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A cinematic journey through visual effects - Don Levy

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It's been 110 years since Georges Méliès sent a spaceship slamming into the eye of the man on the moon. So how far have visual effects come since then? Working closely with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Don Levy takes us on a visual journey through special effects, from the fakery of early technology to the seamless marvels of modern filmmaking.

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Georges Méliès is considered the first filmmaker to use special effects. Watch his most well-known film, "Journey to the Moon." And then check out this Smashing Pumpkins music video based on the original!The Lumiere brothers were also early film pioneers. Legend has it that when their film "Arrival of theTrain at La Ciotat Station" was shown for the first time, moviegoers screamed and ran to the back of the room for fear of being run over by approaching the train on the screen.The illusion of cinema is based on the idea of persistence of vision. Here are some simple projects you can try to test out this phenomenon.Italian scholar Giambattista della Porta's most famous work was titled "Natural Magic." He was also a cryptographer and playwright, and was even documented to have written secret messages to his friends in prison on the insides of eggs! Images from his book on human physiognomy are now available online.Don Levy's TED Talk took us on a journey through the history of special effects. See more in A brief history of special effects through pictures from TIME.Not all special effects succeed in creating a perfect sense of illusion. Here are 24 of the worst special effects of all time.Animation is used everywhere to communicate big ideas--in movies, television, and media. Do you ever stop and wonder about the magic of it all? And have you ever wanted to create your own special effects? TED-Ed animators show just how easy (and fun) homemade special effects can be.

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  • Speaker Don Levy

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