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Behind The Scenes: You’ve Never Seen Tech Like This!

You know what professions have always had my utmost respect? Stunts and special effects, the unsung heroes of action entertainment.

Most modern special effects are achieved through a combo of CGI and a little bit of realism. For example, a scene in which a fire is raging will usually employ a controlled fire, with a bit of CGI on top of it to make it seem bigger and wilder than it actually is. You can’t use just CGI because it looks really fake, but you also can’t use just fire because, well, it’s fire. Fire bad. Somewhat paradoxically, though, a full-on explosion is easier to fake than a regular fire.

If you’ve ever watched Power Rangers when you were a kid, you might remember the sparks that erupted from their suits whenever the monster attacked them. These sparks are generated from teeny tiny explosion packs wired onto the suits right before the scene. These are tried-and-true practical effects, utilized since the 70s in cheesy monster movies. The large explosion that appears when the monster is defeated is also a controlled detonation, kind of like the fire, but with no CGI touch-ups necessary. The camera just cuts quickly from a shot of the monster to a shot of the explosion, or if they can’t do that, the explosive device is just hidden under a rock or something. A wise man once said “what the camera captures is reality.” It might look fake up close, but with some clever direction and tech usage, even a cheesy rubber monster can be an impressive spectacle.