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Special effects are basically divided into two main categories of visual effects and mechanical effects. "Visual effects" refer to digital post-production, based on computer graphic (3d) and compositing. Mechanical effects (also called practical or physical effects) are usually accomplished during the live-action and Demo shooting. This includes the use of mechanized props, scenery, scale models, pyrotechnics and Atmospheric Effects: creating physical wind, rain, fog, snow, clouds etc.

In Table Top shooting we use a different approach for the realization of special effects. The shooting usually takes place in a real and very small Set (we talk about centimeters, and most often of millimeters), so the effect needs to work in a very small area. Also, any effect has to be constructed in its own way since Clients almost always ask for something new and different from their competitors. Therefore, in order to find the most spectacular results, the job on the Set is more similar to that of an inventor or prop builder.

Special Effects are not directly related to high speed shooting because beautiful effects can be created using any speed. On the other hand, to capture the details and ensure professional results, super macro lenses (such as Boroscope CPT) are required.

Most often, for technical reasons, real products or actual ingredients are not used. Instead, it is preferable to adopt special materials and models which are not affected by high temperatures generated by lights used on the Set.

The preparation and testing of any special effect is very important because once the effect is found it is also important to be able to replicate it many times during the shooting session. This allows for any adjustment and correction to the light without losing the movement of materials and the reaction of the product.