Movies are becoming more reliant on computer effects. Many sets look nothing like the finished product, especially for the top movies with action-packed scenes.

Behind The Scenes Effect From Top Movies
Behind-The-Scenes Effect From Top Movies.

One thing I love researching is what movie sets looked like behind-the-scenes. How the special effects made it better. It gets me every time, mostly because it feels like I just solved a complicated magic trick. Here are some I found fascinating.

1) Behind-The-Scenes vs Special Effects For Rise of the Planet of The Apes Movie.

The apes in this movie were just actors in grey tight suits that are covered with markers. These markers reflect light that is tracked by Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) cameras. Andy Serkis’ motion-capture performance in this movie was top-notch. He was able to make facial expressions that brought the ape’s character, Ceasar, to life. The behind-the-scenes look for the movie looks nothing like the edited version after special effects were added.

Behind The Scenes Effects Movie
Behind-The-Scenes vs Effects For Rise of the Planet of The Apes Movie.

2) Behind-The-Scenes vs Special Effects For Beauty and the Beast Movie.

Beauty and the Beast is a movie where the bulk of the characters are household objects, not to mention the male lead who is a beast. To film it right, the team had to rely heavily on CGI. Behind-the-scenes of this movie, Dan Stevens had to wear bulky grey suits with markers for most of his scenes. He also had to wear stilts to give him the right height for the beast. Then the visual effects brought the image of the beast to life.

Behind The Scenes Effects Movie.
Behind-The-Scenes vs Effects For Beauty and the Beast Movie.

3) Behind-The-Scenes vs Special Effects For Harry Potter Movies.

The reality of the wizarding world was possible with CGI. The Harry Potter movies with Voldemort could not have been possible without special effects.

Voldemort’s facial features are not normal, and though Ralph Fiennes’ was ready to break his nose, there was no way he could have pulled it off. Behind-the-scenes, Fiennes’ nose looked normal except that it was lined with markers for CGI cameras to track. Fiennes’ nose had to be edited out of the movie. The special effects team edited it frame by frame for him to look exactly like Voldemort.

Behind The Scenes Effects Movies.
Behind-The-Scenes vs Effects For Harry Potter Movies.

3) Behind-The-Scenes vs Special Effects For San Andreas Movie.

The disaster movie San Andreas became a successful movie with the help of three major things. Green screen, great acting and talented visual effects experts.

Consider the scene where The Golden Gate Bridge was destroyed by a tidal wave. Behind-the-scenes showed a movie set with green screen and a miniature Gold Gate Bridge. Then a few buckets of water was used to make the tidal wave. Afterwards, the visual effects team got to work.

Behind The Scenes Effects Movie.
Behind-The-Scenes vs Effects For San Andreas Movie.
Credit: Looper

4) Behind-The-Scenes vs Special Effects For Lord of The Rings Movies.

Andy Serkis’s motion-capture performance as Smeagol in the movies was amazing. A large portion of the movie was computer generated and even some shot for Bilbo Baggins’ hobbit hole was done using CGI. I always assumed that the hobbit hole was a built movie set.

Behind The Scenes Effects Movies.
Behind-The-Scenes vs Effects For Lord of The Rings Movies.
Behind The Scenes Effects Movies.
Behind-The-Scenes vs Effects For Lord of The Rings Movies.

5) Behind-The-Scenes vs Special Effects For Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug Movie.

The antagonist for The Hobbit movies is the Firedrake Dragon known as Smaug. The production team had to rely on the effects of CGI to properly capture Smaug. The technology coupled with Benedict Cumberbatch’s perfect motion-capture performance brought the ghastly dragon to life.

Behind The Scenes Effects Movie.
Behind The Scenes vs Effects For Hobbit Desolation of Smaug Movie.
Credit: Looper

6) Behind-The-Scenes vs Special Effects For Pirates of the Caribbean: Deadman’s Chest Movie.

In this movie, the crew of the Flying Dutchman are not completely human. They are half-man, half sea animal. For the actors to play their roles well, they had to wear tight grey suits with markers. The motion-capture performances were enhanced with the CGI cameras. The behind-the-scenes footage for the movie must have looked ridiculous. I just imagine actors looking terrified of men wearing tight grey suits.

Behind The Scenes Effects
Behind-The-Scenes vs Effects For Pirates of The Caribbean (Deadman’s Chest) Movie.

I enjoy seeing how some of these masterpieces were put together. Especially the ones with supernatural or paranormal beings and huge creatures. Behind-the-scenes of every set is always different from what we see in the movie. So it’s fun to stop sometimes and appreciate the work of special effects experts.