Ray Harryhausen's Visual Techniques

Great Essays
Sean Reape Comm 320 10/12/2015

Ray Harryhausen to Peter Jackson

Ray Harryhausen is arguably one of the most influential and creative artists to ever lay a hand on the camera, with his master visual effects skills he carries the title of father of stop-motion model animation, and created ?Dynamation? which is an animation technique where a certain object is physically manipulated making it appear to move on it?s own. This was a technique that would change not only the way motion pictures were viewed but would eternally change the emotions that movie viewer?s would feel while watching films with visual and special effects. His technique required a great deal of planning, patience, and discipline which
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With having such a small budget for the film, $150,000, Harryhausen had to improvise. He used large expensive sheets of glass that would create a magnificent atmosphere but would restrict the camera to a single view. ?For Beast I devised a way of combining live-action actors with animated creatures and miniature backgrounds. It was the basis of the system that I used for the rest of my working life.? (p.189). The system that harryhausen was discussing would later prove to be his creative technique of ?Dynamation?. When I viewed The beast from 20,000 Fathoms there were several very intricate shots that stuck out to me, the first one being the scene where the Beast is attacking a ship on sea. The attention to detail on the Beast?s face and movements were so complex for it?s time. When the Beast rises from the ocean and begins sinking the ship back and fourth the shot rapidly cuts to the captain and deckhand being tossed around while the boat breaks down adding a great deal of suspense to the shot. Another very important scene that stood out is when the Beast enters and terrorizes New York City. The size of him is incredible, using dynamation Harryhasuen gives the illusion that the Beast is a giant monster standing with the skyscrapers of New York City. When a police officer begins to fire at the Beast he picks him up by the mouth and the shot is cut to a silhouette of the …show more content…
They would make original short films of epic war battles and James Bond spoofs using his parent?s home as a set Much like a young Harryhausen, Jackson experimented with various things and built his own equipment, made models, created gory make-up effects, and created his own animated puppets. Again, like Harryhausen, Jackson was immensely focused and determined to direct his own films. He attended Kapiti College in Raumati Beach, NZ but dropped out to work full-time to acquire money for financing his next piece of film equipment. During the filming of his first feature film he spent four straight years of weekends creating his masterpiece. While filming for this project, to his surprise the New Zealand Film Commission granted him $30,000 to finish the film letting Jackson quit his day job and focus solely on his filming. When Jackson was 26 years old he released the film, Bad Taste. Not only did the film land distribution deals in over 10 countries, but also drew in many horror fans. Critics also loved the visual and special effects of the film Bad Taste began a cult following. With such great success Jackson was eager to create more films and now had the critics and audiences attention with his rare visual and special effects

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