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How do we use Special FX in video production?

Special FX have the unique propensity to alter the tone, feel and message of a video production completely. Creators can convey the impossible with CGI – but what exactly are special FX? And how have we used digital images to create innovative video content?

In this blog post take a behind the scenes look at two of our most exciting Special FX video productions.

What are Special FX? 

Special FX is a broad term that can refer to sound effects, makeup effects or visual effects used in films, TV and video campaigns – these can be either optical (visual effects added post-production) or mechanical (physical effects that achieved during filming). A whole manner of objects and actions can be generated using special FX including props, sets, animatronics and full blown characters.

CGI is widely considered the most popular types of visual special FX. CGI stands for ‘computer generated images’ that can be added in post-production to create a visual representation of an object, place or character than doesn’t exist in the live video footage, remove something in a scene or enhance video production. We are always experimenting with how we can get the most out of special FX Spinning Clock, and final outcome are videos consistently stand out from the crowd.

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Visual FX Case Study: EEF

We were approached by the Manufacturer’s Organisation, EEF to create a high impact video for the upcoming EEF National Manufacturing Conference 2017 showcasing British manufacturing. Work commenced by responding to the client’s brief with rough storyboards, style-sheets and examples of similar past projects. Once they were happy with our approach, creative solution and budget we then began work on the script which was created from various sources they supplied to us. Once the script was approved the next step was to design styles sheets and imagery that reflected each key stage in the video. Once the look and feel of the video was approved and the transitions between scenes were agreed we got down to filming at Dance4’s  blacked-out studio.

Once the raw 4k video footage was edited special effects were created and precisely overlaid. To achieve the final visuals our design team used a  combination of 3 different software packages, plus 2 different bespoke plugins to get the 3 dimensional effects in post-production.

Adobe Premier was used to edit the final video and this was then re-edited for 7 different social media videos. The complete video will be shown to all the key leaders of British Manufacturing (including CEO’s from rolls Royce, Bombardier, Jaguar etc) at the EEF Annual Conference next week.



Visual FX Case Study: ThermoFisher Scientific 

We were tasked to make a set of promotional videos for ThermoFisher Scientific using special FX to mimic a laboratory equipped with augmented operating systems. Our work began with a brief to design and film a video trilogy portraying a futuristic laboratory where a technician uncovers a dramatic development in immunoassays.

The films were carefully conceptualized and story-boarded before filming began. All of the Graphic User Interfaces, these are elements that the actor interacts with, were designed in house and tailored to our client’s specifications. These assets were then printed out to used as a guide on set to map hand movements to the animation. During the filming stage we used a Red camera to film high resolution shots in 2K to ensure the quality was excellent throughout.


Thermo Fisher Scientific Video

In post-production we used various software techniques in After Effects and Cinema 4D to create a combination of specially designed props, 3D animation and meticulously monitored on-set lighting.  Finally 3D tracking and rotoscoping were used to composite shots creating the illusion that the visual effects occupied real 3D space in the video.

To see part 2 our video series for ThermoFisher Scientific watch below:

To view more of our video production work check out our services page or get in touch with us here!





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