Does Interstellar have a good CGI

These 15 cool special effects were shot without CGI

Wild animals, dangerous stunts and exploding cities: the more blatant the special effects in the film, the more likely they were created with the help of CGI. But not every filmmaker relies solely on the power of modern computers. We present you 15 cool effects that were created without a computer.

No matter how unrealistic a film scene should be - CGI ("Computer Generated Imagery") makes it possible. Nowadays ... For most of film history, the makers of special effects had to dig deep into their bag of tricks. The results ranged from under all pig to truly impressive. We took a look at the last decades of film history and listed 15 of the coolest special effects chronologically without any involvement of CGI. Yes, there are many current blockbusters among them. And that has nothing to do with nostalgia. Because often a prop created with great attention to detail looks more realistic than a computer-rendered image.

1. Stargate sequence in "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968)

When the science fiction film "2001: A Space Odyssey" was released in 1968, there was still no CGI in film. So Stanley Kubrick had no choice but to produce special effects like the stargate sequence in a different way. The psychedelic scene was created using the so-called slitscan technique. The camera drove with the shutter open past a slot behind which there were different colored lights. The long exposure time created light streak effects like when photographing cars driving by at night. For the time, the Kubricks tricks were revolutionary.

2. Chestburster scene in "Alien" (1979)

A good ten years later, computer technology was already one step further - in 1979, for example, the Atari 400 and 800 models came onto the market. However, this technique hadn't really made it into film. In the first "Alien" part, Ridley Scott also relied on the skills of the talented artist HR Giger, who even received an Oscar in 1980 for the visual effects in the sci-fi horror film. The actors also had to experience firsthand how realistic his models looked: During the filming of the famous chestburster scene, only actor John Hurt knew what was about to break out of his chest. This enabled the film team to capture the faces of actors who were actually shocked.

3. Most of "Tron" (1982)

The Disney film, released in 1982, marks a milestone in film history - because part of the scenery was computer-generated. But only a part, namely around 20 of the 96 minutes of film. What some people don't think: A large part of the scenes that take place inside a computer were realized using elaborate backlit animation. Each shot is first filmed in black and white, then enlarged on film with very high contrast and then colored and retouched using laborious analogue photo technology. The whole thing is necessary picture by picture, by the way. Entire truckloads of film strips were necessary for "Tron".

4. "The Journey into the Self" (1987)

Downsized people, journeys through the human bloodstream, and human transformations - all of this cries out for CGI. But not one scene in the 1987 film "Die Reise ins Ich" was made on the computer. Instead, director Joe Dante relied on child actors, oversized backdrops and playing with perspective. Human transformations were the result of the actors' timing and speed. Respect!

5. Arnie's robot head in "Total Recall" (1990)

In "Total Recall" from 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger alias Douglas Quaid uses a robot head as a camouflage. But the head suddenly leads a life of its own, no longer functions properly and finally breaks. For the roughly 90-second scene in which Arnie removes the robot head, a total of five different heads with different mechanical functions were built. Incidentally, one was so heavy that it could only be moved with the help of hydraulics. Arnie then had to position himself under the huge machinery and stick his head into the mask. Brave...

6. Reboot of the T-800 in "Terminator 2" (1991)

In fact, this scene didn't make it at all in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, but luckily it was featured as bonus material in James Cameron's Director's Cut Edition. It shows Linda Hamilton aka Sarah Connor rebooting the T-800. You can see the "OP" on Arnie's open head through a mirror - which in reality is not a mirror at all. Linda Hamilton faces her twin sister instead of her own reflection, Arnold Schwarzenegger is doubled by a replica Terminator.

7. T-Rex & Velociraptor in Jurassic Park (1993)

Many are amazed how real the dinosaurs still look today when a rerun of the first "Jurassic Park" from 1993 is shown on television. There is a simple reason for this: instead of CGI, Steven Spielberg often relied on life-size models - for example the T-Rex, a hydraulically movable doll with a latex skin weighing more than four tons. The raptors who chase the children in a later scene were in turn played by special effects experts in dinosaur suits. To do this, they studied the movement pattern of the Velociraptor and forced themselves into the costumes in the ski jumper position.

8. Weightlessness in "Apollo 13" (1995)

Ron Howard also belongs on the list of cunning directors with cool ideas for special effects without CGI. Actually, the ulterior motive in this case is simple: Instead of simulating weightlessness in the 1995 drama "Apollo 13", Howard sent actors Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise and Kevin Bacon on a plane that flew a parabola and lovingly wrote "The Vomit Comet "was called. As a result, they were actually in weightlessness, if the scene provided for it that way. In total, the shooting required around 600 parabolic flights or around four hours of weightlessness. But then there was also praise from Buzz Aldrin!

9. Explosions in "Independence Day" (1996)

If aliens were New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. want to destroy, then CGI has to be involved, right? Not when you can spend $ 75 million on models and blowing them up again. That is exactly what Roland Emmerich and his special effects crew did in "Independence Day" in 1996. The fact that the explosions sometimes seem to spread horizontally was realized with models lying on their side and cleverly chosen camera positions. As a viewer, you feel right in the middle of it all.

10. Size differences in "The Lord of the Rings" (2001-2003)

Hobbits are "60 to 120 centimeters tall human-like beings", you can read about the fictional characters of J. R. R. Tolkien on Wikipedia. But what if they are to be embodied in the film adaptation of "The Lord of the Rings" by actors of normal stature? Then you have to dig into your bag of tricks as deeply as director Peter Jackson. In some scenes, for example, Frodo was doubled by children, but many shots were also created with the so-called creative or forced perspective. You probably know this effect from pictures in which people seem to straighten the Leaning Tower of Pisa or hold the Eiffel Tower between two fingers. For the scene in which Elijah Wood and Ian McKellen alias Gandalf sit together in the carriage, Frodo was placed a few meters away from Gandalf. With the camera close to the wizard and far away from the hobbit, the impression arises as if Elijah Wood is much smaller than Ian McKellen.

11. Truck somersault in "The Dark Knight" (2008)

When as many cars and trucks are to be demolished like in this chase in "The Dark Knight", directors usually rely either on CGI or on miniature models. But not Christopher Nolan. He just blocked some streets in Chicago and let a real truck do a somersault. How? With the help of a steam piston mechanism specially built for the stunt, which catapulted the truck meters high into the air.

12. Fight on the hotel corridor in "Inception" (2010)

Christopher Nolan appears several times in this top list. At least as spectacular as the filming of "The Dark Knight" must have been on the set of "Inception". In order to film the fight scene with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a hotel corridor, in which he and his opponent share the ceiling and walls, a 30-meter-long rotating hotel corridor was set up in an aircraft hangar. In addition to strenuous training for the actors, it took around 500 crew members and three weeks to complete the scene.

13. Fight on a moving train in "James Bond 007: Skyfall" (2012)

If someone doesn't need CGI for special effects, it's James Bond - especially if he's played by Daniel Craig. Right in the opening scene of "Skyfall" things really get down to business when 007 fights any mercenary on a moving train. How to shoot such a scene? By putting the actors on a moving train and, of course, letting them fight ... Bond and his shooting partner were only secured by ropes as thin as a finger, which could easily be removed in post-production as they were hardly noticeable during the shoot.

14. TARS in "Interstellar" (2014)

The last two items on the top list belong to lovingly designed robots. Although it would be easy nowadays to render non-human actors into a film using CGI, some directors keep opting for the classic variant: model making. This is all the more impressive when, as in the case of TARS from the sci-fi blockbuster "Interstellar", it is a 100 kilogram doll that actually interacted with the actors. For this, Christopher Nolan had several variants built that could be moved in different ways. Yes, Christopher Nolan is a fan of particularly realistic special effects ...

15. BB-8 in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Of course, CGI was also used in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" from 2015. But only as much as is absolutely necessary. The little droid BB-8, for example, is real. A total of seven different models were used in the shooting of the star saga. That also made it easier for actors Daisy Ridley, aka Rey, and John Boyega, aka Finn, to interact with the robot on set. By the way, every BB-8 fan can now do that too: The droid is available in miniature format from the robot manufacturer Sphero.