Producers in front of the glass matte painting used in "Dancer of the Nile"
Special effects become a moviemaker's staple as films move from
documentaries to dramatic stories, and the basic arsenal of trick techniques is
Edwin Porter's popular "The Great Train Robbery" features matte shots to
composite two separate images, placing a shot of a train into the window of a
Edwin Porter directs "The Teddy Bears," one of the earliest stop-motion
animation films. A short sequence of frolicking teddy bears, just over a minute
in length, takes 56 hours to animate.
Preparing glass mattes
Norman O. Dawn pioneers the glass shot
for motion pictures, a gag that
remains in the filmmaker's arsenal today. For "Missions of California,"
Dawn's innovation enabled directors to save money by only building a portion of
a set and filling in the rest with a painting. Dawn later invents the
stationary matte, the foundation of a technique allowing two shots to be
combined in one.
Richard Murphy creates a mechanical eagle for "The Eagle's Nest," the
forerunner of today's animatronic creatures such as ET and Jaws. The
stuffed eagle kidnaps a baby and battles the hero, played by silent director