WHY I CHOSE THIS TOPICBOOM ! You're sitting in the movie theater and all of a sudden a car blows up. Or you're quietly munching your popcorn while your favorite bad guy gets shot and starts to bleed. Did you ever wonder how these effects are created? I certainly have. Sometimes I got so involved in figuring out how a special effect was made, that I lost interest in the movie. That is why I chose special effects for my I-Search topic.
When I started to search I knew little about this topic. I knew computers were used in the movie industry and sometimes mechanical models were used to create monsters, but that wasn't much. I wanted to learn more technical terms and how computers and different types of cameras work. I also wanted to find out about special effects that are created through the use of gun powder and explosions. When I had considered what I wanted to find out I came up with different research questions and finally decided on: What technology is used to create special effects in television and movies?
HOW I LEARNED
When I first started to search I wasn't sure where to start. I decided to use the catalog system on the school library to find sources for magazines which had articles on special effects. I had never used this system before, but I soon found out it was easy to use. I got a list of sources in the time period I had and printed them on the computer. Walking back to my seat to look at my list I got distracted by a book I saw on the shelf. It happened to have excellent information on everything I needed and I would later find out that it was my best source of information.
I also used my computer list and found two articles in magazines which did not have much information, but they did tell me about the movie industry's plans for using special effects in the future.
Next, I went to the university library with my brother and learned how to use the index to magazines. I found one article that suited my topic, and set out to find the magazine. I found it after some trouble and read the article which had minimal information, but I did get a good quote. I had difficulty finding magazines and I didn't get as much information as I would have liked, but I think I answered my question sufficiently. It was very frustrating going through all the collections of magazines and never finding that one issue of Rolling Stone that could have really helped my project.
Encyclopedias were not much help. My brother showed me how to use a microfiche reader and I almost went blind looking at articles on microfiche. Even so, all the researching proved to be a rewarding experience when I saw I had a pile of information.
WHAT I LEARNED
As I started to research I realized that special effects are used when a film has dangerous or impossible scenes. Early special effects used wind machines, matte paintings for scenery, and miniature models. Some of these are still used today but mostly new technology is used to create special effects. One of the first cameras used in creating special effects was the stop motion camera. It allowed directors to stop the camera and make changes in the scene and then continue as if nothing had happened in between, but the finished product came out looking jerky and unnatural.Sound and color gave movies more excitement and more ideas for special effects.
In the early 1900s the optical printer was developed by Linwood Dunn and Cecil Love of the Acme Tool Manufacturing Company. It enabled directors to combine separate pieces of film. Special effects have come a long way since then, though. One of my favorite quotes that I found was: "Who cares if it's real, as long as it looks cool," said by Don Bies, who worked for George Lucas. One…