Explaining Special Effects to Kids
Posted: 12 January 2010 05:58 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Does anyone have suggestions for a show or movie that explain special effects of movies to children?

My son has just finished watching the first “Harry Potter” movie (now that he’s old enough, its PG rating is OK for him). He’s fascinated with the special effects and keeps asking excitedly “How did they do that? That’s awesome!” I keep answering “with a computer, they draw the image with a program and then impose it on the film…” but that is obviously not detailed enough and I’m not explaining it correctly.

I think he needs to see some shows about behind the scenes work, and how CG graphics are done… green screens, as well as props and puppets. I’ve seen some “how it’s made” shows with behind the scenes footage, but they were for R-rated or violent movies, which I cannot show him.

Anyone have suggestions?

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Posted: 12 January 2010 07:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I have no idea, Jules.  I still remember when I was five or six years old being taken to one of my first movies, the 1936 version of Alice In Wonderland, and being appalled when Alice stuck her spoon or knife into a bowl of pudding and it suddenly had a face, howled, and asked how she’d like it if someone stuck that utensil into her face.  Scared the bejabers out of me.  I don’t recall whatever my mother said, but I don’t think it had much of a calming effect. smile

And that effect was extremely primitive compared to the computer generated graphics of today.

Occam

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Posted: 12 January 2010 07:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I encourage him to watch shows like “Myth Busters” with me (when appropriate, content varies for his age level) as Adam and Jamie were involved in the stunt and special effect industry for quite some time, and they show a lot of tricks on the show, making props and using neat effects. I also love how it teaches kids (and adults) to think about the plausibility of myths.

I also recall the Lord of the Rings DVD boxed set having an excellent segment on the effects behind the scenes, however they were not appropriate for children - some were too scary.

He’d been wanting to watch these Harry Potter movies for a long time, but I was concerned they were too scary for him, despite the PG rating. Then when he convinced me he was old enough, his father made a deal with him - he had to read the book before he could watch the movie. Great idea - to encourage his reading advancement to larger chapter books. Well he just devoured the Harry Potter book, and was so excited for his reward to see the movie. It did spook him a little, he jumped off the couch a couple of times, but he made it through and loved the effects.

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Posted: 12 January 2010 08:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Harry Potter scared your kid? He needs to get out more. When I was seven years old my favorite movies were King King vs. Godzilla, Creature From the Black Lagoon and anything about Dracula vampire

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Posted: 12 January 2010 09:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I remember watching a lot a of scary movies as a small kid. But every kid is different, and my guy is very sensitive. He has “issues” as they say.  smile  Scary movies give him nightmares for days. In this movie, it was the bad guys head morphed onto the back of someone else’s head like a fetal twin that made him jump off the couch. It was spooky when the guy unwrapped his head.

In that case explaining the special effect was easy, “it was a rubber mask honey.”  cheese

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Posted: 12 January 2010 09:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I never said my childhood was a good role model. tongue wink

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Posted: 13 January 2010 01:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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This came up using Google video searching on FX and CGI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPglVnOIZ2Y

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yy3mewIyZS0

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x963wt_middleearth-magic-cgivfx-reel_shortfilms

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toE21Asev10&feature=related

I don’t know how much stuff is out there that explains more.

LOTS probably.

psik

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Posted: 13 January 2010 02:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Thanks! I will check them out after work (can’t view video from my office computer it’s blocked on our network).

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Posted: 13 January 2010 04:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Jules - 12 January 2010 05:58 PM

Does anyone have suggestions for a show or movie that explain special effects of movies to children?

My son has just finished watching the first “Harry Potter” movie (now that he’s old enough, its PG rating is OK for him). He’s fascinated with the special effects and keeps asking excitedly “How did they do that? That’s awesome!” I keep answering “with a computer, they draw the image with a program and then impose it on the film…” but that is obviously not detailed enough and I’m not explaining it correctly.

I think he needs to see some shows about behind the scenes work, and how CG graphics are done… green screens, as well as props and puppets. I’ve seen some “how it’s made” shows with behind the scenes footage, but they were for R-rated or violent movies, which I cannot show him.

Anyone have suggestions?

As for gory special effects there is a good explanation of how it was used in live theatre in the 1800’s and early 1900’s in a book called The Grand Guignol: The French Theatre of Horror by Richard Hand and Michael Wilson.  Seeing as it’s for a young child - prolly not a good choice.

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