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Attention, Filmmakers: Here's How to Create the Illusion of Space Flight on a Low Budget

Photo of Paula Bernstein By Paula Bernstein | Indiewire February 11, 2014 at 1:23PM

Self-taught filmmaker Joey Shanks, who produces a weekly series for PBS Digital Series about DIY special effects for low-budget productions, highlights the illusion of space flight in his latest video.
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Sure, the special effects in "Gravity" are incredible, but not exactly feasible for an indie filmmaker to adopt. That's where Joey Shanks comes in. The self-taught filmmaker, who produces a weekly series for PBS Digital Series about DIY special effects for low-budget productions, highlights the illusion of space flight in his latest video. Shanks writes, "To create a spaceship flying through the space, the effects wizards of yesteryear used simple techniques of keeping the model spaceship still, and having the camera move in towards the objects. This would give the illusion that the ship was moving....Watch as I try these techniques with the spaceships I have in my collection!!"

It's amazing to see how low-tech the effects were in some of the classic sci-fi films which Shanks references, including "Star Wars," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "Back to the Future." Grab some fluorescent paint and a UV flashlight and make your "space ship" light up.

Check out Shanks' "Illusion of Space Flight" video below and check out more at Shanks' YouTube page:

This article is related to: Visual Effects, PBS, Video, Filmmaker Toolkit: Production







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