How to Destroy a City, and Other Special Effects: Inspiration from the SFX greats to make movies on your phone

Hachette UK

This book delves into some of the greatest innovations in practical and digital effects seen on film, showcasing how particular shots, characters and creatures were made and revealing to the reader the techniques involved.

Special effects are regularly used to imagine alien worlds, place actors into exotic locations, create incredible action sequences and bring to life never-before-seen creatures and characters.

With the growth of personal computers, digital cameras and smart phones and tablets, many of the methods used by the world's best effects artists can also now be tried at home.

How To Destroy a City, and Other Special Effects offers a unique perspective on the most captivating effects shots in cinema history by outlining the key research and development, on-set solutions and software and hardware breakthroughs in photochemical processing, miniatures, animatronics, make-up, animation, stunts and computer graphics - and then introducing to the reader how they too can employ these techniques themselves.

The book is designed for aspiring filmmakers and special effects artists, as well as anyone looking to gain a comprehensive insight into the storytelling, art and technology behind the biggest and beloved films of recent times.

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About the author

IAN FAILES is a former lawyer and now a freelance journalist specialising in visual effects and animation. He writes for several industry publications, and is the author of Masters of FX, which profiles 16 of the world's leading special and visual effects supervisors. He lives in Sydney, Australia and has the world's largest collection of memorabilia from the 1994 film Speed.
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Additional Information

Hachette UK
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Published on
Dec 14, 2017
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History / Modern / 20th Century
Performing Arts / Film / Direction & Production
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Ian Failes
It would be rare these days to find a film that did not in some way depend on the magic of visual effects, from the raging computer-generated dinosaurs in Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park, to the fantastical worlds of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, and the photoreal tiger and ocean in Ang Lee's Life of Pi. Through interviews with 16 of the leading effects pioneers from around the world (see list below), author Ian Failes explores the making of some of the most memorable film sequences ever produced, showcasing the shift from practical to digital magic with original behind-the-scenes imagery, shot breakdowns, and detailed explanations of some of the secrets behind the making of cinema's most extraordinary creations.

Visual effects artists and films discussed include:

Dennis Muren (Star Wars: Episodes IV–VI; Terminator 2: Judgment Day; Jurassic Park; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; War of the Worlds)

Bill Westenhofer (Babe: Pig in the City; Cats & Dogs; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; The Golden Compass; Life of Pi)

Joe Letteri (The Lord of the Rings trilogy; King Kong; Avatar; Planet of the Apes; The Hobbit trilogy)

Rob Legato (Apollo 13; Titanic; The Aviator; Hugo)

Paul Franklin (Pitch Black; Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy; Inception; Interstellar)

Richard Edlund (Star Wars: Episodes IV–VI; Raiders of the Lost Ark; Ghostbusters; Multiplicity);

Edson Williams (X-Men: The Last Stand; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; The Social Network; Captain America films)

Karen Goulekas (Godzilla; The Day After Tomorrow; 10,000 BC; Green Lantern);

Chris Corbould (Golden Eye; Die Another Day; Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy; Inception);

Ian Hunter (The X-Files; The Dark Knight; The Dark Knight Rises; Inception; Interstellar)

John Rosengrant (Terminator films; Jurassic Park; Iron Man films; Real Steel)

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