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Cool Videos: The visual effects of Black Swan

01.27.2011

It may not have been nominated in the Oscar catagory, but BLACK SWAN did have a number of really cool visual effects that were seamlessly integrated into the film.

Not to get too spoiler-y here, but Natalie Portman's "transformation" was perhaps the greatest moment of the film, but there were subtler instances of CGI even before that.

This video is from effects studio Look Effects (via Rope of Silicon), and it shows the behind the scenes of how these moments came to be. It's cool to see the process, and one that doesn't involve everyone standing around in a room painted green wearing bodysuits with glowing balls attached to them. Check it out below:

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Extra Tidbit: Also, how did BLACK SWAN not get nominated for Best Make-Up? I mean, I know two whole films may seem like an overly crowded field, but they probably could have thrown one more in there.
Source: Rope of Silicon

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2:14PM on 01/27/2011

Woooooah

This is mind-blowing and upsetting. My biggest complaint was the 'awkward CG' they used for the leg breaking part, but now that I see it's not CG...I feel like I need new eyes.

That and it's a little depressing to think Portman hardly did any of her own dancing when they seemed to advertise the fact that she did.
This is mind-blowing and upsetting. My biggest complaint was the 'awkward CG' they used for the leg breaking part, but now that I see it's not CG...I feel like I need new eyes.

That and it's a little depressing to think Portman hardly did any of her own dancing when they seemed to advertise the fact that she did.
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5:25PM on 01/27/2011
I mean, I knew she had a dance double but I thought it was only for complicated long shots or shots of her feet. I had no idea some of the close-ups were also the double.

It doesn't make the work she did any less impressive, I just feel silly that I was duped into thinking it was her. You win, Black Swan, for being successful in your trickery. I applaud you.
I mean, I knew she had a dance double but I thought it was only for complicated long shots or shots of her feet. I had no idea some of the close-ups were also the double.

It doesn't make the work she did any less impressive, I just feel silly that I was duped into thinking it was her. You win, Black Swan, for being successful in your trickery. I applaud you.
3:39PM on 01/27/2011
The thing is, it's really hard to look like a real professional ballerina when you aren't one. No matter how great of an actor you are. It takes years, and years, and years of training, and honing, and perfecting.

9 months of training for a movie isn't going to cover it, no matter how intense it is. It'll cover upper body work well enough, which is why the movie has so many medium shots of her, then cut aways to her legs by themselves.
The thing is, it's really hard to look like a real professional ballerina when you aren't one. No matter how great of an actor you are. It takes years, and years, and years of training, and honing, and perfecting.

9 months of training for a movie isn't going to cover it, no matter how intense it is. It'll cover upper body work well enough, which is why the movie has so many medium shots of her, then cut aways to her legs by themselves.
2:50PM on 01/27/2011
I agree with the second point you made.. I saw the head replacement part and was like uhhhhh what?...
I agree with the second point you made.. I saw the head replacement part and was like uhhhhh what?...
4:31PM on 01/27/2011

WOW

Yeah, I agree with what Rasporange Pant said: I thought Portman did all the dance. I though that was a big part why she's been nominated. Of course the actual acting was out-standing. I'm surprised at how much CG was put into this movie. This video was great!
Yeah, I agree with what Rasporange Pant said: I thought Portman did all the dance. I though that was a big part why she's been nominated. Of course the actual acting was out-standing. I'm surprised at how much CG was put into this movie. This video was great!
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4:53PM on 01/27/2011

Extra Tidbit

I'm repeating something I discussed with a fellow MFCer (concerning Scott Pilgrim's lack of VFX Oscar nod):

I wish films got more recognition for their application of visual effects instead of how many trillions of pixels they can push on the screen.

The work here is so seamless, and used in conjunction with practical effects (camera tricks, prosthetics, etc.), all in the service of the story. This is real artistry and skill.
I'm repeating something I discussed with a fellow MFCer (concerning Scott Pilgrim's lack of VFX Oscar nod):

I wish films got more recognition for their application of visual effects instead of how many trillions of pixels they can push on the screen.

The work here is so seamless, and used in conjunction with practical effects (camera tricks, prosthetics, etc.), all in the service of the story. This is real artistry and skill.
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7:22PM on 01/27/2011
Yes, what you're saying would be true - if Tron got nominated as well.
Yes, what you're saying would be true - if Tron got nominated as well.
6:38PM on 01/27/2011
I was definitely surprised with how much CGI Aronfksy used in Black Swan. He has always been so against it but he did a great job mixing it with the practical effects. Great little warm-up for The Wolverine which no doubt will have more CGI used.

It still blows my mind that zero CGI was used for the space spots in The Fountain. If i recall the only CGI used in that film was when The Conquestedor Tommy drinks from the Fountain of Youth and flowers begin to bloom from this body. Even more
I was definitely surprised with how much CGI Aronfksy used in Black Swan. He has always been so against it but he did a great job mixing it with the practical effects. Great little warm-up for The Wolverine which no doubt will have more CGI used.

It still blows my mind that zero CGI was used for the space spots in The Fountain. If i recall the only CGI used in that film was when The Conquestedor Tommy drinks from the Fountain of Youth and flowers begin to bloom from this body. Even more amazing is the emerging plants were practical and only the blooming flowers on top were CGI.
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7:42PM on 01/27/2011
The Fountain used microscopic photography for those space scenes. Crazy stuff.
The Fountain used microscopic photography for those space scenes. Crazy stuff.
7:40PM on 01/27/2011
Hey, Micheal Bay/Paul WS Anderson/Every Other Shitty Director that relies on CGI to further their worthless careers, this is how you use CGI properly in a film.
Hey, Micheal Bay/Paul WS Anderson/Every Other Shitty Director that relies on CGI to further their worthless careers, this is how you use CGI properly in a film.
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12:58AM on 01/28/2011
Seems like a lot of FX work for stuff that could/should have been practical.
The whole reason you never saw it as CG is because it's not a FX movie, your eye isn't consciously lookng out for it, in fact it's doing the opposite.
Seems like a lot of FX work for stuff that could/should have been practical.
The whole reason you never saw it as CG is because it's not a FX movie, your eye isn't consciously lookng out for it, in fact it's doing the opposite.
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8:36PM on 01/28/2011
Yeah, I guess they should have hired vampires for cameramen, implanted years of ballet training in Natalie Portman's head, and genetically modified her to grow feathers.

It doesn't matter if it's an fx movie or not, people certainly noticed the CGI in Zodiac.
Yeah, I guess they should have hired vampires for cameramen, implanted years of ballet training in Natalie Portman's head, and genetically modified her to grow feathers.

It doesn't matter if it's an fx movie or not, people certainly noticed the CGI in Zodiac.
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