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by Madeline Raynor
July 2, 2013 4:00 PM
3 Comments
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Watch: Eerie 'Gatsby' CGI-Less Clip Goes to Show How Many Of Your Favorite Movies/Shows Rely On Bells and Whistles

"The Great Gatsby" Warner Bros.
Do you ever stop and think about just how many scenes in a movie rely on green screen and CGI? Or how many of your favorite sitcoms use a laugh track? Well, once you think about it for too long, you can't unsee (or unhear) the difference.

Check out this video that's been circulating of "The Great Gatsby" without visual effects, posted on Vimeo by Chris Godfrey, the film's visual effects supervisor (with director Baz Luhrmann's permission, of course). We knew that the shiny, perfect visuals of 1920s New York were too good to be true, but seeing the extent that the film used CGI is kind of shocking. Add Lana Del Ray's surreally slurred Gatsby/Daisy love theme "Young and Beautiful" in the background, and the effect is just plain spooky. I mean, the green light was so obviously CGI that it bordered on trippy, but seeing Tom Buchanan walk up a disembodied staircase into his computer-generated mansion just makes you realize that every stunning visual that you loved from the move was a lie (albeit a beautiful one).

That got us thinking about another popular and unsettling internet fad: posting clips from sitcoms with the laugh track removed. The effect is eerie. Jokes that once landed fall flat and awkward pauses abound when the canned laughter is removed. Check out clips from "The Big Bang Theory" and "Friends" minus the laugh track below.

Bonus video: someone made a montage of ONLY the fake laughter in "How I Met Your Mother" to point out that it's the same laugh every single time. Right down to the high-pitched giggle at the end. This is the stuff that nightmares are made of.

Did you realize that your favorite sitcoms use a laugh track? Well now you do. Good luck unhearing that.



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3 Comments

  • Brian | July 3, 2013 12:22 PMReply

    The jokes fall flat WITHOUT the laugh track? The jokes fall flat, period. I'm surprised at the number of my friends who have thought "Friends" and "Big Bang Theory" were funny - rarely did I laugh even WITH the laugh track present.

  • Peter Cole | July 2, 2013 6:48 PMReply

    The clips demonstrating what a Sitcom sounds like without a laugh track are not accurate. The majority of sitcoms are recorded in front of a live audience. A laugh track is added on top of the live audience to embellish the timing of a joke, add weight to a joke or fix a laugh where the end of a laugh got cut off due to retiming a picture cut. If done with care it can sound very natural.

    One thing not mentioned here are your favorite award shows have the audience reaction embellished live...yes live. A skilled sound professional with a "laugh machine" will play along with the live audience adding various crowd reactions to such shows as the Emmys and Oscars for example.

    This has been going on since the days of "I Love Lucy".

  • Peter Cole | July 2, 2013 6:48 PMReply

    The clips demonstrating what a Sitcom sounds like without a laugh track are not accurate. The majority of sitcoms are recorded in front of a live audience. A laugh track is added on top of the live audience to embellish the timing of a joke, add weight to a joke or fix a laugh where the end of a laugh got cut off due to retiming a picture cut. If done with care it can sound very natural.

    One thing not mentioned here are your favorite award shows have the audience reaction embellished live...yes live. A skilled sound professional with a "laugh machine" will play along with the live audience adding various crowd reactions to such shows as the Emmys and Oscars for example.

    This has been going on since the days of "I Love Lucy".