Old School Effects: Three Quickies

So you're in the mood to remember the good old days of visual effects, before CGI took over. What do you do? Well, what I usually do is take an old issue of Cinefex down from the shelf and flip through it.

Just in case you don't have access to this particular magazine, here are three alternatives you can dive into, if you're in the mood for some old school movie magic.

1) Get "BBC VFX: The Story of the BBC Visual Effects Department"

The title says it all. I just got this book, and I haven't even had time to read it properly, I've just been flipping through the pages. It covers everything from 'Allo 'Allo to Doctor Who, with a ton of unique images.

The interesting thing is that the book covers titles which haven't already been covered a million other places. These aren't big Hollywood movies, the ones that come with glossy making of books. These are more or less obscure British TV programs - comedies, dramas, even documentaries - and many of them you will never have heard of before, but that doesn't make the magic any less compelling.

2) Watch "Bringing Godzilla Down to Size"

This hour-long documentary is about the geniuses behind the effects from the original Japanese Godzilla films. It can be found on the DVD "Rodan and War of the Gargantuas" from the Toho Masters Collection.

It's an absolutely wonderful walk down memory lane, with plenty of interviews with the old masters and it ends with a fascinating recreation of one of the classic effect shots - a volcanic eruption, created by using a water tank. Somehow this film will convince you that a man in a rubber suit stumbling around between models buildings is the greatest thing ever.

3) Join "P.E.G. Practical Effects Group" on Facebook

This is a magical place - a veritable cornucopia of awesome pictures of old school effects. The members of this group will spit in your face if you say the C-word (CGI), and they'll spill blood defending models and miniatures!

They'll post never before seen images from classic films, work in progress from current productions, video clips and drawings, whatever your heart desires. And many of the people who worked on those classic scenes will chime in and offer inside details. You can waste days going through old posts, but you'll have a wonderful time doing it.


No big point or conclusion here, just felt like sharing these three gems which have provided me with so much pleasure. Hope you'll feel the same way.

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