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Special Effects—Titanic and Beyond

Viewing Ideas


Before Watching

  1. Have students think of and list the most enjoyable movies they have seen. Then have them list their favorite scenes from those movies. How do students think the scenes were made?

  2. Lead a discussion about why special effects might be important in a movie (such as, used in a scene that would otherwise be too expensive, too dangerous, or take too much time to re-create, or in a scene that couldn't be shot without special effects, or to create a place that was purely imaginary).

  3. As students watch, have them take notes about how each special effect is accomplished, paying attention to two different kinds of techniques: mechanical (in which a trick is staged for the camera, like a person sitting in a car in front of a moving background image of street scenes), and visual (in which two or more elements are photographed separately and then combined, like an explosion of a model building that is later merged with a film clip of a cityscape).

After Watching

  1. Discuss with students some of the techniques used to create special effects. What techniques, if any, surprised them and why? Have students revisit their movie list and reflect on what special effects might have been used to create their favorite scenes.

  2. Work with an art teacher to introduce students to the elements of perspective drawing, such as shadow, light and vanishing point.

Teacher's Guide
Special Effects—Titanic and Beyond
PROGRAM OVERVIEW VIEWING IDEAS CLASSROOM ACTIVITY IDEAS FROM TEACHERS RELATED NOVA RESOURCES INTERACTIVE FOR STUDENTS