History of Special Effects in cinema

Special Effects in CinemaWhile talking about visual effects used in movies, I always love to remember Star Wars (1977) – Into the trench, Start Trek (1982), The Birds (1963), King Kong, Aliens (1986), Terminator 3, Jurassic Park, Independence Day & 2012 because of exceptionally convincing, heart stopping, ground breaking  special effects incorporated in these films. However, while searching the internet about top ten special effects shots, I found only Hollywood Blockbusters and not a single Bollywood or Tollywood movie in that list.

Hollywood Special effects & VFX industry has completed their 100 years. Also, Bollywood celebrates its glorious 100 year-stint. I would like to throw some light on interesting facts about the history of VFX in cinema.

The journey of Special effects started in the year 1880 (thanks to the phenomenon of persistence of vision by British physician Peter Mark Roget), where films used visual magic to produce illusions & trick effects to surprise audiences.  The earliest effects were produced within the camera (camera effects, camera tricks), such as simple jump-cuts or superimpositions, back projection, or created by using miniatures. Optical effects came slightly later, using light, shadow, lenses etc.

The vanishing lady (1896)- French film maker Georges Melies, known as the ‘Father of cinematic Special effects’ accidentally discovered the stop motion effect when his camera jammed during shooting. After fixing the jam when the action resumed, he realized that he had inadvertently discovered a neat camera trick, causing objects to change position.

Special Effects in Cinema

The Power of Love (1922) was the first 3-D feature film to be shown to an audience. It was projected in dual-strip in the red/green anaglyph format, making it the earliest known film to do so.

History of Bollywood Special effects

We are celebrating 100 years of Indian Cinema and most people still do not know that in the year 1937, India got its first special effects movie thanks to Babubhai Mestry- India’s Father of Trick photography and special effects Director. Babubhai Mestry was born on 5th Sept.1918, in Surat city, Gujarat. He found his first job as assistant art director for film Hatimtai (1933).

During the shooting of ‘Khwaab ki Duniya’ (1937),he introduced some very ingenious home grown techniques where he used dim light & black curtain as the background on which objects were given the illusion of movement with the help of black thread. The phenomenal success of his experiment, made him a well established name in the cine world.

Special Effects in Cinema

In his extensive career, he produced special effects for films like, Ashiana, Aurat, Sati Anapuran, Sampoorna Ramayana,Prem Pujari, Mahabharat, Jugnu, Roti, Warrant, Nagin, Charas,  Mahabharat, Krishna  (TV series) & Haatim Tai.

Special Effects in Cinema


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