Special effect

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As a special effect ( English special effect ), and Special FX (of English onomatopoeic "ef-ek") or short SPFX or SFX (ambiguous with SFX - sound effects ), a mechanical or chemical is technology referred to certain unusual phenomena, such as such as explosions, in theater or film . In contrast to the visual effects (VFX), special effects are created and filmed directly on location. This means that the desired result can be checked immediately.

Special effect: small fireball

Areas of application

The special effects are closely related to other institutions such as stunt technique and mask . The transition is often fluid.

With many special effects, the desired events are simulated by effects that have a similar effect, for example breaking glass ( film glass ), blood ( film blood ), snow. Often the desired events are simulated artificially or actually carried out, for example rain, fire, explosions, collapsing buildings or bridges.

In body painting ( bodypainting ) special effects are called the art form in which , in addition to paint applied to the body by brush , sponge and / or airbrush , additional "attachments" such as latex masks, wigs or the like serve as an extension to the total work of art .

Further examples:

Artificial rain
  • Weather: The artificial generation of certain weather conditions is one of the most common effects. Examples: rain, fog, snow, wind, clouds
  • Pyrotechnics: Everything that has to do with fire: Pyrotechnic effects (explosions, fire, smoke, fireworks, flying sparks, etc.), in this context also includes methods of blasting technology (detonations), as well as corresponding effects with compressed air
  • Injuries: In close cooperation with the mask. The simulation of injuries to humans or animals, such as wounds (with the help of plastics, film blood ), gunshot wounds , severed body parts
  • Weapon technology: Shots with all kinds of firearms , knives, swords
  • Effect glass: glass made of sugar ( sugar glass )
  • Greeble refers to an added detail that makes the monotonous surface of an object appear visually more interesting.

Functions of special effects

Basically, all effects increase the sensual impressions of reality (especially visual and auditory), but they can also be used to exaggerate them in a parodic way. Special effects are not only aimed at increasing the viewer's experience, but can also keep the viewer at a distance by referring to their fictional awareness. In genres such as B. Horror or science fiction film, special effects are used to create shock images. They attract the attention of the audience by showing what is special about horror.

See also


  • Wolf-Ingo Hummig: Special effects in the theater / studio , Verlag Hummig Effects, Peißenberg 1997, ISBN 3-931360-45-8
  • Secret , a film book by Cinema, o.V. Hamburg 1990, ISBN 3-89324-067-5
  • Die Tricks , a film book by Cinema, o.V. Hamburg 1989, ISBN 3-89324-043-8
  • Bernhard Walter Panek: Stunts and special effects for film and television. Vienna University Press Facultas ISBN 978-3-7089-0325-5
  • Mikos, Lothar: Film and television analysis. Constance: UVK , 2008. - ISBN 978-3-8252-2415-8
  • Rickitt, Richard: "Special Effects - The History and Technique". London 2000.