Practical effects are the special effects we see in movies and TV-shows, which are produced without post production techniques and of course without computer-generated imagery.
Many common elements in movies are created using practical effect techniques. For instance rain, wind, explosions, gunfire, creatures created with prosthetics and make up. The list goes on and on.
We see it less and less nowadays. In today’s world, what we see on our screens is special effects. And while it is mind boggling and of itself, it simply can never compensate for the allure, practical effects have.
This comparison is not really a question about what can be achieved by practical effects and what can be achieved by special effects. More about the charm, perhaps the old movie appeal that practical effects present.
Here is the first part of a rather long list, showcasing how some of our favorite scenes, using practical effects were made. From Steven Spielberg’s animatronic shark for Jaws, to incredible models made for the Star Wars films, and from the plane scene in the second installment in the Indiana Jones franchise to the submarine used in The Hunt for Red October.