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VFX Techniques from Ghostbusters 1984

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John Layton

on 19 February 2014

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Transcript of VFX Techniques from Ghostbusters 1984

VFX Techniques from Ghostbusters 1984 (Rooftop Scene)
Hardware & Software used!
Silicon Graphics
(SGI) manufactured high performance computer hardware incorporating framebuffer technologies.

The product used to render the effects in Ghostbusters was the
IRIS system

Favored choice of CGI film companies in the 1980's. It had it's own
built in geometry engine
to composite effects.

Final Scene
The scaled model of central park was centered around the
marshmallow man suit
, It was
which wasn’t a normal ratio and this made it difficult to find model cars to populate the streets. One of the team found a police car in a
Toys R Us
which was the right scale, so they rang around all the Toys R Us stores in California and
bought 300
, then they chopped them up and turned some into fire engines and ambulances. They turned some into
radio controlled cars
, drove one into a fire hydrant, made a small pump device to shoot a fine burst of sand up to simulate water, as you can see bottom left.
Matte Painting & Rotoscoping
articulated matte painted composite.

Each frame was cut out separately which was a very time consuming process.
Blue Screen
Stop Motion Animation

This particular shot incorporates most of the techniques, a
Matte painting
in the distant background, a
of Stay Puft in front,
around the building and actors to cut them out,
filmed pyrotechnics
scaled down and overlaid on the proton gun barrels and five levels of

hand drawn
classical animation
, frame by frame screened over that from an optical printer to make up the laser streams.
Who ya gonna call?... Richard Edlund!
Matte-Painting continued
Matte artist
Matthew Yuricich
painted an 8 foot wide photo-realistic
painting on glass.
This needed to be very detailed as it was a key pullback shot.

The result looked too static so he
scratched off the paint
in the centre to show the transparent glass, then scaled down some footage of people moving as a rear process plate, and put it behind the painting to give it more movement.

This scratching technique is also used to shine a lamp behind and create lights in the buildings.
VFX supervisor

Star Wars, Raiders Of the Lost Ark & Poltergeist

In 1983 he assembled a team to work on Ghostbusters and thus
started the company Boss Films.

The effects in Ghostbusters ended up costing
$5.6 million dollars

Ghostbusters was
Oscar nominated for Best Visual Effects 
at the 57th Academy Awards ceremony for Best visual Effects.
Combination of
miniature set, Blue screen, & Matte painting .
Blue screen in studio
Miniature set with performer

Matte Painted Building
All composited together
Mixture of
¼ scale stop motion clay models

Full scale Hand puppets

The animation was done in front of a blue screen to make it easier to key out the background in post.

Mixture of scaled down
live explosions
& 5 layers of
drawn animation

The live pyro was filmed on a stage, then re-photographed with a technique called
they then miniaturized the explosions and overlaid them onto the guns nozzles.

Laser Streams
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