What FX Means in Movie Lingo? Movie lingo sounds foreign to most people outside the film world. However, it may be necessary to learn some of this lingo if you plan to make your way into this industry. One important term that every professional in the post-production world should be familiar with is “FX”.
Let’s examine what FX means in movie lingo and why it is important.
What is FX in Movie Lingo?
In the world of film post-production, the term “FX” refers to effects, or more specifically: visual effects. Most people have some idea of what visual effects are by watching blockbuster films. However, visual effects do far more than just make giant robots punching thirty-story monsters look cool.
VFX plays a key role in helping grounded films appear more captivating and engaging. The right combination of visual effects draws in audiences and accentuates the tone of a scene.
There are numerous types of visual effects used in modern film post-production. A feature-length film may use any combination of the following types:
Compositing is a VFX technique in which artists combine various visual elements from different places to make them appear cohesive and seamless. This technique usually involves filming with a green screen before compositions edit the footage with other elements during post-production.
Many old films used a basic form of compositing in which painted backgrounds were combined with live-action footage of actors and set pieces. Modern compositing may use CGI elements along with practical set pieces and props.
Computer-generated imagery or “CGI” refers to digitally created effects. They are essentially 2D or 3D computer graphics. However, most people are referring to 3D computer graphics when they use the term CGI.
3D CGI modeling involves creating 3D representations of objects, living things, and surfaces. You may notice lots of CGI in blockbuster action movies or fantasy films. However, they can be used more subtly as well. For example, one scene from the 2005 film Brokeback Mountain made a herd of 700 sheep look like 2500 using CGI.
- Motion Capture
Motion capture is a relatively recent development in the film post-production world. This technique digitally records the movement of sensors on an actor’s body. The captured motions are then applied to a CGI 3D model.
Motion capture allows films to create incredibly precise facial movements and expressions in 3D. This is something that would be far more time-consuming if created manually. Motion capture was used extensively in Peter Jackson’s 2005 adaptation of the film King Kong.
Actor Andy Serkis was fitted with dozens of sensors that captured his facial expressions. This data was then applied to the Kong 3D model to give the giant ape his human-like expressions.
Many aspiring digital artists dream of working in VFX. Such artists typically require a degree in the fields of animation, fine arts, or computer graphics. They may also need to create a great showreel that illustrates their skills and ability effectively.
You should note that breaking into the VFX industry isn’t easy. Aspiring VFX artists may spend many months contacting different studios, seeking opportunities to shadow existing VFX artists. They may also need numerous internships under their belt before they are offered a job at a studio.
VFX artists enhance films and give them their “magical” qualities. Such individuals help bring a director’s vision to life and wow audiences. As mentioned above, becoming a VFX artist can be challenging for most people. However, it can certainly be a rewarding experience if you manage to overcome the barriers to entry.