15 Photos That Show How Special Effects Were Done in the Past

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Iconic movies from many years ago were brought to life in the most ingenious ways because technology like computer-generated imagery (CGI) was not as developed as it is today. In Back To The Future, for example, it took a village to pull the strings in order to get the effects of the auto-adjusting jacket. Filmmakers then may have faced many limitations, but this never stopped them from making their movies believable with the help of pre-CGI special effects.

ViralSection dug out some behind-the-scenes photos of older movies to see how special effects were achieved back in the day.

1. In Star Wars: A New Hope (1977), a mirror was used to give the effect of flying.

15 Photos That Show How Special Effects Were Done in the Past

2. In Back To The Future Part II (1989), the auto-adjusting jacket had strings that were pulled by a number of the staff.

15 Photos That Show How Special Effects Were Done in the Past

3. In Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999), the audience was made of colored Q-tips and a fan blew from underneath so the crowd appeared to be moving.

15 Photos That Show How Special Effects Were Done in the Past

4. In Elf (2003), platforms and forced perspective were used to make Will Farrell appear bigger.

15 Photos That Show How Special Effects Were Done in the Past

5. In Ghostbusters (1984), the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man was a person in costume walking on top of a miniature set.

15 Photos That Show How Special Effects Were Done in the Past

6. In 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), a rotating Ferris wheel like set was built to give the effect of zero gravity when the man walks.

15 Photos That Show How Special Effects Were Done in the Past

7. In The Terminator (1984), the Terminator was carried like a backpack in some scenes.

15 Photos That Show How Special Effects Were Done in the Past

8. In Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times (1936), the roller skating scene was done with a photo on a glass in a frame.

15 Photos That Show How Special Effects Were Done in the Past

9. In The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Yoda was a puppet played by Frank Oz.

15 Photos That Show How Special Effects Were Done in the Past

10. In Superman (1978), instead of being suspended by wire, the actors were propped up for the flying scene.

15 Photos That Show How Special Effects Were Done in the Past

11. In Return of the Jedi (1983), Jabba’s rancor was brought to life like this.

15 Photos That Show How Special Effects Were Done in the Past

12. In Mary Poppins (1964), a sodium screen was used to put in the animation and backgrounds.

15 Photos That Show How Special Effects Were Done in the Past

13. In Jurassic Park (1993), life-sized animatronics were used for the dinosaurs.

15 Photos That Show How Special Effects Were Done in the Past

14. In Back To The Future Part II (1989), the hoverboard was glued to Michael J. Fox’s feet to get the hovering effect.

15 Photos That Show How Special Effects Were Done in the Past

15. In the original Star Wars trilogy (1977-1983), detailed matte paintings were used as backgrounds.

15 Photos That Show How Special Effects Were Done in the Past

Which of these movies have you watched that made you feel impressed with how realistic they seemed? Can you name any other movies that use creative, old-school special effects?

Preview photo credit Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace / Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC

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