Thanks to Advances in Technology, Video Special Effects Are a Dime a Dozen

If you're a big MTV fan, you may remember a time when cutting-edge videos cost about as much as the Apollo moon program – the crude computer animation of Dire Straits' “Money for Nothing,” the morphing effects of Michael Jackson's “Black and White,” and the list goes on and on. The fact is, though, that video special effects cost a lot less today than they used to, and you can easily avail yourself of the kind of jaw-dropping technology that only a pop superstar could afford back in the 1980’s.


You Can Have Big Special Effects on a Small Budget


Thanks to advances in computer technology combined with the miracle of miniaturization, computers are much cheaper and more powerful than they used to be, and computerized special effects have also come down in price and improved in “wow” factor. For only a few hundred dollars, and usually less, it's possible to buy a software package that allows you to:

  • Morph one image into another
  • Simulate a realistic explosion
  • Create a computer-animated “virtual” spokesperson
  • Simulate the set of a science-fiction movie
  • Make live actors suddenly appear and disappear
  • Splice together two video streams to show you “talking” to yourself
  • Render your live-action footage as animation
  • Simulate the effect of weightlessness or floating on air


Granted, these software packages won't let you achieve the seamless special effects of big-budget Hollywood movies. But, when you compare what's available to the average consumer now compared to 20 or even 10 years ago, the difference is truly amazing. Back in the infancy of computer animation, it cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce a two-minute video clip. Now you can achieve the same effect with the free software installed on your new computer!


You Don't Have to Break the Bank on Special Effects


Many novice video producers are surprised to learn that special effects are often the cheapest component of a TV commercial or YouTube promotional clip. Far more costly are the cameras and sound equipment, the studio or on-location set, and the on-screen talent. Want to know more? Call the video production experts at Gearshift (703-962-1270) to learn about your special effects options and which once-extravagant effects now sit squarely within your budget!