Imagination

     
 
This iMovie exercise teaches:
 


● How to create illusion with stop action, superimposition, and matte shooting
● How Méliès made movies out of impossible actions
● How “special effects” are as old as the movies

(Instructions for Windows Movie Maker are here).
 
  1. Download this footage. Download this matte. The matte is an image of the Paris Exposition of 1900.  
  2. Create a new widescreen iMovie project. Call it "Imagination." Import "FauxMelies1.mov" into iMovie. Preview it in the Clip Trimmer.  
  Use Méliès' original special effect—stop-action photography—to wrest "magic" from this 2 minutes 30 seconds shot. The camera in "FauxMelies1.mov" remains immobile, as Méliès' camera almost always did.  
  Using the Clip Trimmer, trim "FauxMelies1.mov" into 11 shots. Terminate and begin sequential shots where an actor freezes or "reacts" by cutting away any intervening footage. For instance, create shot 1 and shot 2 this way:  
 
Shot

>Begins
Ends]
 
What happens
1
 
Man 1 points with his wand towards screen left
         
2
  Man 1 recoils in surprise when the couch "appears."
         
  You just worked beside Méliès to re-invent the original special effect—stop-action cinematography. You're done! Your movie looks something like this.  
 
 
  3. Play more? Drag the matte, "exposition—black.jpg" into the project. Select Picture-in-Picture. Drag "exposition—black.jpg" to a spot on the backdrop it blocks neither actor. Resize if necessary. Add a frame? Brighten or darken (Video>Exposure)?  
  With the matte added, your movie looks something like this. You just re-invented the matte shot, Méliès's second special effect.
 
 
 
  4. Even more? Download this footage to rework Méliès's third favorite illusion, superimposition. With stop-action, freeze frames, and layering. shape it into your personal version of a Méliès classic, L'homme Orchestre (1900).  
 
 
 
Melies, One Man Band