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These effects were not done on set.

Tips & Resources

by Cecilia Ang.

I will always remember this quote from the Tina Fey big hit movie, Mean Girls: “In the regular world, Halloween is when children dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”

And in filmmaking world, Halloween is the one time of the year where your creative juices starts flowing as the myriad of costumes flood your mind with story ideas.

Special effect is part of the package to making a successful horror or thriller film. Whether is it blowing up zombies or blood splattering across the room or even going down to how a character look, it is often these out-of-the-box creation that added that additional punch to the films.

While we recover from the fatigue of pumpkin carving and beer drinking from Halloween, on the board of NFFTY’s Tips and Resources this week, we fish out tips on how you can create special effects without, possibly, having to overspend your budget.

Zombie makeup in post-production 

Traditionally, prosthetics is used to create additional attachments. The problem, however, with prosthetics, is that it requires specialized skill set and is expensive to make. Furthermore, this would mean long preparation time; constant touching up; rounds of makeup removing and not to mention, having to withstand hours of inconvenience and not feeling comfortable.

Oh hail technology everyone! With After Effects and additional add ons, we can save more time on set and let our creative juices flow during post-production process.

With online tutorials and preset packages, it is not difficult to create the look that you want. Do note that a basic understanding of After Effects is required though.

Packages introduced: Monster FX Undead Package @ $99

Software needed: After Effects, Mocha

 However, if you have other stencils ready, you are free to not use Monster FX Undead Package but the techniques with After Effects apply!


I wanna blow up a zombie… 

Want to blow up a zombie but do not have the safety devices and gunpowder to do so? Fret not! You can always use After Effects to create as many explosions as you want under the safest condition. Furthermore it is not difficult to do so! All you need to do is to do some simple masking and also, either find stock footage of blood splats or create your own using Photoshop!

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial of how you can create the explosion! It’s fun, simple and clean!


Level up your scare, put in the sound effects!

Special effects isn’t just about what you see. In horror films, in fact in all films, sound effects play a vital role in creating the atmosphere and leave you tinkling with fear.

But, that does not mean to overload the film with sound effects at any possible point that you can find. If there’s one effect that inserts the most fear, that is silence. At suitable plot points, insert silence or minimal atmospheric noises and let the audience fill in the gap with their own emotions.

So what do you think of the tips! Leave us some comments and feel free to introduce more tips for our readers if you know of more!

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