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Special Effects in the Hunger Games Research Paper

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    The Hunger Games series have been a staple to the dystopian style of movie, which were based off the novels written by Suzanne Collins. These movies are a very entertaining and engrossing representation of the novels; the movies include many special visual effects which help lend to the movies’ realism and its gripping storyline. There are many types of special effects used in film including explosions, 3D, motion capture and many more. These effects help add to the realism of movies, from creating background elements such as trees, enemies and, hordes.

    The first installment of the movie series The Hunger Games used many effects throughout the film many of which are repeated multiple times; the first effect used was rendering in an arrow for her bow when she shot and removing one from her quiver. After leaving her district in the movie she was sent to Panem Capital in which most of the special effects are shown, which “were done by Rising Sun and Rhythm & Hues.” After making it through the city she gets sent to the training room to train which shows a few more special effects; such as the makeup used as camouflage for one of the characters, and the arrows as previously stated. After the training room she is sent to the arena in which is where the main effects are shown in the film “Sheena Duggal designed the hologram and desktops with Hybride, which was then shot green screen on desks..,” the whole arena was a computer simulation rendered into the movie with digitized trees, animals, as well as the hybrid mutts which I find to be a poorly animated enemy; “Hybride also handled the wall of fire shots,” which were also an effect used in the movie.

    A year later in the second installation The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was released with more special effects. In this movie the first major use of special effects were the Avenue of the Tributes, “divided primarily between Double Negative, Weta Digital and Method Studios,” in which they simulated the water falls, clapping, trees, water, horses, etc. The studios also used special effects on the actors clothing to give them the fire effects and wings with amazing lighting. “Throughout the Arena scenes we were required to create a wide range of digital trees,’ adds De Wet, ‘including cocoanut palm, date palm, monkeypod tree, Ficus benjamina, Katsura and a whole host of other plants, including Pothus and Mostera deliciosa, which are creeping plants which cover trunks of other trees. All these plants had to be modeled and then we had to simulate them moving in the breeze, which brought the whole thing to life. As well as vegetation, we were also required to produce animal life, namely the Jabberjays, a scampering lizard and some swarms of flying insects to give the jungle an uncomfortable, tropical feel,” to create amazing scenery for the film. Which was simulated many times throughout the film giving deep meaning and a personal touch to the film by the effects teams to make the movie work as well as it does.

    By 2015, another movie was added to the movie series called The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1, which added to the number and types of special effects, used throughout the series. Throughout the movie Rising Sun Pictures was hired to create many effects for the film, some of the effects are shown in the scene that, “takes place in a production studio with Katniss acting her part on a stage. Special effects technology is employed to make it appear as though she is standing in a battlefield surrounded by drone-like soldiers while making her patriotic pitch to the masses,” which is very realistic compared to the effects of its predecessors. “Soldiers placed farther back in the scene are digital doubles produced by RSP artists, working at the studio’s Adelaide facility under the supervision of visual effects supervisor Marc Varisco. They also created foreground rocks, debris and ground cover, applied smoke, haze and other atmospherics, and placed the hovercraft in the sky. The background environment, representing a ruined urban area, was composed from matte paintings sourced from photos of actual war-torn environments,” which is a use of many of special effects used in film. These effects are just a few of many effects the teams used in the film to convey many different environments such as background structures and large groups of people.

    The most recent addition to the series is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 2, which was equipped with the most realistic visual and special effects of its time. Charles Gibson the supervisor for the visual effects stated, “…The Capitol Sequence with Gale and Katniss and Snow’s execution represented our biggest Green Screen efforts: containers on three sides stacked six high in order to cast the appropriate shadows. Those sequences were all handled by Double Negative, London,” showing the effort put behind making these locations as realistic as possible. The communication between the director of effects and the movie is a major part in making an amazing combination between special effects, visual effects, and the stunts in a film. Charles Gibson states that he “had to maintain a sense of realism and scale with the destruction.” “A combination of some practical full-scale piece on location helped us, and then making sure there was enough detail in the extension portion of each shot.” Keeping a balance between the dystopia and still keeping it realistic to the real world.

    Special and visual effects are a major part of many movies. Special effects include, “3-D, Explosions, Motion Capture, Bullet Time, Animated CGI, Movie Monsters, CGI, Makeup, Motion Control, Doubling, Water Effects, Stop Motion, Matte Paintings, Miniatures, and Animation,” which lead to a large number of opportunities in films one never the same as another. The use of these effects in the films made the tetralogy a famous and wildly entertaining experience for all viewers by filling in background space with many important fillers such as trees, enemies, and water.

    Works Cited

    1. Desowitz, B. (2012, March 30). Retrieved from ‘The Hunger Games’: A VFX Blood Sport:
    2. Desowitz, B. (2013, December 2). Retrieved from Catching a More Intense ‘Hunger Games’ in ‘Catching Fire’:
    3. Inc., T. (2018, November 1). Retrieved from A Brief History of Movie Special Effects:,29307,2055255_2247284,00.html
    4. Ross, G. (Director). (2012). The Hunger Games [Motion Picture].
    5. Lawrence, F. (Director). (2013). The Hunger Games: Catching Fire [Motion Picture].
    6. Lawrence, F. (Director). (2014). The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1 [Motion Picture].
    7. Lawrence, F. (Director). (2015). The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 2 [Motion Picture].
    8. Pictures, R. S. (2018, November 1). Retrieved from THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1:, 3. (2015, December 15). 3dtotal. Retrieved from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2: Visual effects supervisor Charles Gibson interview:

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