Welcome to the world of modern day cinema, where flying superheroes, blazing vehicles and helicopter explosions form the cornerstone of every summer blockbuster film. With developments in cutting edge technology, the evolution of special effects has been nothing short of astounding. Indeed, it is what ultimately paved the way for the inception of 3D, 4D and IMAX—giving birth to a new era in digital filmmaking, previously inconceivable.
With a growing market for superhero films in action, sci-fi and fantasy genres, comic book franchises and reboots have grown incredibly popular. Movies such as Transformers, The Avengers, Jurassic World, Ironman and The Incredible Hulk may not be all the rage come Academy Award season; but they’re the ones to take the lead at the box office—and stay there for weeks on end.
Usually packed with a star-studded cast, with a somewhat predictable good versus evil plot, plenty of wisecracks, a budding romance, and stunning visual effects—a typical action blockbuster has all the makings of an enjoyable popcorn film. No emotional investment, no waterworks—just wide-eyed wonder from the pulsating interjection between breathtaking CGI and incredible green screen filming.
The Evolution of Cinema
We’ve certainly come a long way since the 1920s—and we don’t just mean the Great Depression (which, by the way, couldn’t be captured any better today than it was in those iconic Chaplin films).
The truth is, old films hold a timeless appeal not merely because they’re “old” or black and white; but because filmmakers of yesteryear had the power to conjure up entire universes with their imagination. Without the aid of advanced technology, they performed magic on screen with classics like Metropolis, which form the bedrock of contemporary cinema.
Through the ages, filmmaking technology underwent great changes, opening a gateway to new possibilities that manifested visibly as trending patterns in action and horror films. Despite these changes, however, many old films in the same genres remain incomparable by virtue of the filmmaker’s craft. Case in point: The Exorcist.
No extensive special effects, the film relied merely on the alchemy of a talented makeup department and the bewitching powers of William Friedkin. It’s the epitome of supernatural horror that continues to send shivers down our spine as we recall the chilling bedroom scene, underscored by the recurrent expression: “The power of Christ compels you!”
Fast-forward to modern-day films in the same genre, with people flocking to theaters to watch CGI-replete releases like Paranormal Activity, Insidious and The Babadook.
It’s not a matter of better or worse; it’s about embracing change and using new resources to upgrade the experience of watching and enjoying a film in ways you couldn’t back in the day.
Why CGI Matters
Despite the immortal charm of old black and white motion pictures, contemporary films have their own place in the world of cinema. Perhaps the greatest, most recent example being the release of Mad Max: Fury Road—which, besides getting an Oscar nod and getting an incredible amount of buzz, captured the enormity and George Miller’s dystopian reimagining of the 70s cult classic.
It is for this reason why CGI remains a hot topic in the world of contemporary film; for it demands the guiding light of a filmmaker who knows what he or she’s doing. Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, George Lucas—these are directors of great caliber who dabbled in CGI to create brilliant masterpieces. But with most risks in filmmaking, it can be a hit or miss.
Ultimately, experimenting with CGI is a serious undertaking. It demands the aid of finance, an experienced crew, and a clear goal as to the intention of incorporating it in the film.
We’ve been talking about Hollywood feature films, but CG and Green Screen is widely used in marketing and corporate videos as well. We use them regularly in our videos, so if you’re curious about how we could use those effects in your project, please contact us.
336 Productions is an award-winning video production company in Orange County, California. We specialize in a range of pre and post-production services, including special effects and green screen filming.
We also assist businesses with digital marketing through sales video, trade show videos, videos on legal services and case studies.
Contact us for a free consultation today!