On the screen, we see the outcome of special effects and good acting. However, behind the scenes, there are many people working on the special effects, with hundreds of takes for the actors and actresses to perfect the scenes, and many more people working towards one production. On each movie, television (TV) show, or documentary, there are about 308 people (on average) working on the production.
Of the 308 people who are part of a production, there are seven producers. Those seven producers deal with the pre-production, which is the planning, casting for roles, and scriptwriting. Throughout the production, they coordinate with the Director on decisions for shots, angles, and other creative aspects. When they coordinate, it also helps the process meet deadlines and keep on track. As the production wraps up, the Producers deal with the legal aspects such as the finances, copyrights, etc.
Besides the Producer and Director deciding on the scenes and keeping the production on track, the camera and sound departments are just as important. Since no one is perfect, it can take from 1-100 shots to get the scene perfect. In order for the scene to be perfect, the camera has to be the correct ISO, Shutter Speed, Iris, and quality. On top of those, there are filters and color-balancing that either help or hurt the look of the scene. There are also different angles the camera operators have to get, and lighting for those angles as well.
Arguably more difficult than the camera is sound since in a production, whether it is a movie, TV show, documentary, or live news, there are multiple types of microphones for each genre. For movies, the production could either use lavalier microphones, which attach to the person by clipping onto their clothes, or shotgun microphones, which are attached to a 3-foot stick called a ‘boom pole’ which is held by a person. The last of the microphones, usually used for live news broadcasts, is a stick microphone. However, despite the type of microphone, they have mostly the same technical aspects such as sensitivity, channels, and connecting it to a transmitter which then connects it to a receiver. To connect the transmitters and receivers, they have to be on the same channel and sensitivity, if they aren’t, the outcome can range from a deafening blast to a scratchy sound.
Once the production has been produced or filmed, it gets sent to the special effects department, where about 156 artists and animators create effects in 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional styles. With many movies being about at least an hour long, there is also an hour worth of effects to make. For scenes shot on greenscreens, the backgrounds have to be created and the editors would have to edit it in to make the backgrounds visible, the animators then also have to clean up the lighting to fit the background setting. For example, the scene in Harry Potter when Harry and a few other characters were flying through Hogwarts was originally shot on greenscreen. So, the animators had to make the background, put it into the movie, then smooth it out to make it look surreal.
As movie posters fill the frames in the theaters, that movie could take up to 308 people and many months or years to create. So the next time you go to a theater, remember that 308 people worked very long and very hard to create that one movie for you to see.