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Monthly Archives: May 2009

This video is jam packed with all sorts of special effects.  If you’ve ever seen the movie Planet Terror, then you will truly enjoy this.  They cover all kinds of things.  Ranging from the little scratches and old film look to the machine gun leg and some pretty brutal looking gore.  Anyway, enjoy!

10 Minute Film School- Planet Terror


We’ve all wanted to clone ourselves at one point or another.  Well, thanks to our crazy technology, now you can!  Well, at least on the movie screen.  This is the cloning effect, as seen in my film ‘The Many Faces of Todd.’  This is a pretty cool effect, and it’s not too difficult.  What will you need for this effect?

  • Camera
  • Tripod or flat, stable surface
  • Editing software that allows for multiple layers and can crop footage
  • Actor

The key to this effect is keeping a stable, constant shot.  You’ll want to make sure you plan for this in advance (as you should with all of your shots).  What you will need to do, is first make sure your camera is secured on the tripod (or a stable surface).  Now that your camera is stablized, it’s time to look at your scene.  You may want to turn your camera on so you can see where everything is on screen.  You’ll want to either draw an imaginary line down the middle of the set, or you can use some masking (as long as it’s out of your shot).  This will be the line your actor isn’t allowed to cross.  Once everything is in place, you are ready to start filming.

Have your actor stand on one side of the screen and do whatever you have planned.  Then, without touching the camera at all, just have your actor move to the other side of screen to finish doing what you have planned.  Note:  it’s very important to not touch the camera once you have started filming.  If you stop the camera, you will most likely bump it in the slightest bit, throwing off your entire shot.

After you have your footage, it’s time to bring it in to your editing software.  You’ll want to cut your footage so that you will end up with two clips; one for both your actor and their “clone”.  Now that you have two clips, it’s time to layer your clips.  Just drag one on top of the other.  This is where the cropping comes in.  You will want to crop the clip that is on top of the other one, so that it is only about half of what you had before.  In other words, crop it to your imaginary line that you had earlier when you shot your footage.  Now you should see the other actor on the other side of their self!  This is what you should start to see:

Screenshot from The Many Faces of Todd

Screenshot from The Many Faces of Todd

There you have it.  Cloning in a much less scientific way.  Cheaper, too!

Have fun!

For those lucky few that have Adobe After Effects, I highly recommend Video Copilot and Creative Cow.  These places are great for special effects tutorials.  Video Copilot is strictly After Effects.  Creative Cow, however, also has Photoshop, Flash, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and Premier Pro tutorials just to name a few.

Hope these websites help you out!


Ok, ok.  We all love pancakes.  Short films are good, too.  What happens when you combine the two?  This:

Need some explosions?  How about some smoke?  Or what if you just want a simple rain effect?  Well, Detonation Films has it.

They have tons of things to choose from.  Some you have to pay for, but quite a selection of free things as well.  This website is great for special FX.  However, to use any of it, you’ll need a program that can “key” things out.  Just like I had talked about in my Green Screening tutorial.

So, there you have it.  All of your ‘hard to get’ special FX in one website.