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People mention missing practical effects and physical stunts in movies. I do to, but what I really miss are sets.

It was better when movies had to actually find or build physical spaces for actors to inhabit. I don’t mind gee-whiz spectacle being done by computers so much, but it sucks that the spaces movies take place in all feel plastic and fake. Even a lot of non-“special effects” movies are using compositing to completely transform backgrounds and sets from how they look when they’re filmed.

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Like look at Grand Budapest Hotel vs. Wes Anderson’s earlier films. Rushmore benefitted a lot from being grounded in an actual, physical school. Some goofy overstylized composite setting wouldn’t have been the same.

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@bulkington I wouldn’t disparage composite settings entirely. They got to a “in camera effect” all time high works of art somewhere in the 90s. Like The Addams Family has some amazingly beautiful matte painting backgrounds as relatively physical elements of the shots still. It’s not necessarily that digital compositing is bad, just that because it’s so easy some of the constraints that made it high art fell away, right?

@bulkington Relatedly, I’m fascinated by Disney’s The Volume (used/debuted in The Mandalorian). So often a problem with digital composites is the lighting just feels wrong no matter how much digital artists work to try to fix it. The Volume sacrifices raw “matte painting” rendering quality (because backgrounds have to be able to run real time in Unreal), but throws light at the set and at the camera so much better. I think its a key to better composites moving forward.

@bulkington the big thing i really miss is the sense of actual physical mass in puppets

it's not even the subtle shit, it's the design of the things themselves - when you don't have to be even temporarily aerodynamic or structurally sound it's too easy to make all the lines feel arbitrary and fail to convey weight or movement

@bulkington ...then again, i have a similar complaint about the aesthetics of modern architecture and those buildings actually exist (however briefly and however undesirably)

@carcinopithecus oh yeah. I’m an 80s baby. Puppet special effects are very close to my heart. But they were only ever in a small minority of movies. Digital compositing and computer rendering replacing real locations and constructed sets is something that has swept through the entire industry, even like comedies and mid-budget dramas and stuff.

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