Film School: VFX and Previs

Film School: VFX and Previs

A selection of behind-the-scenes videos of major motion pictures which heavily feature visual effects.

Green screen & motion tracking – certain colours can be “keyed out” and replaced with other visual elements, while elements whose movement is tracked provide data for computer-generated objects.

Virtual Sets – when shot against green background, actors can be placed in entirely different, even artificial locations, in post production.

Previs (Previsualization) – to help co-ordinate the various departments and hundreds of workers, animatics are often created for reference.

Fun fact: Previs isn’t only for CGI or composite shots – it can be used as proof-of-concept for practical effects (in-camera gags), as in this example from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) (via Glasgow Film Festival):

Pre-production and Post-Production – side-by-side showreel from previs production house The Third Floor:

Pre-productionside-by-side and purely previs videos from The Matrix films.

Compositing – a more detailed look at the layers which comprise VFX a shot:

Further Reading & Viewing

Case Study: more from The Third Floor – an in-depth look at the previs workflow from the Avengers films (read the full article on

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