Emotion of Visual Effects

Robert Legato, the visual effects supervisor of Avatar, Hugo, Titanic and others, talks about what he is trying to achieve when creating visual effects. Sure, he wants to the audience believe what they’re seeing but it goes beyond that. He wants to create emotion. After filming a sequence, he screens the scenes for a real audience and watches: where do their eyes go, what do they react to as they are watching. He follows up by talking to them about the experience. As he says of his work:

If you believed any of the stuff that I just showed you, what you were emoting to is something that’s a total falsehood. I find that really kind of fascinating.

These scenes are sometimes mixed with actual footage (Titanic, Apollo 13) and everything else is pieced together from sets and unexpected materials in parking lots, garages, warehouses; you name it.

The talk is fascinating in how it presents the illusion of film, and Legato’s humor keeps you watching through the 16 minutes. The write up on the TED blog is also worth reading because it talks about the film visuals that influenced Legato (though I dare say, there aren’t any real surprises), that he aimed to embody in his own art.

- via TED Blog

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