Magical vfx?

DudeGuy676DudeGuy676 Website User Posts: 9
edited June 2013 in Practical Filmmaking
Hey guys I'm working on post right now for a wizard battle sort of video, and I'm trying to pull off some effects like changing the stuff on a desk, teleporting, and shooting beams of fire and lasers. I do know how to get these kinds of effects, but I've never done it before, so I'm asking the people who have. Is there anything you would do to enhance these effects, or any tips and tricks you'd like to share?
Posting here since I have access to more than just hitfilm


  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    Do as much practically as possible, even if the main effect will be CG. So for beams of fire and lasers, do some stuff with lights on-set so that it looks like the laser/fire is lighting up the surroundings. It'll make it look vastly better.
    Similarly, decide how your teleportation looks and works. When someone teleports in, what happens to their surroundings? Does the air get displaced, causing paper and dust and other stuff to blow out? If so, maybe try to get a leaf blower or something and point it at the ground to create a similar effect, so that you can then comp out the leaf blower later but still have an awesome explosion of air which you can put your teleportation VFX into.
    That kinda thing.
  • PhilWessonPhilWesson Website User Posts: 241 Enthusiast
    Plan, plan, plan.
    • I find it beneficial to develop a visual style before jumping into any vfx software. Have an idea of what you want to see first, develop it a bit, then bring it into practice once you have an idea in place. 
    • Also, I'd reiterate what Simon said. Compositing can look great, but practical interaction is going to sell the effect. pay attention to what physical and optical impact your effect would generate, and do your best to integrate that into what you're shooting before you get into compositing.
    • Reference is key. Try to find something comparable (from nature or other movies). See what they do that makes it believable, (or not) and use that. 
    • Secondary action (physics): This is a lot like one of the previous things I said, but keep in mind that when you're dealing with almost any effect, there are secondary things that happen; light emitted from a spell will bounce off walls, kick up dust, reflect off of smooth surfaces, leave distorted waves after it passes. It helps to try to imagine the physics of an effect as you're making it. Does it generate heat? Does it compress air? Does it distort space? what does that do to the light, dust, forces around it?
    • Secondary actions (people): Another part of selling the effect is the reaction that people have to it. Too often, I see someone make a great effect, and someone else in the shot seems unfazed. Keep in mind what reaction people should have to seeing or being around these effects as if they were happening in real life. 
    If I can think of anything else, I'll add it here
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