In a previous article we’ve published, you’ve seen a little of the green screen and CGI action that made some iconic scenes possible. Clearly, you haven’t had enough, and we get it. These things are pretty cool. So here is another collection of the inner workings of creating fantasies.
Imagine trying to recreate the Roman Colosseum in all of its glory for the modern screen. Well, stop imagining and watch “Gladiator,” with Russell Crowe! Ridley Scott’s masterpiece is worth watching again and again – and he used a bit of green screen to make the movie feel more real.
To get the stadium effect (the cheering and booing and raucous jeering from the crowd), CGI was used in the stands with some real people in between to get the feel of a full stadium. Pretty cool! To be honest, we find it amazing that any special effects were used in this movie. It all looks so real.
The Perfect Storm
Remember that insanely massive wave in the film “The Perfect Storm”? You know, the mother of all waves? Yeah, that kind of wave? Well, a lot of the scenes with the rather small-looking trawler boat, were created with the magic of visual effects and CGI. Pretty remarkable when you consider the final results.
It was probably best to do it this way as well for the safety of all the crew and actors, you wouldn’t want to be caught out in the middle of a horrendous storm in the middle of the ocean, right? Health and safety are paramount when making any movie, and this one certainly applies.
First, we absolutely adore the feeling that the score of this film brings out. We also love the visuals of the film – and we love anything to do with outer space! The film, “Interstellar” gives us the chills, and takes us to well, a galaxy, far, far away (just kidding). Christopher Nolan did an incredible job with this one.
In order to get some of the visual effects down, particularly when McConaughey and his team are sent to different planets, there was a bit of green screen used to generate those scenes. Look, we thought it looked pretty real to us, so well done Hollywood!
We do love a bit of Brendan Fraser! Particularly in the film, “The Mummy.” At the time, the film was lauded for its fantastic visual and special effects, which to this day, are still bone-chilling. Oh yeah, those CGI sequences have certainly held up!
It was almost like the beginning for CGI and really incorporating effects into films back then. By the end of the experimentation and perhaps a few duds, you end up with a masterpiece like “Avatar.” You need to start somewhere! We still stand by our opinion though, that “The Mummy” is still a great flick.
Perhaps one of the most celebrated films of all time for its innovation and unique style, “Avatar” is truly one epic film. You would want it to be when it had been worked on for almost fifteen years by James Cameron. The film utilizes a staggering 60% CGI, with most of the animation filmed using new techniques with real actors. Amazing!
The quality and the clarity as well as the life-like appearance and immersive environment of the world in which the film is set are really stunning! And its long-awaited sequel, "Avatar: The Shape of Water," also relied heavily on CGI, and the results were just as impressive, if not more!
It may be hard to believe for some people that yes, the head of Hydra, played by none other than Hugo Weaving, is helped along by some CGI. But what do you expect? That nose isn't going to disappear all by itself.
Sure, elements were practical, but a lot of the effects on his face were indeed computer-generated. Not to mention battle scenes and fight scenes – but hey, it’s Marvel, and it’s totally to be expected. We love “Captain America” and it’s a fantastic origin story. It's amazing to think how much Steve Rogers went through over the course of those movies.
Transformers: Age of Extinction
Trust Hollywood director Michael Bay to bring “Transformers” to life for us all! But it wasn’t without a hefty amount of computer-generated imagery! The production of the film was kept relatively hush-hush when it came to the design of the figures themselves. But finalized versions of the CGI designs were found on the Internet.
We also love a good old-fashioned CGI fight, something which the popular director is known for along with his action sequences. And there have been a ton of sequels that have come since, and all of them have relied heavily on green screen and CGI. What do you expect? Do you really think they're going to make practical transformers?
Okay, if you’ve seen “Sin City” we want you to just close your eyes and humor us — think about how it would look without CGI. Yeah, exactly — you can’t imagine it, right? The neo-noir film encompassing crime, love, corruption, and revenge interconnects its stories.
While the story itself is reasonably cool, the effects are what we stay for — in the opening scene, the visuals are created so that the characters appear as though in a graphic novel, which couldn’t have been done without CGI! In this film, it was definitely an asset — and technology is helping filmmakers in bringing to life a more abstract concept.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Fans eagerly awaited the new “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” to see how J.J. Abrams would pay homage to the original films. And sure, there were plenty of callbacks and new characters too. However, the director opted to use a lot of green screen and CGI to achieve the final result, which was pretty darn cool!
Entire sequences were filmed using CGI, particularly the Jakku scenes, as well as the character Maz, who was portrayed by Lupita N’yongo. And the other two movies in the trilogy, "The Last Jedi" and "The Rise of Skywalker," also had their fair share of CGI, albeit with varying levels of success.
This dark masterpiece was brought to our screens by Guillermo del Toro. Set in Spain (and totally in Spanish!), the magical world portrayed in the film, which is created in Ofelia’s head, is brought to life thanks to lots of green screen time! But it's the mixing between the digital and practical effects that really makes this story special.
Costuming and makeup were of course used well to help along with the real feel of the film, but a lot of the magical creatures were CGI! If you get a chance, make sure to check out this movie is will most certainly pull at your heartstrings.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
If you want a movie that’s going to leave your mind reeling, this one is definitely a worthy addition! The film, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, follows the story of a man who begins life elderly and grows younger with each passing year. Wild, right?
Wilder still, for the first third of the film, you’re not actually seeing Brad, but rather, a computer-generated image of his head, which the studio was charged with aging digitally! A quote from Steve Preeg at Digital Domain who helped supervise noted “he’s not in any of the shots,” for 52 minutes of the film!
So if we’re being honest, this film is our favorite of the “Thor” films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s wackier, it’s wilder and there are a lot of laughs which really get us going! Thor goes to different planets, and he has some funny moments with the Incredible Hulk, there is Valkyrie, and there is Loki. What more do you want?
However, like any film in the MCU, there was a decent amount of green screen time. Particularly when Thor winds up on a new planet and is meeting characters like Korg. Taika Waititi really hit it out of the park with this one. It's just a shame that his follow-up, "Thor: Love and Thunder," wasn't anywhere near as good.
The Day After Tomorrow
Nothing like a disaster film to get you bracing yourself for the apocalypse. Hollywood seems to love to remind us of our mortality and impending doom. Side note: we’re kind of over the disaster films, and we want a bit more magic and daydreaming for our movies, please! With that said, films like "Deep Impact" and "Cloverfield" are pretty good.
Anyway, “The Day After Tomorrow” really took the cake. Some of the effects felt really real and were masterfully executed. We would definitely say that it's worth a watch – can you spot what’s CGI and what isn’t? One thing is for sure. The Hollywood sign didn't actually get blown away by the tornado.
Aladdin (Disney Live Action)
Before we crush your picture of Jasmine and Aladdin flying high on a magic carpet, we just want to say that your childhood was valid and it’s okay to believe in magic. However, the scenes of the pair singing “A Whole New World” flying on top of the magical Arabian carpet?
Those were in fact filmed on a green screen – you can check out YouTube for the videos! But this poses a much bigger question: Do we even need all of these live-action remakes? The classic animated movies are incredibly important pop culture items that don't need these new, updated versions. OK, rant over.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
So it’s no surprise that they needed a little help on the set of the film “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” if not purely for the fact that they couldn’t exactly train live animals to behave the way they wanted to. The SFX team ensured the animals were digital performers.
But did you know that even The Rock and fellow actor, Karen Gillan, had CGI stunt doubles? Okay, you fooled us a little on those ones, Hollywood! And do we have to point out the big elephant in the room? That's right folks, the original "Jumanji" is far superior to these random sequels that (sadly) don't even have Robin Williams in them.
Trust the DC universe to be relying on CGI to bring its characters to life! Well, considering Aquaman isn’t a real-life figure (or is he?), it’s no wonder they needed a little green screen help! You can't just drop Jason Momoa into the real Atlantic Ocean and start shooting. That is a health and safety lawsuit waiting to happen!
Particularly for the underwater fight scenes, CGI was used to make the effects look very real. Not to mention the armor changes and facial features being enhanced with effects. We do love a bit of CGI to help our mind’s eye along a bit.
One of our ultimate favorite films of all time, particularly for its innovative concept and crazy illusion work, it’s none other than Leonardo DiCaprio's essential film, “Inception.” The film, which explores the depths of our subconscious, is a bit of a mind-bender (both literally and figuratively).
Sure, there was a little bit of green screen action, but we actually found out that the team tried to use as many practical shots as they could. You know, the blizzard in the film, that was real! The onboarding of the architect scene with Elliot Page, however, was CGI. Wow, we need to rewatch this one.
The Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King
Alright, we’re not going to just write about "The Lord of the Rings," but boy, there are a ton of special effects used throughout the trilogy, and one of the major characters in the films is wholly shot using green screen technology. LOTR fans will know that we’re talking about Gollum, the once hobbit that turned into a…scaly-looking, permanently anxious creature.
Andy Serkis donned the green/blue suit many times to bring his character to life. And of course, Serkis is considered the master of motion capture, having played multiple characters this way, including Caesar from "The Planet of the Apes" trilogy, and Snoke from the "Star Wars" sequels.
Okay, before you can’t focus on us anymore due to your drooling over the hunky Henry Cavill, we'd just like to point out that the green screen made his ethereal beauty possible! Cavill has been in plenty of movies and TV shows alike that have been full of CGI and green screen. And this Netflix show is one of the latest examples of that.
Well, maybe the beauty wasn't always on full display, but Cavill’s character certainly allows his ‘other side’ to take over, and you see his eyes turn jet black. For that type of spine-tingling effect, it’s none other than a bit of CGI!
The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers
It is undeniable that Peter Jackson is an absolute master of bringing fantasy to the big screen. Particularly his epic trilogy, “The Lord of the Rings,” which was predominately filmed in New Zealand. With sweeping vistas and amazing shots of the landscape, you would think that is all you need.
But oh no, Jackson went even further and brought the creepy elements to life with the green screen. One of our favorite moments was in the film “The Two Towers” where King Theoden, who was under Saruman’s spell, is magically restored to his regular youthful appearance. The end result was pretty crazy!
The Maze Runner
This is one of the most impressive blue screen illusions on our list. What looks like a deserted parking lot in the middle of nowhere, turns into a futuristic empire, in the science-fiction, dystopian film, "The Maze Runner." Did you spot the huge, dead beast in the second photo?! Yes, calm down, it's also a blue-screen effect.
An American trilogy based on the novels by James Dashner, "The Maze Runner" follows the story of Thomas, a boy that is put in an all-boys community after having his memory erased. Unfortunately, Thomas soon discovers that they are all trapped in an actual real-life maze, and the only way out is to work together. And it seems like moviegoers loved the effects too.
A Wrinkle in Time
This spacey spectacular film packs a powerful punch. Not only does it have an A-list cast, including Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling but its visual effects are ...a vision! Ava DuVernay stayed as true to the novel as possible when bringing this wonderful world to life.
Since the story follows two siblings trying to find their father in intergalactic space, it's no wonder that a ton of green/blue screen was needed to bring the quest to life. The film is certainly a feast for the eyes! However, the movie didn't do so well, either critically or commercially. It has its fans. It's just not universally beloved.
We never thought we would be talking about the Queen of England and a green screen in the same breath. Well, there is certainly a first time for everything. In this scene, we can see Elizabeth (before she was crowned as queen) marrying Prince Phillip early on in the series.
The wedding actually took place at the famous Westminster Abbey. It's safe to assume that such an important church would not be a filmable location. That's why another church and some green screen were used to make it look that the wedding on the show did indeed take place at Westminster Abbey.
It's no easy feat to become Netflix's most-watched show of all time. Well "Squid Game" did just that. The show made use of a lot of blue screen and CGI to portray the gory gameshow. Upon first watch though, the world the contestants are fighting to survive in feels so real that it's amazing to see the photos of the making of the show.
This photo shows the bizarre game that the contestants have to play where they have to cross a bridge made of glass tiles. We won't lie, the fact that most of the show was shot in front of a blue screen settles our stomachs that somewhere, somehow the "Squid Game" does not exist in real life. Eek!
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
For "Harry Potter" fanatics, the "Fantastic Beasts" franchise was a much-needed dose of the wizarding world after the days of Harry, Ron, and Hermione came to an end. Why Newt Scamander didn't exactly roll off the tongue the same way, this charming story had enough fans to churn out three movies.
With a creature cast list that includes a "Fwooper," "Billywig," "Niffler," and "Erumpant," it's no wonder why blue screen was essential for the filmmakers. And when you through high-profile actors into the mix like Colin Farrell, Johnny Depp, and Jude Law, it's no wonder "Fantastic Beasts" cost as much as it did to make.
Since the first episode came out in 2005, we all became personally involved with the characters of Seattle Grace Hospital. But since most of the series was filmed at the hospital and Meredith Grey's house, you would think there weren't many opportunities, or the need really, to use a green screen. Well, you thought wrong.
The series often makes use of a green screen to drop the audience right into the action of the bustling Seattle Grace Hospital. And there are those scenes where McDreamy is showing Meredith the house they're going to live in on that hill...Green screen or not, we will always have a place in our hearts for Grey's Anatomy.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
The story of King Arthur has been done countless times and, of course, there had to be a modern green screen version of it. Besides, with the thrill-loving director, Guy Ritchie at the helm, what else would you expect? It is always incredible to see such majestic stories brought to life by modern-day technology. Take this scene, for example.
With the help of a green screen, the audience will be transported with King Arthur (played by Charlie Hunnam) and Sir Bedivere (played by Djimon Hounsou) on a massive wooden ship. Though the rest needed to go into the actor's imagination. How difficult is it to imagine a sea?
Based on the Marvel comic books, Deadpool made its film debut in 2016. Portrayed by the hilarious Ryan Reynolds, Wade Wilson is a former Special Forces agent that now works as a mercenary, and was transformed into Deadpool by an evil scientist. After an experiment goes wrong, Deadpool is left with supernatural healing powers and a very twisted sense of humor.
Needless to say, a green screen was needed to give this hero his supernatural powers. Thankfully though, Reynolds could wear a real Deadpool suit, unlike other actors like Robert Downey Jr., who had to wait to see what he looked like in the Iron Man suit after post-production.
Ridley Scott is well-known for making epic movies that leave us in awe long after we've left the movie theater. And "The Martian" did just that. Featuring Matt Damon as the lead, the film follows the story of an astronaut that has been left on Mars by mistake and is now forced to rely on his skills and wit to survive on the red planet.
Since the majority of the film takes place on Mars, which would be a bit of a problematic location to use in real life, most of the scenes are done with a green screen effect. And that doesn't make it any less impressive since it gives viewers the chance to feel like they're catching a glimpse of what life on Mars would be like even if only for the two hours and thirty minutes the film lasts.
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The final film featuring the late, great Heath Ledger is a fantastical flick that required a lot of blue screen to bring it to life. "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" didn't exactly set the world of movies alight. Not even the loss of such a great actor could make the movie a success.
But the movie was certainly a good-looking one. It's all in the title people. The entire film takes viewers on a ride through an imaginary world that's at times more wonky and weird than wonderful and whimsical. There is no denying though that "The Dark Knight" was the more impressive Heath Ledger movie out of the two.
Oz, the Great and Powerful
Critically-acclaimed director Sam Raimi has worked with the same visual effects master for all three of the "Spider-Man" movies, and he wasn't about to change when it came to filming "Oz, The Great, and Powerful." Visual effects supervisor, Scott Stokdyk said that this was the most challenging film he had ever worked on since every single frame of scenery had to be created from scratch!
With most of the scenes being done on a green screen backdrop, we're sure that James Franco had to pull out the artistic guns to make his expressions look as genuine as possible. There is nothing like that good ole' yellow brick road.
Game of Thrones
Here's a sneak peek behind the scenes of arguably the most heartbreaking scene of the entire series of HBO's "Game of Thrones." Maybe even topping the "Red Wedding" episode? No, we wouldn't go that far. Nobody wanted this Westerosi series to end when or how it did, but you get what you're given in life.
Talk about love being dead. Anyway, as you can see, the actors aren't actually in the demolished Kings Landing. Instead, they're on a set surrounded by a green screen. But still, Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke managed to act the hell out of that scene. Say what you want about that final season - there were some all-time moments, like this one.
Only the beloved (and never-aging) Paul Rudd could win audiences over with this bring this goofy superhero. Truth be told, all of the "Ant-Man" movies are full of incredible special effects. Hey, when you have a super-hero who can change their size, what do you expect?
We can only imagine just how much green/blue screen was used to make this miniature superhero story worth watching! Who knew that a superhero inspired by ants would be so entertaining? While the third installment, "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania," didn't do so well critically or commercially, you still have to admire the CGI in that movie.
Alice in Wonderland
Again, we had to mention another scene from "Alice in Wonderland." Tim Burton's version of Tweedledee and Tweedledum, both played by Matt Lucas, definitely added an extra creepy element to the characters. While it was obvious that CGI and special effects had been involved throughout most of the film, many viewers thought these two characters were completely computer-made.
But alas, it was far more intricate than that. Lucas actually wore a special suit to make him look much taller and bigger overall; and of course, this made it much easier to simply add visual details afterward. Oh, and the dodo bird was an actual person too!
This dystopian tale is set on a train bolting around a snowy sphere carrying all that's left of humanity. Yeah, you read that right! When you have Chris Evans in the foreground, can you really go wrong?
We are really impressed with how the green screen was used to bring the troubled train to our screens. It looks hyper-realistic. However, here's hoping that we'll only see this train in the movies and not in the not-so-distant future! "Snowpiercer" has developed a bit of a cult following over the years. So much so that Netflix ended up making a spinoff series.
La La Land
There's nothing that Hollywood loves more than a film about Hollywood! The Tinseltown musical follows the highs and lows of a couple trying to make it in the entertainment industry. Here's a peek behind the scenes that shows how the climax of the movie was filmed.
It's a dreamy and whimsical montage where the stars of the flick, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, literally dance among the stars. To be clear, we're talking about stars in the sky and not the stars in Hollywood! It's amazing to think that this movie was made by Damien Chazelle, the same guy behind the classic movie "Whiplash."
Avengers: Infinity War
Remember the epic battle scene in "Avengers: Infinity War," when you see the Avengers fighting off a group of aliens? Well, to be fair, they were actually fighting...just not quite in the way we saw on screens. The photo below depicts the famous scene of the Battle of Wakanda, in which at least 70 extras and stunt people participated. So how did they make it look like there was an army of aliens?
They digitally enhanced the scene to make it look like 70 people were actually 500. Oh, and they also added about 10,000 digital aliens in post-production. Reportedly, this is the largest battle Marvel has ever brought to the screen. But there was a battle in "Endgame" that looked a lot bigger...
Alice in Wonderland
There was a lot of contradiction regarding Tim Burton's version of the classic Alice in Wonderland. Some thought that a modern-day, CGI-filled remake would just butcher such a timeless tale, while others couldn't wait to see these trippy characters in 3D. The result? A mix of both.
While it is undeniable that the visual effects of Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" are absolutely mind-blowing, there is a sense of that coming at the expense of the actual movie plot. Still, take the scene pictured above; the trippy flowers and a mind-bending forest in the backdrop, and you've got yourself a CGI Wonderland. Lewis Carol would be proud...or maybe not.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
What a wonderful peek behind the scenes from "The Hobbit," this one features the enchanting Galadriel (played by Cate Blanchett). While this A-list actor is undoubtedly real, what's not is the stunning mountain scenery we see in the background. And yet, she remained utterly convincing throughout the take.
To his credit, Peter Jackson does build a lot of the sets himself, and even with the use of a green screen, this man is undoubtedly one of the greatest artists of our time. And it's also important to mention that each Middle Earth movie he made got more CGI-heavy. So if you compare the "The Fellowship of the Ring" to "The Battle of the Five Armies," they feel like very different movies.
It's the classic filmmaker's conundrum. How do you make a film that's set on a massive spaceship? Well, you use a ton of green screen! Let's be real here - "Passengers" is not going to be considered the best film in anyone's books. Even with Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence as the leads, the film just fails to be a compelling Sci-fi movie.
If you ask us, this film is more creepy than cute. Especially since all the CGI work really made us feel like we were also passengers on the doomed intergalactic vessel. Yeah, we're still waiting for the next great Sci-fi epic - and this isn't it.
Most kids can’t contain themselves from asking too many questions. However, their curiosity never bothers to doubt whether cartoon characters are real, and that’s just part of their charm as children. It is as if Bugs Bunny and his gang of loony characters really live, and their existence is accepted as an inviolable fact.
They must wonder how it feels to have Bugs Bunny sitting in the palm of their hands. How lucky Michael Jordan is, to be with them in the movie "Space Jam." How fun it must be to play basketball with cartoon characters; how soft and velvety they must be!
Guardians of the Galaxy
It was difficult at first for the casting directors to find someone who could effectively voice Rocket, the cybernetically modified raccoon. They hired Bradley Cooper for the job, and he was able to keep up with the character’s fast-talking, while Sean Gunn acts out the physical part of the role for him.
Rocket is a funny character that can quickly turn into a mean fighting machine. But what’s really funny is that, behind the scenes, Gunn had to pose subserviently on set like a domesticated pet, low on the floor. What were serious scenes on the silver screen must have been comic to witness in front of the cameras with Gunn all in green and being patted like a puppy.
Robert Downey Jr. must be so fond of his role as Iron Man for having agreed to reprise his character for over a decade. How cool it is that Tony Stark has all the money in the world backed up with the intelligence to come up with all sorts of war machine inventions?
Of course, as enamored as we are with "Iron Man," we know that Robert Downey Jr. doesn’t have to fly across the sky or stand on the edge of a building for the filming of the superhero. Here in this picture, we see proof of the fact that CGI takes care of all of that.
The Dark Knight
Playing the role of Harvey Dent, whose left side of his face is grotesquely scarred after an acidic solution was thrown at him inside the court of justice, is a task that needs serious acting skills. Aaron Eckhart is the man for the job, and here he is photographed simulating a two-faced persona.
It’s quite impressive as it is, imagine how cool it would appear on screen with the added effects. Half of his face looks menacing as he is angered by the death of his girlfriend, Rachel. It's amazing to think that Harvey Dent wasn't even the main villain in 2007's "The Dark Knight."
What could be more wonderful than having your childhood bedtime stories brought to life? This time it's not your imagination! Roald Dahl's BFG (The Big Friendly Giant), with the help of a blue screen, is as real as ever. And who better to bring this classic tale to life than the master of heartfelt filmmaking, the one and only, Steven Spielberg?
When you have other stunning classics such as "Jurassic Park" and "E.T." under your belt, you fancy yourself tackling any story. Spielberg had his special effects team to thank for bringing a beloved imaginary friend to life. He certainly knows how to pull on our nostalgic heartstrings.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Sure, this film wasn't the biggest box office success. One thing you can not fault about the film is the filmmaker's creativity and ambition in making it. Not the mention the performances of the two leads in the film, Dane DeHaan and Cara Develingne, who were very good in it.
This spectacular sci-fi extravaganza required a plethora of special effects and CGI to get the film off the script and onto the screen. However, when you consider how much it cost for the movie to be made (a quarter of a billion dollars) and only grossing about $226 million worldwide, you can't exactly call it a commercially successful use of CGI.
It goes without saying that the world of "Tron" is entirely created with the use of CGI. That fictional world in the middle of the software of a mainframe computer is where its story is focused. This is where fights and competitions had to take place so its character could escape the technological snaggle.
To make this world appear realistic, a lot of color screens had to be installed to film this movie, and they also applied a process called "backlit animation." Its color combinations had to be properly thought of, and they had to match all that with futuristic sound effects.
Marvel Studios has been nothing but marvelous when it comes to the production of The Avengers. These superhero films are not only action-packed, but the stunts coupled with the air, sea, and land battles are just absolutely created to near perfection. All that, plus the timing of the visual and sound effects, and the directing skills employed as vital scenes unfold.
Certainly, none of these would have been possible without computer-generated images. To have shot this film decades ago would have been too risky, not to mention, less dramatic with poor cinematography. Stunt doubles have reason to sigh in relief with the advent of blue and green screens.
This 1997 film directed by James Cameron was inspired by the latter’s fascination for shipwrecks. The making of the movie was granted a budget of $200 million, the most expensive at the time. Its returns skyrocketed with over $2 billion in ticket sales worldwide. With all the huge numbers involved, don’t expect this iconic scene between Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet to be shot in a real ship.
In fact, it doesn’t need a huge liner to complete such a short part. All it took mostly were some scaled models and computer-generated imagery. Then there’s some green screen to build upon the rest. Here are the main characters behind the scenes, stripped down of their romance on stage with a microphone floating in front of Rose.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
The hyper-stylized and highly humorous show follows Mrs. Maisel as she tries to forge a path as a female comedian in New York City in the 60s. Rachel Brosnahan has given the performance of a lifetime on this show. So much so that she ended up becoming the latest actress to play Lois Lane.
Mrs. Maisel and her manager are often running around the city to book any gig they can get for the rising star. That means they often rely on the infamous NYC subway system. Luckily green screen is around to make it look like the characters are actually riding the subway.
The Good Place
If you're looking to learn about moral philosophy with a few laughs along the way, then "The Good Place" is the TV series for you. This critically-acclaimed TV series stars the likes of Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. And while it's characters are the heart and soul of the show, it's high concept required some serious CGI work.
The show takes its viewers on a rollercoaster ride through the afterlife, including the Good Place and the Bad Place. Luckily for the actors, no one had to actually travel to the afterlife to shoot their scenes, instead a green screen was used. Phew!
A Good Day to Die Hard
Bruce Willis likes to do some of his stunts, although we feel this could have been more of a thing when he was much younger. He is best known for his action movies such as the "Die Hard" franchise. He did pose with two of his stunt doubles, and it is not unusual to have more than one on standby, especially if the movie is quite risky to shoot with lots of fight scenes.
While the filmmakers had the body of the military helicopter, in order to get the full use and effect of the whirlybird in the film, a fair amount of green screen was needed. That way Bruce Willis stayed safe and sound on the ground.
Avengers: Infinity War
To embody a supervillain in a modern movie would require extraordinary visual effects and more. Otherwise, it would almost certainly be a flop, considering the standards viewers have developed in judging movies. Now imagine creating Thanos, who was born on Titan, and carries the Deviant’s gene. Thanos must have looked so horrific that even his own mother, Sui-San, was shocked by it.
She feared that Thanos would soon grow up to be so evil that he would destroy the universe. This one-of-a-kind supervillain appeared in the film, Infinity War, which was released in 2018, and the character was played by Josh Brolin. To make all these traits tactile to the audience, they had to scan the actor’s facial expressions and match them with CGI. Whatever Brolin’s facial expression was, Thanos’ version was automatically generated.
300 - Rise of An Empire
The film, "300," is based on the 1998 comic series by Frank Miller. To translate this into a film, they had to recreate the places during the Persian Wars, and it is said that it took them sixty days to film it, retelling the events of the Battle of Thermopylae. And the sequel - "300 - Rise of An Empire," was also a green-screen masterpiece in its own right.
The visual effects relied a lot on the green screen, which had to surround soldiers clashing in the middle. They used the superimposition chroma key technique, so archival images could be brought back to life. Also, the production involved plenty of prosthetics, dummies, and props.
Mad Max: Fury Road
The "Mad Max" franchise fuels your need for speed, action, and firepower. Set in a dystopian world where fuel and water are scarce, the makeshift automobiles and trucks roar across the dangerous desert, trailing behind the warmth of George Miller’s futuristic imagination.
But none of those blasts really occurred, and the unique pieces of post-apocalyptic vehicles didn’t really tumble or get broken into small parts. They really didn’t leap high up the dunes. All that was possible in post-production, thanks to green screens and suspended platforms on set. And the movie ended up crushing it at the Oscars because of all that hard work.
Imagine working on a movie set in outer space without heavily relying on the green screen. That’s how tough it must have been back in the day, and when we watch old science fiction movies today they look not only implausible but silly, too (though we still love them).
In order to mimic how her character would actually move in an anti-gravity environment in space, Sandra Bullock bravely performed some of her scenes underwater (with professional supervision of course!). While she was filmed in a pool, a green screen was used to place her in a space station. When you watch these suspenseful scenes, it's no doubt that you'll be holding your breath just like Sandra!
It was no easy feat to bring the world of Wakanda to the big screen. With the help of a blue screen and the incredible artistic talents of the film crew, the Black Panther's beloved home was created, inspiring millions of moviegoers around the world.
Here we see a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a royal room in the Wakanda kingdom. The blue screen in the background shows the sections of the shot that would be replaced with majestic views of Wakanda during post-production. It is still one of the most beautiful movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It might be in the top five.
JJ Abrams, king of spacey blockbusters, took an intergalactic shot at the cult-classic space adventure series "Star Trek." He recast to have his very own Captain Kirk, Spock, Dr. McCoy, and the rest of the iconic characters from the original series. But he was also able to make his version of "Star Trek" so much more lush on the big screen.
Here we see Abrams directing Chris Pine (who plays James Kirk) and John Cho (who plays Hikaru Sulu) atop a prop spaceship. With the help of some CGI magic, the actors and the vessel were made to hurtle through outer space.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
When actor, Andy Serkis, auditioned for the role of Caesar in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," he didn’t have to worry so much about simulating a chimpanzee’s facial reactions. Not unlike the supervillain, Thanos, in "Avengers: Infinity War," this would require a number of facial scans on the part of the actor, which would be applied to computer imagery.
This way, Andy Serkis’ role became considerably easier, but still challenging nonetheless. Caesar is not an ordinary, innocent animal, and his behavior can be complex at times. At least, aesthetically, CGI technology has taken care of the film’s visual effects very well.
Game of Thrones
Daenerys Targaryen isn't called the Mother of Dragons for no reason whatsoever. The character has a deep connection with the fearsome creatures, so much so that she flies with them on their backs. Especially in from the sixth season of "Game of Thrones" onward.
The bad news is that dragons aren't real, but the good news is that a little green screen here and there can make any fantastical creature come to life. Even if it's just for a couple of seasons. But it was certainly worth the wait. And HBO was able to bring even more dragons to life with the prequel series "House of the Dragon."
Avengers: Infinity War
At one point or another, moviegoers of different ages wonder how bombs that are set off in movies are actually filmed. We get curious about how studios make it appear so real. Perhaps that is why film budgets are normally through the roof, so they can create such destruction and simply pay it off.
Well, they usually look for abandoned places where they can lay down their groundwork for a battle scene. And "Avengers: Infinity War" had lots of fighting that needed to be created for our viewing pleasure. This photograph was taken during the shoot, but blue screens were used instead of explosives to minimize actual damage, attached to the walls. After a scene is done, the raw file is sent out for heavy editing.
This female-driven film smashed box office records when it hit the big screen. Diana (Wonder Woman) hails from Themyscira, a fantastical island that is a true no-mans-land. Gal Gadot had already gotten pretty used to all of the CGI when she first appeared as Wonder Woman in the film "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice."
But things went to a whole new level when she had an entire motion picture dedicated to her character. The filmmakers used green screen to bring the mystical matriarchal motherland to life. We just wish it was real! And Gadot went through it all again when she reprised the role in "Wonder Woman 1984."
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Hugh Jackman smiles as rubber snakes are planted all over his body by cast members. This was taken on the set of "X-Men: Days of Future Past." The production of the film involved the employment of 12 studios that produced a total of 1,311 visual effect shots throughout the movie.
Their work includes Wolverine’s ability to self-heal after he is shot or stabbed, or whichever way he happens to be wounded. They also transformed a vacant airfield into a Vietnam prisoner camp. But there were so many other examples throughout the movie. In fact, it was nominated for an Academy Award for its special effects.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
No, it isn’t a bird, nor a plane. If Superman had his audience mildly confounded on screen, flying at the speed of sound across the sky, the set where these wildly popular superhero feats were filmed was rather bland and stationery. People have given mixed reviews on this early DCEU movie. But we can't deny the effort that went into it.
Here's a behind-the-scenes sneak peek at how the proverbial "Man of Steel" flexes his muscles and lifts any object no matter its size. It's strange to think that the only practical element in this shot was Henry Cavill. Hey, at least the iconic suit is real.
Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Tim Burton's take on "Sweeny Todd," the gory musical that follows a barbaric barber, is not for the faint-hearted. Johnny Depp certainly made the character his own and put his own playful twist on it. If dark humor is your thing, then this flick will be right up your alley.
Speaking of alleys, in order to achieve the dark and filthy Fleet Street in 19th century London, Burton made good use of a green screen. In many ways, handling CGI in black and white is a lot easier than with color. But with that said, this style also presents its fair share of challenges.
Uma Thurman played the role of the Bride in the movie, "Kill Bill," who traveled to Japan to avenge an attempt against her life and the loss of her unborn child. The idea of fighting the mafia on their turf is pretty dangerous and, therefore, demonstrating her fighting skills topped the list of challenges she had to hurdle.
Thankfully, Uma Thurman had a stunt double under her employ. That way she could focus her energy on the acting while the double does the killing. Here, she is photographed with strings attached to her like a puppet. This is to protect the actress if she ever failed to balance herself during leaps and high kicks.
Game of Thrones
HBO’s huge budget for the making of "Game of Thrones" allows us to watch our favorite characters operate in an incredible world that looks credible on screen. The CGI is smooth, and they employ a number of cinematographers to maintain its amazing quality.
The use of advanced effects and the green screen in this fantasy drama is necessary to make viewers believe they are in the "Game of Thrones" universe, where dragons and white walkers roam free. The leader of these creepy creatures is none other than the Night King. His costume was achieved through practical effects while the icy world where he hails from was created using a lot of green screen.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Bill Nighy’s acting has been fundamental to the success of the character, Davy Jones, in the "Pirates Of The Caribbean" series. We all had certain prior expectations of what the captain of the Flying Dutchman should look like, but we never expected him to have a cephalopod-like head.
And to think the end result looked so realistic. Bill Nighy must be relieved he didn’t have to wear an icky mask to shoot. Thanks to CGI, all that tentacled animation was well taken care of without a smudge on his face, and he only had to focus his efforts on acting out his role.
Life of Pi
This fantasy adventure movie is popular for its unique way of conveying spiritual discoveries and lessons through its shipwrecked character. Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel, the protagonist in the story had to survive in the middle of the ocean for 227 days with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, whom he initially feared.
Luckily for Pi’s actors, including Suraj Sharma, they didn’t have to shoot the film in the deep dark ocean or around a real Bengal tiger that could easily slice a neck in one swipe with its sharp claws. Blue screen to the rescue! They still used some water though.
The Wolf of Wall Street
This film was directed by Martin Scorsese and featured Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role. Suitably, this project had an approved budget of $100 million. But it didn’t mean they could just pack their bags and travel to every location the memoir by Jordan Belfort entailed. Sometimes, Scorsese had to rely on green screen to bring certain locations to life.
The story has its characters traveling from the US to Italy, Switzerland, Monaco, and more. Imagine all the expenses they were able to save, thanks to CGI. Green screen was used to show the money-hungry bunch setting sail on a private yacht.
This photograph captures what it was like to be a ruler during the Persian Wars. The feel of the time was masterfully recreated, so modern viewers could truly appreciate its historical value. As for the film "300," there is no denying that Zach Snyder had a clear vision of how he wanted the tale to look on the big screen.
To work on the scenes, effects specialists had to be very precise with their artistry to reflect how advanced the period was. And when Gerard Butler's character kicks that messenger into the bottomless pit and yells "This is Sparta," you just know that the real pit wasn't actually bottomless.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Aren’t we always fascinated by flying scenes? Here is one of the most difficult parts of the filming of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:" the quidditch event. Actors shoot individually as they are surrounded by blue and green screens. Everything else is created by computers, imagery, and all.
Pretending to be up in the air while they are moved by rigs, the challenge of the actors is to react to attacks, and carry out the swerves, all with perfect timing. The ability to portray movement and urgency is important. And it’s difficult because, in reality, they are merely surrounded by blank walls. And there were no brooms used!
Beauty and the Beast
This surely isn’t what the French novelist had in mind when he wrote the classic story of "Beauty and the Beast." And it doesn’t seem like a fairy tale or a love story; more like a comedy if you want our opinion. Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve would turn in her grave if she saw this picture of how her fictional beast gets an astronaut look.
Also, it’s commendable how Emma Watson is able to keep her composure. Perhaps that’s why she looks so stern, staring straight ahead and not glancing at her partner, who’s wrapped doubly in a padded suit. She dares not to look down and see his stilts.
I Am Legend
This photograph reminds us of that part of the movie where Robert Neville becomes hopeful of curing infected dogs with his serum. They try to ensnare a Darkseeker so they could test its efficacy, but its failure depressed him.
The real sad part is when his dog, Samantha, is bitten by the other dogs and becomes contaminated. He is forced to kill her with his own hands, and this is the most heart-wrenching part of the film. We are gladdened to find a picture of the set to remind us that Sam, at least the real German Shepherd that played the role, is alive and well. And that Darkseeker that attacked Will Smith’s character was only controlled by a puppeteer in a green morph suit.
Bruce Banner doesn’t want to be angry and be turned into the angry Hulk. Maybe he wishes he could just play it cool most of the time, like Captain America, and Thor, but it’s simply not in his genes anymore, we guess. And the real actors behind them are also tasked a bit unfairly.
Like, Mark Ruffalo, who needs to go fit into his huge costume every time Banner is turned into an eight-foot-tall green monster that weighs a stunning 1,400 pounds. Isn’t it a much busier role compared to the rest of the Avengers? Even if he doesn’t have to fit into his costume sometimes, he still looks awkward in a CGI suit compared to the rest of them.
Hugh Jackman captured our imagination when he played the role of Wolverine across multiple "X-Men" films. Where, at first, we doubted his character for having to fight all his enemies with only his three retractable claws. But Jackman played it so well that he has fans worldwide convinced these days.
This picture here shows CGI edits that were made to make him appear wounded. The clever technology would have to heal that wound, too, since Wolverine has a regenerative ability. But that's not all. The special effects team also had to highlight his enhanced physique and abilities, as well as his keen senses.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
The realization that "The Chronicles of Narnia" was actually written and published in the 1950s, shows how advanced and deep C.S. Lewis’ thoughts were. He was a genius, a man ahead of his time, and his book sold over 100 million copies worldwide. It would be really unfortunate if such work was ruined by poor filming techniques as it was adapted into film.
There is no doubt that the main challenge in filming the world of Narnia lay in the reproduction of his vision. Not only was it necessary to recreate the world of Narnia as conceptualized by C.S. Lewis, but it must also have the overall feel suited to the story’s theme.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
"The Hunger Games" franchise showed us how difficult it is to escape from the nation of Panem. When it comes to the character of the young and beautiful Katniss Everdeen (played by the brilliant Jennifer Lawrence), there was nothing she tried that allowed her to evade the watchful eyes of its totalitarian government.
The fantastical clock-inspired games arena required a ton of green screen work and special effects to bring it to life. The filmmakers had to portray tsunamis, Jabberjays, and red rain, so it's no wonder special effects were relied upon! And the special effects only got more sophisticated with each entry to the franchise.
The idea of watching Keanu Reeves playing the role of Neo, a protagonist who was a cyber-criminal, fighting the forces involved in enslaving humanity inside a complex virtual reality system should make sci-fi fans drool… Until that is, they find out what the set of the film really looks like.
Considering that the production was always going to heavily involve CGI technology, the warehouse where the set was based on should be quite bare. Well, they still used green screens, but other than that, most of what Neo kicked, evaded, or broke, was pretty much imaginary. "The Matrix" still rocks though more than two decades later.