November 24, 2012 10:04 am

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What is your favorite movie? Maybe you like cartoon-like movies. Maybe you like a movie that is full of action. Movies are a wonderful kind of make-believe.
A movie is a series of pictures. Each image is a still photograph, just like a picture you take with a regular camera. But the pictures flash by so fast in a movie that the images blend together and overlap. As a result, you see horses run, people talk, cars plunge over mountainsides, and other kinds of motion. That’s why movies are sometimes called motion pictures. Movies are also called films because they are photographed, or filmed.
Cartoons are called animated films. Artists draw the scenes. They draw the background and the characters. Each drawing of the character is slightly different. For example, the legs are in different places if the character is running. A special camera takes pictures of each scene the artist has drawn. When the pictures are played back, it looks like the character is running. Making drawings that seem to move is called animation.
Some enjoyable animated films include Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Beauty and the Beast (1991), The Lion King (1994), and Finding Nemo (2003). In some films, there are both animated characters and human actors, as in Space Jam (1996). Space Jam stars Bugs Bunny and basketball star Michael Jordan.
Many different people work on a movie. The producer finds money to pay for the film, hires people to make the movie, and gets the movie to theaters. The director imagines how the film should look and guides the actors and the crew as they make the movie. Assistants help the producer and the director.
Screenwriters write an original story for the movie, or they work with a story told in a book. Actors play characters in the story. A music composer writes background music for the film.
Most members of the movie crew work behind the scenes. Designers make the sets and costumes. The camera crew runs the cameras that film the movie.
Dozens of short scenes have to be put together after the filming is done. That is the job of the film editors. Sound editors add background noises, such as honking horns in a scene on a busy street. In action films, stuntmen and stuntwomen often fill in for the actors and perform dangerous moves that could lead to injury.
Lots of work has to be done before the filming begins. The producer and director plan how and when they will film each scene.
A movie is filmed scene by scene, and a scene is filmed shot by shot. The scenes are not usually filmed in the order that you see them in the movie. Sometimes the weather is bad and an outdoor scene cannot be filmed. Big, fancy sets take a long time to build. Scenes using these sets are often shot later even though you may see them at the beginning of the film.
When it is time to film a scene, the designers get the set ready. The actors run through their lines and movements. The director of photography arranges the lights. The camera operator checks camera angles for the shot. The sound crew sets up microphones.
The cameras roll. Each filmed shot is called a take. The director may ask for many takes before he or she is satisfied with the scene.
Special effects create the illusion of things that moviemakers could not possibly shoot. Special effects include small models of huge scenes, cleverly designed sets, and computer-generated images. Moviemakers use these to film scenes and places that do not exist. They might use a small model of a large building to stage and film the building falling down.
Some sets for the movie Titanic (1997) had to look like a sinking ocean liner. The moviemakers could not film the inside of a large ship sinking. So the set designers built the ship’s grand staircase and dining saloon over a huge tank that held 5 million gallons (19 million liters) of water. They lowered the sets into the water tank to make it look as if the rooms were sinking.
Films can be digitized, or turned into computer files. Moviemakers can then change the images any way they want. They can use computers to make new images. Dinosaurs made by computer looked like they were charging toward people in Jurassic Park (1993).
Computers can even make images of actors. Many images in Titanic, including crowds of people on the ship, were actually made by computer. In The Matrix (1999), computers were used to make the actors look as if they were fighting while floating in the air.
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