Manufactured Authenticity: Invisible Effects

I've posted on VFX a couple of times previous, but both cases were about spectacular ones. Effects of this ilk are showpieces and stand-outs, achievements in bringing fantasy to life. Most of the VFX work, however, is invisible. Nearly every movie utilizes some image tweak in DI. For example, a director may be unhappy with the color of a given scene, which is an easy fix by way of color correction. These "effects" are not evident for a reason: they are supposed to seem real in a way that doesn't dazzle you, but goes unnoticed instead. (Here we enter the murky territory of "realism" in the digital age.)

Click here to watch a VFX reel which showcases many invisible effects in Black Mass. Make note of the following changes: color correction, removing leaves from a tree, covering up (and in one case removing) a new building for a period film, adding snow, making the greyish Florida coastline blue, and adding crowds. These effects are not revolutionary but that's part of the point. Movies such as this one, period films in particular, aim toward authenticity. As I've discussed elsewhere, that authenticity is a style which mimics photographic realism. This example, and many others reveal the manipulation and handiwork that creates something so seemingly real. We're in a tough spot in which we need to problematize realism just as it's creation is growing faker and yet more convincing as technology improves.