Recent VFX Articles

Is It Possible To Produce High End Video With A $600 Point & Shoot?

If you’d asked me this question last week, I would have said no. What a difference a few days makes. Ruslan Pelykh, a New York City-based videographer and photographer, is creating outstanding video with a Leica D Lux 6, a 10 megapixel, $600 point and shoot. This post is a kick up the butt for anyone hanging on for a piece of gear as being the reason they can’t create with what they have. Welcome to creating more, with less.

Shanks FX Re-Creates the Millennium Falcon from the New 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Trailer

Joey Shanks is at it again – this time with an awesome stop-motion homage to the Millennium Falcon portion of the new “Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens” teaser trailer. He combines light painting with a practical model of the star ship to create an awesome gravity-defying recreation that’s sure to impress special effects gurus and Star Wars fans alike. Check it out!

How The Film ‘Anomaly’ Is Changing The Game For Us All (BTS And Interview With Co-Director Salomon Ligthelm)

Last week saw the release of ‘Anomaly’, a film that is redefining the approach and model for independent, narrative film making. Co-Director Salomon Ligthelm outlines how he managed the project as it grew from “a 2 minute art film” into the astonishing 38 minute-long final masterpiece, and provides key takeaways for all of us that we can apply to our own stills or motion projects. If you have any interest in what's coming over the horizon for cutting edge, independent, visual media production, this is for you.

Behind the Scenes and VFX Breakdown of Summer Blockbuster 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'

With 2014 nearly behind us and the list of this year's summer blockbusters almost forgotten, we have a treat from the incredibly talented team at Industrial Light & Magic that takes us back in the form of this behind-the-scenes video of the CG that went into "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." What never gets old about these badass behind-the-scenes videos are how they blow away the background of big-budget movies, essentially revealing the digitally constructed landscapes surrounding our beloved actors in films.

Making The Most Unbelieveable Basketball Trick Shots With After Effects And Some Creativity

This video reminds me of my college days– spending time working with a friend while having next to no budget, but coming up with a fun idea for a short video that would allow us to flex some creative muscle. Corridor Digital may have a (small) budget for these, but what I enjoy about them is that the fun and creativity feels authentic, which you often only get when no agency or corporate sponsor is pushing creative decisions. In this video, you'll see the final clip, with the behind-the-scenes video inside the full post.

Famous Album Covers Came to Life in This Creative Music Video - Find Out How it Was Done

"Mayokero" may be the best music video that came out in 2014, yet you probably never heard of it before. In the video, famous vinyl album covers come to life and they all lip-sync to Roy Kafri's singing. Michael Jackson, Abba, Madonna, The Beatles, Elton John and Bob Dylan are only few of the "collaborators" in the video. Check out the BTS video below and also the amazing final result.

Learn How to Quickly Add and Manipulate Realistic Snow to Your Videos in After Effects

Through Premiumbeat.com's Vimeo channel and blog, motion graphic designer Kevin Gater did the world a huge favor by recently providing a tutorial on creating realistic, falling snow with RED Giant's After Effects plug-in. There are a ton of settings in After Effects, let alone in the RED Giant Trapcode Particular plug-in, that would take forever to navigate; but Gater does a great job going through which settings to ignore and which ones to pay attention to so you'll know exactly what to tweak for your needs. Thankfully, in 15 minutes, you can be ready to add great snow effects for the holiday season or that high-mountain horror short with just a few careful clicks.

"Inspired Light" Combines Light Painting And Automotive Photography

Patrick Rochon is a world-reknowned light painting photographer who recently produced a project with Infiniti, where he used their cars as paintbrushes themselves, in a manner of speaking. This video shows off what is possible when a skilled artist is given the reigns to create compelling images of vehicles, and has the support of a technical and creative team. And to top it all off, the really cool part is that everything was done in camera– there was nothing digitally added.

Joey Shanks Explains to Fstoppers How He Re-Created the Black Hole from the Movie Interstellar

If you’re interested in getting big budget looks in your low budget indie film, then you should be very familiar with the Shanks FX channel on YouTube. If you’re not, you should get acquainted with it… like now! Joe Schenkenberg aka Joey Shanks is the man with the know-how when it comes to creating Hollywood effects out of simple household items. He teamed up with PBS Digital Studios to bring you quality behind-the-scenes content online and has recently partnered with Red Giant to explain how he created a black hole effect very similar looking to the one in the recent movie Interstellar – all captured in-camera.

Go Behind The Scenes Of The Sound Production For Interstellar

Undoubtedly, audio is one of the most important story telling tools in cinema. Improper use or overuse of sound can dramatically affect the impact of the viewing experience. After the recent release of Christopher Nolan's Interstellar, there has been a lot of buzz about the 'mix being muddy'. Many theater goers are reporting sound issues; that the booming sound effects are too loud.

BeeWorks 5 Camera Stabilization Unit and Kinetic Remote Bring New, Intuitive Functionality to Steady Cam Operation

Smooth video is critical for a professional touch on any video shoot. Currently, there are a number of stabilization options from traditional and expensive Steadicam systems to simple weight-balanced gimbal-based rigs like the Steadicam Merlin. Arguably, none do the job more intuitively, however, than the BeeWorks 5 Camera Stabilization and BeeWorks' special sauce, the Kinetic Remote.

Using Aerial Video To Re-Create A Classic Videogame Look

If you've played a few shooter video games in the last two decades, chances are you've seen at least one with a point of view that is looking from the top-down. The team over at Corridor Digital wanted to recreate this style in a video short (which also meant doing it all in a single take!) so they partnered with DJI to make it happen. This video takes you behind the scenes on their shoot, but check the full post for the final video and a second BTS piece.

Breaking Down the Visual Effects of Brett Ratner's "Hercules"

Earlier this summer we saw the release of Brett Ratner's "Hercules". The movie was a mild success despite critics' anticipations. Recently Milk VFX and Double Negative VFX houses have both released breakdowns of how they created the visual effects for the movie. Mike Seymour of Wired walks you through a detailed featurette on how Double Negative created the numerous creature effects for the film. In the second breakdown we get to see how Milk expanded the world in the movie with set expansions, matte paintings and other special effect touches.

Behind the Scenes Video with Quicksilver from X-Men: Days of Future Past

Going back to that moment when Easter morning comes and my mother, the "Easter Bunny" at the time, had purchased two of every single X-Men character on the market for my older brother and I. Since then I have had an extreme passion for super heroes and all that comes with it, especially when in movies!

A Behind the Scenes Look and VFX Breakdown of The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner, a new film by Fox and Dayday Films, is a new film in what seems to be a trending list of young adult dystopian movies to be released recently. In these behind the scenes featurettes we can see a small glimpse at how they filmed the movie and how the special effects were created.

Animated GIF Wedding Photography is a Thing and It's Beautiful

What happens when you take a technology from the early 90's and use it in your photography business in 2014? Just ask Jeffrey Bennett, a professional wedding photographer based in Detroit who in 2011 decided to start producing GIF animations for each one of his engagement sessions and wedding nights, which resulted in many happy clients, a lot of interest from potential clients and of course beautiful results he can then share online.

Microsoft Hyperlapse Project Aims to Make First-Person Videos Enjoyable at Last

First-person cameras, such as the ubiquitous GoPro, have been filming hours of footage from their owner’s journeys for years now. These lengthy uncut videos don’t hold much interest to most people, but a team of Microsoft Researchers are aiming to change that by using some remarkable technology they hope to release as part of an upcoming app.

How to Make Stylized Film Titles for Your Next Video

The guys from Film Riot catch ‘Guy Ritchie Disease’ and in the process teach you how to create the "Guy Ritchie" freeze frame effect. Whether you need an awesome intro title for your film or even a great effect for your own behind the scenes photography vlog, this Film riot video shows you how to create it in Adobe After Effects. If you’re more comfortable in Photoshop, you can put it together in there and then animate it in After Effects.

Game of Thrones Season 4 - Wight Attack Sequence Behind-the-Scenes

The ever talented team at Scanline VFX have posted their most recent BTS video of the popular wight fight scene from the Game of Thrones Season 4 Finale. In this run down you can see the incredible detail and heavy visual effects work that goes into each and every scene from that fight. This one sequence has been remored to be one of the most expensive scenes created for the show.

Game of Thrones Season 4 - Visual Effects Behind-the-Scenes

The hit TV show on HBO Game of Thrones has some stunning practical and visual effects. Season 4 was no exception, and the team has behind the VFX just released a behind-the-scenes video showing what they did. If you haven't watched the season yet, be aware, it contains SPOILERS.

BTS: How This Beautiful Slow-Mo Film of a House Set on Fire Was Made

Slow motion is, certainly, one of the most beautiful cinematic inventions of all time. It can show us so many things that are not normally visible and can make any "normal" scene look magical and unique. For the past few years the slow motion technologies have continued to improve, and just last year the Phantom Flex4K Digital Cinema Camera was announced introducing some groundbreaking slow motion abilities like shooting at 1,000fps at at 4K resolution. Shortly after its release, Director Brendan Bellomo and cinematographer Greg Wilson got their hands on the camera and took it for a test and created this beautiful video called "Let Me Know When You See Fire."

This New Company Thinks Motion Photographs Are The Future of Photography

Earlier this year Lukas Renlund, a 30-year old professional photographer from Scandinavia, sat down and tried to imagine what the photography industry might look like in 5 or 10 years. That imagination-session lead him to quickly start a new photography/media company named 'Not So Fast | Media'. Instead of offering still photographs to their clients, the new company focuses only on creating motion photographs- Beautiful moving images.

Get the Rendering Software Used in Pixar's Toy Story and Wall-E for Free

Frozen, The Hobbit, Toy Story, Wall-E, Jurassic Park... these are just a handful of the blockbuster movies over the years that have utilized Pixar's award-winning VFX software, RenderMan. In fact, RenderMan has been around since 1984 - used to render computer graphics in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. Now you have the chance to own the software yourself - for free! You read that right - FREE!

Side by Side Video Highlights The Talents of Visual Effects Teams (NSFW)

From time to time, we show of some behind the scenes videos of popular movies and TV shows that highlight the hard work done behind the camera to make the stories come alive. However, rarely do we get to see a side by side comparison of a visual effect heavy movie such as Final Destination 5, showing us all the hard work that is done to seamlessly create exciting moments on a budget.

This 360° Spherical Panorama Video Takes Panoramas To The Next Level

Photojournalist Jonas Ginter always wanted to take the idea of the still-2D spherical panoramas and somehow make them in video format. It took him 2 years to develop the idea and tools, but finally last week he achieved his goal. Jonas used a 3D printer to build a special mount that holds 6 GoPro cameras, and placed them as close as possible to each other to make sure they overlap. The result is simply great.

This DreamWorks Animator Is Using His VFX Skills To Turn His Son Into a Superhero

James is not one of the ordinary kids in town. James is a superhero shooting lasers from his eyes and flying around. These super powers are all possible thanks to his dad, Daniel Hashimoto, who is a DreamWorks animator and a visual effects specialist based in LA. Daniel decided to use his visual effects skills and upgrade his own home-videos of his young son James, who is now also known as "The Action Kid".

Red Giant Releases "Universe," A Plugin Platform With Free (And Paid) Options

Red Giant, the plugin supergroup that is responsible for filter packs like Magic Bullet Looks, Trapcode, and PluralEyes, has recently announced a new plugin model, Universe, where new and updated filters will be provided to members at low to no cost. If you're a motion graphics designer, or love sweetening your video edits with funky filters, check out the video and see if Universe is for you.

Gravity: A Detailed Look at the Oscar-Winning Special Effects

Prime Focus World’s Richard Baker and Matthew Bristowe breakdown a scene from Gravity, explaining how they converted the movie from 2D to 3D formats using View-D™ and how the special effects were fully integrated in the process. The videos below show the full breakdown of the special effects used in the film with interviews from director Alfonso Cuarón and more.

Capturing Wingsuit Flyers And Directing A Video Shoot At 10,000 Feet

Working at high altitude is always a challenge, but trying to follow fast moving objects that are actually people defying death is a whole other level of intensity. In this behind the scenes video for a Verizon Fios ad, Director Rob Cohen has wingsuit flyers recorded jumping off of a cliff, but then has to get creative to shoot the not-so-real landing. See how they did it and check out the final ad inside.

Watch the Evolution of VFX Through Academy Award Winning Movies

This brilliant video edited by Nelson Carvajal shows just how much visual effects have changed throughout movie history. The video starts with 1977's Star Wars and ends with this year's nominees for "Best Visual Effects". It wasn't until 1977 that the Academy Awards created an official category for "Best Visual Effects". Although, until 1995 the Academy Awards occasionally fell back to its old umbrella of "Special Achievement Academy Award".

Captivating Video "Beauty" Brings Motion to Still Paintings

"Beauty" is a short video by Rino Stefano Tagliafeirro, and it's a captivating 10 minutes that brings to life still paintings with a somewhat eerie soundtrack that almost forces rapt attention. The manifesto is described as delving into the "enigma of beauty." I would say more, but this is just one of those things that needs to be experienced. Warning, this does contain painted nudes.

San Francisco Hyperlapse Project, Plus Behind The Scenes Of How It Was Made

Marc Donahue from Permagrin Films keeps popping up with new and interesting timelapse or GoPro projects– and his latest work features the gorgeous city of San Francisco. Using unique motion timelapses, Marc and his team put together another amazing piece of work. Marc shared some insight on the production, and we've also got some behind the scenes video too so you can see how it was made.

The Wolf of Wall Street VFX Breakdown

The Academy Awards nominations were recently released and it's no surprise that "The Wolf of Wall Street" received nominations in the "Best Picture" and "Best Actor" categories, but what about visual effects? The visual effects for the movie while extremely subtle are outstanding to say the least. The company behind the special effects for the movie is Brainstorm Digital. They released the VFX breakdown of "The Wolf on Wall Street", and proves just how much special effects can have an impact on modern storytelling.

This Magical Snow Video Was Shot On The iPhone In One Take

Last week Jerusalem had one of the heaviest snow storms ever recorded in the region. Media outlets called it a "Historic Storm" and "Biblical Snowstorm," and thousands of people lost power and got stuck at home. Some even got stuck in their cars on the highway. This didn't stop photography student Nitzan Yogev (24) from going outside, hopping on the light-rail train and recording one of the most captivating snow videos I've ever seen - and all shot on the iPhone 5s.

The 2.5D Effect: How To Make a Parallax Image

There is something magical about having your 2D photos seem like they're actually 3D. It brings them to life in a way none other method can. The depth, the complexity and the subtle movements give your regular 2D photos more meaning and context, and it makes the viewer focus on the image much more than normal. Joe Fellows is a master of the 2.5D (Parallax) Effect and in this short video he shows you everything you need to know to make this effect yourself on your own images.

Powerful Video Filters: Warp Stabilizer

As filmmakers, we often find ourselves in less-than-perfect circumstances; we may be losing sunlight at the end of a shoot or trying to capture a fleeting moment before it disappears. Often times you’ll find that you've captured great moments with an undesirable camera shake. I've found myself in this situation countless times and I want to share something that has changed the way I deal with shaky footage.

Low Budget, High Scale - Incredible Action Sequence With BTS

Whether you’re a photographer or you focus on video, this article highlights the high octane visual set piece created by Slaughterhouse Pictures, who successfully combined principles of both stills and motion work to create high impact visual media with zero budget and very limited resources. Read the exclusive FStoppers article and watch the BTS video to get some simple and highly effective little tips that you will be able to apply to all aspects of your own work.

Can GTA 5 Can Teach Us To Be Better Photographers?

Grand Theft Auto 5, which launched yesterday, is the most expensive video game ever produced, at a cost of $250 million of production and marketing costs. It also set records for day one sales. Most of the short time I played over the last day was spent inside the house one of the one of the main protagonists. I moved from room to room and realized I’d just spent almost an hour trying to work out how to position the character for best dramatic lighting effect. As I stepped outside and watched the sunset and saw the lighting change, it got me thinking - can Grand Theft Auto (GTA) 5 actually help us to improve our photography?