By Mia Muschek
Mia Muschek, Teleprompter Operator
I had the opportunity to watch Oz: The Great and Powerful this weekend and I realized that future of the movie industry. That is, the future of green screen and special effects. Only the first twenty or so minutes of the movie consisted of on location shooting. The remaining 110 minutes of the movie were shot in a studio with a green screen backdrop. Needless to say, I was amazed by the technology.
I was transported into this wonderful world of Oz, without even realizing it was happening. I was able to believe that Oz and Glenda were flying through the air in bubbles, or that flowers of gems were opening before my eyes. The movie itself was very disappointing and quite frankly boring. James Franco, despite how much I have loved him in other roles he has played, was unbelievable and unlikeable. Mila Kunis as well, I felt was simply “acting” as the witch and wasn’t feeling her part and becoming the character. The music and effects were the only things that kept me in my seat instead of leaving the theater.
This being said, special effects have a special power. Even though MGM spent close to 2 million dollars, they made $90 million in the opening weekend alone. This same movie would have cost nearly double a few short years ago, and the believability would have lacked substantially. This shows just how quickly technology is moving and how special effects are used in movies more than ever before.
Green screen filmmaking consists of actors performing on a stage where all or at least part of the background and props are green. These green images are then changed in post-production editing so that they can look anything you would like them to look like. At the American Movie Company in New York City, I had the opportunity to see an editor working his magic on the screen of a small film production. Everything simple, from adding snowflakes to a shot to creating the entire scene around the actor was done quite quickly and realistically.
Even more important though, these big companies create breakthroughs, which allow other, smaller companies to create affordable and believable special effects in commercials, television shows, and short movies. With green screen technology, we are able to place the characters, and through them the audience, anywhere in the world. It is only limited to the imagination.