Magazine article American Cinematographer

A Special Year for Effects

Magazine article American Cinematographer

A Special Year for Effects

Article excerpt

AC presents its annual roundup of the year's most interesting effects work.

The more things change... Pundits predicted that the only fossils left in the wake of Jurassic Park's digital dinos were traditional effects techniques, and in the case of the next generation of computer-generated characters, as seen in Casper and Species, they were right. But synthetic actors have quickly become the traditional stomping ground of digital technology - the surprise is how far they've advanced in the two short years since Jurassic Park first roared onto the scene.

But in the realm of synthetic environments, the big effects news this year is miniatures. While a clever use of CG enhanced Mortal Kombat's exotic Thai locations, and effectively transformed modern Ireland into the Scotland of old for Braveheart, those were the exceptions. Models expanded the horizons of futuristic fantasies like Judge Oredd, Waterworld, and Batman Forever - though the illusions, to be sure, were enhanced by CG. Similarly, miniatures played an important part in recreating the diverse realities of a space launch for Apollo 13, a runaway train for Under Seige H: Dark Territory and a lava flow for Congo.

The continued use of miniatures further validates the life's work of one of visual effects' great unsung heroes, Derek Meddings, who died shortly after completing the entirely in-camera miniature effects for the latest James Bond adventure, GoldenEye (see coverage beginning on page 46). …

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