Studio backlot tank with model ships.
The major U.S. and European film studios establish effects departments to
accommodate the demand for visual and mechanical effects.
Willis O'Brien is technical director of "The Lost World," for which he animates
49 prehistoric animals with stop motion. Astonished critics wonder if the
creatures are real.
The $4 million epic "Ben-Hur" is released. The ill-starred production begins
with location shooting in Italy and is recalled to the studio, amid
skyrocketing costs and rumors that extras were killed in the filming of a sea
battle. Back in Hollywood, Cedric Gibbons and A. Arnold Gillespie devise
special effects to complete the film, including a hanging miniature. Forty
two cameras cover the climactic chariot race scene. Five horses are killed in a
Hanging miniature of coliseum for "Ben Hur".
Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" premieres, featuring a dazzling array of
state-of-the-art special effects techniques: miniatures, glass shots,
mechanical effects, and animation. Lang's virtuoso effects artist, Eugene
Shuftan, also invents the Shuftan process, which allows full-size actors to
appear in miniature sets through a variation on the glass shot.
Linwood G. Dunn joins RKO Pictures and raises optical printing to an art form
in his 25-year tenure, contributing to classics like "Flying Down to Rio,"
"Citizen Kane," and "King Kong." With Cecil Love, Dunn designs the
Oscar-winning Acme-Dunn Special Effects optical printer. The optical printer
remains the foundation of visual effects until the 1990s, when digital
compositing becomes feasible. Dunn continued his influential career until
Linwood Dunn with Acme-Dunn optical printer
Photos: (1,2) Bison Archives; (3) Linwood Dunn.
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