First time posting in VFX so go gentle if this is in the wrong place...
I’d like to start learning about visual effects and visual effects cinematography. I’m a huge film fan and got into the industry a few years ago as a camera assistant which is something I still do and absolutely love doing, but I would really like to work with 2nd Unit’s and visual effects crews if I could, so to help me get there I’d really like to begin to understand the craft, techniques and everything else involved.
What I’m looking for is a recommended way to start researching / engrossing myself in this aspect of filmmaking and hoped people on this forum could offer advice. I realise I’m not going to learn it overnight and just want start building up knowledge as quickly as I can over time. Are there basic concepts and theories that need to be learned before looking at actual techniques? Or is it better just to study films and learn how the effects in those films were created i.e. looking at the Stan Winston School tutorials, YouTube documentaries and so forth.
I have to admit to being more in love with practical effect and doing effects in camera, but I think that’s just because I was bought up in the 80’s and 90’s on action films and sci-fi! At the same time I’m completely fascinated by CGI, and even more so by the combination of the two, there’s been a number of recent films that have blown me away in this regard (surprisingly one is Black Swan, just because of how well the visual effects were used so subtly).
I’ve recently purchased two books that I wanted to read:
> The Art and Science of Digital Compositing: Techniques for Visual Effects, Animation and Motion Graphics
> Techniques of Special Effects of Cinematography
Both of which seem to be great resources, however I feel that perhaps I need a better understanding of VFX before I can get the most out of them – especially the second which refers to a lot of film techniques that I am beginning to understand only through reading the book itself.
So after that ramble – I guess I’m asking for advice on how I should approach learning such a huge subject and could anyone offer recommendations for resources including; books, forums, websites, videos etc. which would help me get started? Obviously, I’d love to start doing it rather than reading about it but I haven’t found my way in just yet!
Finally, what is the difference between special effects and visual effects (if any), and what term best describes purely computer generated effects (CGI?) Also, where does Virtual Cinematography fit in!
Thanks for reading and for any suggestions,