How some cool silent film effects were done

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Thanks Auir2Blaze

"The craziest thing about silent movie effects is that everything basically had to be done in camera.
If you were filming multiple elements to create a complex shot that contained multiple elements and you messed up one part, the whole piece of film would be ruined."

"There are a lot of other cool techniques that I didn't include. Maybe the most cutting edge one was the Schufftan process, which Metropolis was the first film to use."

"Another simple, but very effective trick, was suspending miniature models in front of the camera. These huge machines from Modern Times were actual models hung carefully in front of the camera to create a trick of perspective."

"And maybe one of the most famous special effects shots of the silent era, the parting of the Red Sea in the Cecil B. DeMille's original version of the Ten Commandments (1923) was actually pretty straight forward: Water was poured into a gelatin mold made to look like the sea, and the result footage was reversed to make it look like the water was rushing out."





[–]nc863id 524 points  
Another simple, but very effective trick, was suspending miniature models in front of the camera. These huge machines from Modern Times were actual models hung carefully in front of the camera to create a trick of perspective.
Is this to say that these shots were done in a single take using forced perspective? If so, I'm trying to wrap my head around how much depth of field these shots are exhibiting, considering how much closer the models would have to be to the lens than the action going on...which then makes me think of how small an aperture the lenses must have...which then goes on to how much light must have been needed to get a proper exposure, especially with film that must have been rather insensitive by modern standards...which then spins off onto a semi-related tangent about how difficult it must have been to properly and consistently light the model and the background separately.
Holy shit.
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