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Amy Parker reporting for VancouverFlm.Net:
"Spark FX ’09" @ the Vancity Theatre presented "Kaboom! An Explosive Physical Effects Talk" by Rory Cutler and Wayne Szybunka.
It should be noted that 'physical effects' differ from 'visual effects'.
Physical effects are 'in camera' allowing performers to react to weather (snow, fog, rain, wind), explosions, bullet effects and stunt rigging (jumping, flying, floating).
To the delight of the sold-out crowd, speaker Wayne Szybunka, dramatically arrived at the lecture podium on a 'zip line', whizzing from the theatre balcony over the heads of the audience.
Szybunka has been employed in physical effects in Vancouver for 16 years, workng on such shows as "Psych", "Masters of
Horror", the feature "Blade: Trinity" and many other local-shot films.
He spoke to the audience about his work and how he approaches a project: getting the script, breaking it down and then presenting hsi ideas to the director and producers as to how physical effects will benefit the picture, aware of costs and budgets.
Although physical effects take place on set, it all works in tandem with visual effects in post to enhance a scene. ie. an explosion on set made to look larger and more detailed.
Complimenting Szybunka’s talk was another local 'pysical effects' artist Rory Cutler, having worked on numerous films including "Firestorm".
Cutler broke down the dept. of Visual Effects that included Digital, Physical, Make up and Animatronics, explaining the differences and how they work individually/collectively towards the final product.
As physical effects can be photographed, Cutler noted that, “this is important to film because (directors) walk off set knowing what they have.”
Aspects of physical effects take a great deal of pre-production, including the design/building of sets, the rigging of explosives, etc.
Cutler explained there are often several rehearsals and these are filmed so that everyone can see what the finished take will look like, giving a chance to be sure that their vision has been communicated and understood while there is still time to make adjustments.
As with many in the industry, Cutler looks to the future but is not worried that CG will take over, as he knows how important it is for performers to be able to interact/react with physical effects.
Both Szybunka and Cutler agreed that in the great films to come, all aspects of effects - physical and visual, will work together and evolve...as the best of both worlds...