"When faced with a problem you do not understand,
do any part of it you do understand; then look at it again."
~(Robert A. Heinlein - "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress")

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Practical effect

- In movies, an effect produced, not in post-production nor with computer-generated imagery (CGI), but live on the set with materials of the real world.

Sometimes, simple is best.

Looking up something in the HBO TV series Rome (2005-2007), I came across episode 8 of the second season ("A Necessary Fiction") in which the girl Eirene, taken as wife by Titus Pullo has been poisoned. In her death scene, you can literally see the life fading out of her eyes, and a second look made me realize what I had to have been seeing.

Screencaps from DVD. Watch the eyes ...

Going ...

Gone ...

In fact, it was the light I saw leaving her eyes. Have her look at a particular point while a light is reflected in her eyes. That light is on a rheostat (dimmer) which is cranked down at the appropriate time.

I doubt this is the first time this trick has been used, as all of the materials required were available as far back as Edison's time. About as simple as you can get, and startlingly effective.

But often the very best effects really are so simple.

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