Special Effects techniques and low-budget methods to get your productions done on-time and under budget


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Special Effects

Making Ooze!

Ooze, it’s the stuff that changed the Ninja Turtles into mutants and tried to eat Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters II, and who can forget the classic line “He slimed me.” muttered by Bill McMurray after his first encounter with Slimer.

Turn Styrofoam into metal props (advanced)

There comes a time in your filmmaking career when foam and plastic props look, well, too much like foam and plastic on screen.  But having someone make a custom metal prop for you can be out of the question due

Making really cheap prop guns

When you make a special effects movie, it’s the effects that can really make or break the success of it.  But most small productions don’t have the budgets to hire professional effects artists and craftsmen to make the props.  However,

Nose and Scar Wax

  Another basic skill you should master if you want to create effects for your film is using the simple yet versatile Nose and Scar wax, which does exactly what is says, makes scars and other simple body parts like

How to use Liquid Latex

One of the fundamental tools used in a makeup artists kit is liquid latex.  It can be used for making everything from a simple prosthetic to a full body suit.  But many find that it’s tricky to get started with

Zombie Makeup (more advanced)

  All right, so you made it through the first video and wanted more, right?  Well that’s great news because ask and you shall receive.  In the second video done by Freakmo, she goes into more detail about creating the

Zombie Makeup

To continue our theme on creating effects of zombie and horror films, we will now go to the art of makeup and turning your actors into a zombie.  The techniques presented in this video are moderately advanced, so you can

The Basics of Zombie Makeup

This video instructs you on hot to make a fresher looking zombie with fresh blood and scratches.  Maybe this person was just turned into a zombie recently!  It goes into some really great detail about what to use and gives fantastic

Getting Gun Props

Of all the props you may need to get your hands on to do a productions, guns are probably one of the most difficult to get for several reasons.  First, real guns are expensive and you shouldn’t use them because

Stab (hack, gouge…) Someone in the Back Effect

If you are into effects movie there may come a time when you just really want to stick it to someone, you know, an axe in the back or something else that’s just as effective…like a chainsaw or a rubber

Making a hole in the chest

Ever get that feeling like there a piece of you missing?  Ever want to exemplify that on film but really didn’t feel like taking a trip to the doctor’s office to have some guts removed?  Well, look no further!  In

Realistic Gore Makeup (arm)

As your productions become better funded you will have the cash flow for big budget effects artists who can in turn produce big budget special effects.  But if you’ve been reading Movie Magic articles you should know that we like

Rip your face off!

Ever have one of those days when you just want to rip your face off?  Well thanks to this video which does an excellent job of making silicone masks of a face, you can rip off a face or any other

Impalement effect

If your productions include things like horror, sci-fi or even suspense movies you’ll probably have the need for an impalement effect at some point in time.  When I hear the word ‘impale’ I think of Vlad the impaler with bodies

Gore Galore! Making all the gory effects your production will ever need!

Gore Galore! Aliens and zombies have this nasty habit of ripping people apart and these effects can be really expensive to achieve the maximum realism, but we can do something similar on a tight budget and it will still look

Zombie Attack! Pulling Out Body Parts Without Killing Your Actors

If you are going to make a zombie movie you’ve gotta have blood and GUTS, and what better way to show the guts than by having them pulled out of living victims.  Now I’m assuming you don’t actually want to

Bang, Yer Dead! Shoot Someone in the Head Effect

What zombie movie would be complete without the master move of mayhem, the coveted head shot.  This effect is simple is concept but can be notoriously difficult setup and get to look right, and by right I mean blood and

Knife Throw in the Head Effect

Nothing could be more satisfying that throwing a knife at someone you really despise and hitting them square in the head.  But despite your best ninja skills I don’t recommend actually doing this unless you enjoy spending the rest of

Really cheap fake blood for under $1

We have various recipes for fake blood on the site but this has to be the cheapest one so far.  The ingredients are pretty simple: Ingredients: 5 packets cherry flavored drink mix one package lemon-lime drink mix 1.5-2 cups of

Zombie bite

No zombie movie would be complete without the infamous bite spreading the disease and embracing the zombie apocalypse and this effect can be yours for a lot less than you think.  It’s kind of a long process to make and

Bloody Explosion Effect

What fun would an action or horror movie be if there wasn’t a scene where someone gets shot or blown up, with blood squirting everywhere.  It would probably be pretty boring, right?  Well you can spice up that low budget

Cut someone in half effect – on a budget

If you are into making action or horror movies then the time may come when you need to cut one of your actors in half.  Instead of going to prison for the rest of your days you could instead make

Make a ghost crawl out of your TV screen!

If you’ve ever seen The Ring then you are familiar with the story of Sadako and saw her come out of the TV screen. As cool as that effect was it’s not so difficult or expensive to replicate! There is

Making a low budget melting head

Have you ever come across someone who really got on your nerves and said to yourself “Boy, I wish I could make their face melt off.”?  Well, now you can!  Sort of… and it doesn’t take a lot of money

Making a Cheap Set of Armor

If you are making a sci-fi movie you might need to have a cool set of armor for your futuristic soldiers or police officers.  There’s a pretty simple technique for making really cheap armor. Here’s what you’ll need: foam pads

Making a $50 rain machine

Rain can add a nice element to your productions and you can do it on the cheap, for less than about $50.   Here’s what you need: 1. 25ft garden hose. 2. Some cheap wood. 20ft of 1″x2″ beams 3.

Special effects before and after (with slider)

BuzzFeed has  page with 27 before and after special effects scenes, but these are special because there’s a cool slider here you can see the before and after and of the scene.  One note, it doesn’t seem to work correctly

40 years of ILM in one minute

Here’s a cool one minute video showing effects from ILM over the past 40 years.

46 Famous Movie Scenes Before And After Special Effects

If you are into special effects it’s pretty cool to see before and after shots, seeing the green screens and figuring out how they setup the shots.  Sometimes they are shooting on a sound stage and it looks like it’s

Making a BB-8 droid replica

Have you ever dreamed of having a droid like BB-8 in Star Wars: The Force Awakens?  It’s design is very simple but the mechanics to make it move smoothly are very complex.  The video details how some of the parts were made

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