special effects

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(SFX, visual effects)

See also green screen; motion capture; rotoscope; travelling matte.

1. In film and television, either trick shots designed to deceive the viewer—for example, the digital matte paintings that represented the buildings of ancient Rome in Gladiator (2000)—or the creation of fantastic spectacles such as the digital realization of the alien planet Pandora in Avatar (2009). Special effects can be mechanical or optical, although since the 1990s more and more have been achieved digitally.

2. A specialist job in film production and post-production that creates shots which are too expensive, dangerous, or impossible to achieve ‘in camera’. ‘Visual effects’ is a more accurate term since such shots involve specialist film-making departments whereas audio effects tend to be created as a part of a film's sound design.

Subjects: Theatre.

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