Rufus Blackwell recently shared with me his latest project. His techniques combine motion control through planned waypoint missions, and then manipulating the footage in a visual effects software to mirror the ground in an almost "Inception"-like effect.

'Automatica':  Man and Machine Make Music Together

Instead of fearing the future where AI takes over and leaves us with nothing else to do other than oiling their machines, Nigel Standford made a music video and used this "man against machine" concept. It's a DJ, who also plays guitar. The machines take over. Who's making the music? If I had to take it one step further, was the camera filming on an electronic camera rig or was it held and controlled by a DOP?

Adobe Announces New Innovations in Premiere Pro, After Effects, and More at IBC 2017

Adobe is updating its video applications and adding new features across the board. Many of these features include improvements for editing virtual reality content, smarter automated tasks, and some other features modeled after Final Cut 7, which Apple announced will not be supported in its upcoming MacOS High Sierra update.

Check Out This Incredible Music Video With All In-Camera Effects and No CGI

London-based Director Oscar Hudson recently released a mind-boggling music video for Bonobo’s “No Reason,” and it's incredible. The music video, which is an homage to Hikikomori, a growing problem in Japan of adolescents and adults who withdraw from society and become increasingly isolated, was filmed using one continuous shot and only in-camera effects and no CGI.

Behind the Scenes of the 'Game of Thrones' Ship Battle [Spoilers]

I'll start with a rather obvious warning: this video and article may contain spoilers for anything that happens up to and including episode 2 of season 7 of "Game of Thrones." With that out of the way, we can look at how the incredible fight scene of that second episode was created.

How to Use J-Cuts to Enhance Your Video Transitions

J-Cuts can be described as having the sound enter the scene before the scene appears visually, or it can be used to play out a scene where the audio is used after the shot has ended. They're used in TV and movies, and they're a professional element that sets you and your style apart from those who just cut scenes together. This enables you to get a nice flow in your video, and it all blends and layers to make it more interesting and give your work more power.

How to Make Your 4K Footage Look Like It Was Shot in the 90s

So many photographers have recently been dipping their toes in the world of video. You can edit photos like a pro, but maybe you just can't seem to figure out video editing; it's very complex – like an onion, so many layers – and now you have to deal with sound design! If you've used presets for your photo editing, then you should definitely consider plugins for your video editing. Red Giant sent us a copy of their recently updated Universe 2.1. Jump on in and see what it's all about.

Neill Blomkamp's New Short 'Rakka'

Neill Blomkamp directed "District 9" and "Chappie" and now he's released a short film of a dystopian future where aliens have taken over earth and the humans have to fight with whatever they can to survive and before it's too late. It's done in the style you kan expect from Blomkamp, in a way I believe only he can do, and it's got all the action, suspense, and gross details of brain implantation and alien creatures that he's become known for.

Create a Realistic Gunshot Wound Using Play-Doh, Makeup, and a Bit of AfterEffects

Whether you are a photographer or a videographer, special effects are one way to separate your work from the crowd. Not everyone is willing to put in the time or effort, and many don’t know how to get it done. If you are amongst the ones missing the knowledge, don’t worry, Film Riot has got you covered with a new tutorial on how to create a fake bullet with Play-Doh, a bit of post-processing, and a few makeup products.

Debunked: Viral Tape Measure VFX

Captain Disillusion is back again, and this time he's uncovering the various techniques used to create the famous “Tape Measure Tricks” video. How much of it is visual effects?

How to Add a Sweet Freeze-Frame Effect to Your Videos

Some of my favorite video editing tricks and tools are quick and subtle edits that have a lot of impact on the final piece. This tutorial from videographer Casey McPerry is definitely one of those tools that I will be adding to my bag.

Reaching for the Stars with a McLaren - A Different Take on Automotive Compositing

There are many times in the automotive industry that when you're asked to shoot a car, you frequently cannot move the car either from where it is or far from where it's being stored due to its rarity, sometimes condition, and sometimes even questionable street-legality. This can definitely cause some problems when it comes to producing high-end images of the cars for a client. If they want only detail shots then you're good as you won't need to show much of the background to accomplish their goals. However, if they've got high hopes and want the car to be pictured anywhere except where it actually is you have to be a bit creative.

Get Started with DaVinci Resolve 12.5 in Less Than 35 Minutes

When getting into video, filming may not be the biggest issue. Post-production plays a significant role and can be quite overwhelming. There is tons of software out there, and it’s difficult to know which is best for what. Learning how to use these programs is even worse when you are a photographer. The interface looks totally different than what we are used to with Photoshop, Lightroom, or even Capture One. So it’s always nice there are people such as Casey Faris producing comprehensive videos to help us out in getting started. If, like me, you can’t seem to get a perfect grading with Premiere or Final Cut Pro, this crash course on DaVinci Resolve is exactly what you need!

Ten Tips for Shooting Video Footage for Visual Effects

If you're into video editing you are probably interested in visual effects to some extent. Even if you aren't, bookmark the current article as you will eventually be. Visual effects is not some software magic that works with any footage. With video you have lots of still images per second and the process of making a composite needs to be automated as much as possible. Working on a frame by frame basis is avoided as much as possible. In this video you will find 10 quick tips on the importance of having appropriate video content in order to help easily create more realistic visual effects.

Watch BBC Explain CGI in 1982

How far had computer graphics come in the early eighties? "Tomorrow's World," an old show on BBC, shows us just how far the tech had come – and how far it was going to go.

The Biggest Problems in the VFX Industry

On Sunday night, "The Jungle Book" took home the Oscar for best visual effects. It shines a spotlight on how a story can rely so heavily on VFX, but how the industry continues to sideline the people behind it. A newly released short documentary is showing us just how digital art is a race to the bottom.

BTS: See How 'Rogue One' Used Virtual Reality Controllers to Guide Virtual Camera Movements

BBC Click shared a video that gives an in-depth look at the tools used by director Gareth Edwards at ILM London to better show computer graphics supervisor Steve Ellis his desired camera angles and movements throughout "Rogue One." Using just an iPad and an HTC Vive controller, Edwards was able to explore the virtual, computer-generated world to find the best shots, which were then communicated to the VFX team so they new exactly how to guide the virtual camera movements throughout the film.

Great VFX: How You'll Never Notice It

We all know that visual effects have come a long way in recent years, but it’s always worth remembering that the best of the lot are the kind you don’t notice. This video – a wonderful tribute to VFX – is a smart way of showing off exactly what can be done.

Behind the Scenes: Special Effects Used In Silent Films

Visual and special effects have a long history; they've been around since the dawn of filmmaking. Here are some great examples from silent films where the techniques used behind the scenes are still relevant today.

How 'Rogue One' Created Full CGI Characters of Peter Cushing and 19-Year-Old Carrie Fisher

"Rogue One" is the latest addition to the epic space battle in the "Star Wars" universe, and damn, did it impress. From all angles, the film looked to hit on all the cues that made the original 70s and 80s films incredible, yet still filled it with plenty of new and relevant stories to bring it to life in 2016. Capping off a wild year of many celebrity deaths, it brings an interesting question: should we bring back deceased actors to fill a role?

Learn How Teleport Your Kid with Action Movie Dad

Some Dads bring their kids to the playground, some even play the same sport. Action Movie Dad sends his son to other worlds with his VFX know how and childlike imagination. This time around, he's showing us exactly how it's done.

Audi's 'Duel' Ad Spot Provides Interesting Case Study for Sound Design in Reverse-Playback Clips

Audi took advantage of Monday night's presidential debates with its "Duel" ad spot. Nearly the entire clip plays in reverse, allowing the chronology of the true story and how the action unfolded to the point at which you began to unravel itself in an action-packed scene. The rewound clip -- fit for a 007 film -- features quite the production, complete with excellent, blockbuster-born sound effects to sell every punch and shattering glass shard. But it doesn't take much studying to see this was hardly as easy as rewinding an otherwise-normal action sequence: it took great audio to create this spectacle.

Mad Max: Fury Road Without Special Effects is Still Pretty Outstanding Movie Magic

The recent remake of Mad Max: Fury Road has to be one of my favorite examples of both CGI and practical effects in modern day movie making working perfectly together. The way they created this world for which these characters live astounds me every time I see the film and truly set itself apart from other movies. Thanks to behind the scenes access and places like Gizmodo for the latest BTS footage.

Kubo and the Two Strings: Behind the Scenes On How Stop Motion Animation Works in 2016

Stop motion animation is by far one of the most forgotten mediums for filmmaking, yet it holds high respect for what it is and how it's done in large motion pictures today. Those pushing the envelope in 2016 are the geniuses behind Laika Studios where they blended hand crafted puppets, CGI, and 3D printing to build a world filled with imagination and story.

An Alternative to VFX: Interactive Dynamic Video

Science meets art once again. Abe Davis, a computer science PhD student at MIT, recently published a research about interaction with the objects in videos, by measuring and mapping the vibrations of their movements. His project, which he developed with Justin Chen and Fredo Durand, and patented by MIT, aims to be used both in engineering and videography.

What a Music Video Using the iPhone App Prisma Looks Like

Drive Like Maria just released a music video for their song "Deep Blue." What makes this unique is that every frame has been rendered with the "Dreams" effect using the Prisma App. This app uses AI to create effects that make your images look like paintings of famous artists. It has many effect options, and it really looks as though a lot of time, knowledge, and effort has been put together to create it. It looks like Waking Life, but instead of drawing each frame by hand, Drive Like Maria has taken every frame of their music video and run it through the app.

A Time-lapse Cinemagraph Made With 12 Images

This Cinemagraph time-lapse was made using only 12 JPEG images. The software allows photographers to create motion within a static photograph. You need to upload each image to the website, and then you design the movement within each image. Once you get a moving image "flowing" you can render it out and import it into Adobe Premiere Pro to create the final time-lapse.

Video Breaks Down the Impressive Visual Effects of 'Game of Thrones'

As you probably know, much of the epic imagery in "Game of Thrones" is computer-generated. It's a monumental task, and this video from Rising Sun Pictures, the visual effects company responsible for that amazing imagery, really puts into perspective the amount of work and imagination required to pull off such a feat.

A Tribute to Blue Screen Photography and Compositing

Beyond any doubt, the effects and compositing techniques used in the first three films of Star Wars trilogy were the game changer in VFX world. Although there has been a rapid improvement in the VFX technology for the last 40 years, we can say that Star Wars was one of the pioneers. So, how was that possible to achieve realistic results in a movie produced in 1980? Mark Vargo explains the mathematics, optics, engineering, and software behind the blue screen photography and compositing in detail.

Win up to $100,000 in Cash and Prizes With the Filmsupply Challenge [UPDATE]

[UPDATE] The winners have been announced! Check out the winners page to see some incredible video editing.

Filmsupply and Musicbed have partnered up to bring you a film competition that could change your life. Without having to shoot one frame of footage, you could win up to $100,000 in cash, prizes, and incredible experiences. Although you're not restricted to only using their content, this competition allows you to tap into the huge libraries of both Musicbed and Filmsupply to create and submit your 60-second film. Check out the submission guidelines below.

What’s New in Adobe Premiere Pro 2015.3

Adobe has released Premiere Pro CC 2015.3. The new welcomed features are something I haven’t yet seen implemented in any other NLE. If you use Premiere, here is a look at what’s new, and if you’re not a subscriber, this might make you consider switching.

Learn How to Shoot an Epic Bar Brawl

In their latest video, Film Riot's Frontman/Director Ryan Connolly comes to my backyard (Vancouver, BC) to film a truly epic bar brawl short. This entire series of videos is extremely useful when it comes to learning what it takes to film a quality short. The "Uncut Behind the Scenes" video is seriously my favorite of the bunch as you get a very candid look at every little detail and consideration the cast and crew had to make.

BLACKBIRD - The Mill: The Automotive Industries' Newest Secret Weapon for Filming

From the company that pioneered the use of virtual car reskinning for video use, comes the newest innovation of film technology. The Mill, in partnership with JemFX, Performance Filmworks, and Keslow Camera, launched their new product onto the scene, dubbed "Blackbird." Resembling a mix of a Caterham 7, a dune buggy, and maybe some sort of Batman-esque type vehicle, the Blackbird is a small electric car that has pre-mapped tracking points on it to allow for easy replacement in post.

Behind the Scenes of Game of Thrones' Battle for Winterfell [Spoilers]

As much of a Game of Thrones fan as I am, the scene in Sunday's episode that has had everyone talking, "Battle for Winterfell" or "Battle of the Bastards," resonated with me for two reasons. The first is the same as most people who watched it: the scene was epic — not epic in the way kids these days use the word, but in the sense of it being truly gargantuan and awesome. The second reason was the curiosity of the photographer in me on how something of that scale could be shot.

Look How Ridiculous The New Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Movies Look Without CGI

It's truly incredible what they can do with film today, especially with the advancement of visual effects and motion graphics. When I first heard they were remaking Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I was incredibly sad; all those years growing up watching the original live action films featuring the puppets crafted by Jim Henson's. It was brilliant and really well done for a movie of its time. Then came the almost 100% CGI filled epic by Michael Bay himself, yet it works and it's fun.

Make Your Videos More Cinematic With Letterbox Templates

Whether you realize it or not, most videos produced for cinema or even high-end marketing campaigns have some sort of cropping on it, be it by design or with a specific purpose in mind. It's a common occurrence, and for the most part, when you wanted to use this kind of cropping you either had to make your own templates or scour the web in order to find what you were looking for. Well thanks to the folks over at, they have compiled an extensive list of what they claim to be every popular video resolution in the world. All the way from 720 HD to 8K and creating crop ratios from 1:1 to 4:1 Polyvision.

Hello Tokyo: How the Edits Were Done

I recently came across this video by Christoph Galep and was very impressed by the editing thereof. The transitions between shots and the slowing down and speeding up of the time-lapse provided a good energy to the video, something a simple cut edit isn’t able to do.

The Met Gala's Studio Setup for Photographs and Video

It’s amazing how photos and video have become ingrained in events, especially when fashion and arts come together. Art and Commerce, an agency representing Photographers, Hair Stylists, Makeup Artists, Illustrators, Creative Director, Set Designers, and Directors have documented the small ‘studio’ space at the Met Gala. Art and Commerce represents Gordon von Steiner, who directed and brilliantly executed these images and video.