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Plastic RealitySpecial Effects, Technology, and the Emergence of 1970s Blockbuster Aesthetics$
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Julie Turnock

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231163538

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231163538.001.0001

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Optical Animation

Optical Animation

Special Effects Compositing Up to 1977

(p.21) 1 Optical Animation
Plastic Reality

Julie A. Turnock

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses studio-era special effects from the 1930s to the 1960s, and 1970s special effects. The studio era had mostly been concerned with maintaining the more naturalistic “classical” style. Most importantly, special effects in the studio era were achieved as simply, economically, and efficiently as possible. By the 1970s, special effects became conspicuous and a more visible form of special effects emerged. Filmmaking in the 1970s tends to be divided into two periods—the naturalistic “New Wave” period and the spectacular “blockbuster” era. However, filmmakers like Lucas, Coppola, and Spielberg suggest that they saw the turn toward intensified, visible special effects as enabling an alternative style of realism. The technological prominence of special effects in the 1970s eventually transformed almost all the areas of cinematic production.

Keywords:   studio-era special effects, 1970s special effects, New Wave period, blockbuster era, realism, cinematic production

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