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Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsSo it kind of opens you up, on a micro-budget, to moments of inspiration. There are really simple things, like when, in the film, there's a moment when the main character is asleep on the sofa. And we just-- as we're looking at the show, it was like, oh, it'd be really nice just to create this sense of his paranoia, that everyone else in the world is talking about him, to see some people walk past the window. And it's like, we've really got to move on. We don't have time for that. Well, I went, hang on. So we just got Kim, the second AD (assistant director) and you to walk past the window-- At different times.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 seconds--at different times, when the actor wasn't in the room. It's like, don't move the camera, just get that as a plate. And you have that, and then when you put that together in post, suddenly it becomes this thing where, as the viewer, you're watching him, and you just have this so slight movement behind him, and that's enough. And it just sparks all this stuff up in your head as the viewer.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 secondIt's all those little tiny details that, when you're working on a micro-budget, are really easy to lose, because you've got to focus. You've got to get the day. You've got to focus on the essentials. Yeah. But then the film ends up being just the essentials. And actually, what makes a film so rich and enjoyable is when you have all the little details working constantly to keep you on track and to tell the story. So much of it is fakery. It's that thing of-- it's just another level of VFX.

Skip to 1 minute and 27 secondsIt's just another level of fakery, to add into the fact that you're dressing someone up and you're shining lights in their faces, and, like bad costume, comes down to you've not properly observed what someone like that person in reality actually wears. That can-- sometimes people just miss it, and sometimes when you see, somebody's like, why? Why am I uncomfortable with this scene? What it is, is like, she would never have worn that. She would never have worn that in that occasion. And VFX is exactly the same skill. VFX-- most of the time you're going, how do I do something?

Skip to 2 minutes and 7 secondsIt's not about the magic of, well, we've done it in the computer, and we've created this algorithm to be able to create the waves. Most of the time you just film some water. We love using VFX. But VFX aren't the answer to everything. And if you'll be able to frame, and use sound design especially, to be able to give the suggestion, then a lot of the time people's minds are going to be imagining the thing that you're suggesting.

Blaine Brothers: The philosophy of everyday VFX

After all that talk about Roto, it’s time to get back to the world of ideas, and think about how VFX can help.

VFX gives the Blaine Brothers more choices to express ideas, and capture moments of inspiration. Something as simple as being able to put shadows at a window can create or enhance a mood.

According to Ben, “It’s those little tiny details that when you’re working on a micro budget are really easy to lose”. VFX gives them a chance to add inspiration in later.

To the Blaine Brothers VFX is just another layer of fakery – like lighting, editing and foley sound. Just like everyone uses lighting or editing to assist the story, so the Blaine Brothers use VFX.

Can you think of simple VFX based around masking that you could add to a film you might be planning? Want to share with us below in the comments?

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This video is from the free online course:

Visual Effects for Guerrilla Filmmakers

Norwich University of the Arts (NUA)

Course highlights Get a taste of this course before you join:

  • Storyboards are only one way to communicate. Lets look at some VFX definitions.
    Visual effects or special effects?

    Like any creative subject it helps to share definitions about what things mean -this can be confusing for newcomers; it'll help us communicate better.

  • Tracking and layers: a gentle start
    Tracking and layers: a gentle start

    HitFilm guru Simon Jones shows us how to build a dramatic shot in HitFilm using layers of stock footage we provide on the course. Enjoy your 'comping'

  • The Blaine Brothers guide to using VFX
    The Blaine Brothers guide to using VFX

    The Blaine Brothers have a positive can-do attitude to VFX, and see it as a tool that should be used in the service of a story, not as decoration.

  • Still from Georges Méliès' "India Rubber Head" (1901)
    A short history of keying

    Keying isnt just a digital invention. From the early days of cinema in the 19th century film makers had used 'mattes' to amaze their audiences.

  • Insider tips on shooting green screen
    Insider tips on shooting green screen

    Justin Hunt, our long suffering director of photography for our HitFilm footage has years of experience of green screen to share with you here.

  • Cab Calloway (1932) Minnie the Moocher
    What is Rotoscoping?

    Rotoscoping is probably the most time-consuming of VFX techniques. It's often a last resort when you can't pull a key. Let's find out more about it.