What are Visual Effects (VFX)

BEAT co-founder Richard Pritchard was a member of the team that created VFX for the film Prometheus including this background image.

-Copyright 20th Century Fox

Visual effects (abbreviated VFX) involve the integration of live-action footage and computer generated imagery to create environments and characters which look realistic, but would be dangerous, costly, or simply impossible to capture on film.

almost all blockbusters rely on visual effects, so they hire VFX companies like ILM to create these amazing images.

Behind the Magic: The Visual Effects of Star Wars: The Force Awakens By ILM.

There are many stages that require a high level of technical artistry in which hundreds of professionals spend many years continually learning and developing software. There is no single app solution for high end visual effects they are a collaboration of passionate artists and software technicians working to bring characters and stories to life.

big blockbusters = big budgets

Behind the Magic: The Visual Effects of 'Transformers Age of Extinction' By ILM.

The film industry is a multi billion dollar marketplace; the top 100 highest grossing films in history were predominantly driven by visual effects. Many of these films are targeted at youth aged 6 to 17 who are drawn to the spectacular visuals and engaging stories. 

Richard worked as a Visual Development Artist on Fury Road for George Miller's KMM. - Behind the Magic: iloura VFX breakdown - Fury Road.

Visual Effects is incredibly time consuming and technically intensive work.

box office business

Here is a list of the top 10 box office comparisons for all time top grossing films.  You can see they all feature a heavy use of visual effects to make the story possible.





Box Office







Star Wars Ep. I





The Dark Knight











The Avengers





Age of Ultron





Jurassic World





Star Wars Ep. VII





Finding Dory





Rogue One




The figures reveal that young people love watching and spend a lot of money on action hero blockbusters. Yes, you can make a film without visual effects, however if you want to engage the younger audience you have to entertain them on their level.  Which usually means tapping into their imagination by showing them something impossible and connecting them with characters that they can relate to and a story that is engaging.


We are in a position where we have to create engagement for kids or we’re going to lose the battle for their minds. We have to be intentional about engagement”.

Phillip Schlechty, Centre for Engagement

From the Recycle Rebels course: Trasher unleashes his minions.

From the Troll Busters course: Troll Busters take an epic stand to save their school.

beat vfx

No we don’t have millions of dollars to create VFX like a Hollywood blockbuster. But we do have experience, skill and a ton of secret industry tricks. Fuelled with a passion give students everywhere the opportunity to save the world and enjoy being in their very own BLOCKBUSTER film.

BEAT VFX robot 'The Controller' with a green screen background,.

BEAT VFX green screen removed in imovie.

low tech - high tech

High end visual effects use high end specially created software and hardware. A VFX computer can cost around $3000-$10,000 each and software $5,000 – $10,000.  Not to mention the huge render farm investment, luckily their are options such as GarageFarm.net that can handle all your render farm needs.


All you need is a ipad/tablet or a mac book air/PC laptop.

BEAT VFX character TRASHER hovers over the school. Created in MAYA software and imovie on a MacBook Air.

With BEAT we don’t expect you to use high end DSLR or Professional cameras. The only technology you need is an ipad or Macbook Air and  imovie or the PC equivalent. 

We’ll do all the hard work making the VFX and you can craft your story around it.