Forever wet asphalt
Have you noticed that in night scenes the characters always ride on wet roads, like it’s been raining? It’s all because wet asphalt looks more aesthetic. Plus, shooting a wet road at night gives contrast and reflects the light better.
In many films, extras are used to create crowds. However, this is very costly for a movie budget, so filmmakers often use other methods: they create the effect of the crowd by taking a picture of a small group of people at the right angle and "finishing" the crowd with the help of computer technology. Another method is inflatable mannequins, which were used in The King’s Speech.
Powdered milk as drugs...
Of course, no one thinks the drugs shown in movies are real. As a rule, their role in Hollywood is "played" by powdered milk, vitamins, or sugar.
...and corn syrup as blood
There’s no single recipe for movie blood, but most often corn syrup with food coloring is used. And in the time of black-and-white movies, they used chocolate sauce.
Erotic scene props
To simulate a sensual erotic scene and not embarrass the actors too much, the filmmaking team uses various tricks and props: they put pillows between partners, and actresses put on discreet body-colored underwear. Director John Turturro said he once put Kate Winslet on a gymnastic ball to imitate a sex scene.
Don’t be surprised if your favorite actor, who promotes a healthy lifestyle, smokes cigarettes one after another on the screen. Such smoking doesn’t harm their health because, as a rule, nicotine-free herbal cigarettes are used. After all, in order to shoot one scene where a character smokes, about 10 takes are often needed — it would do significant harm to the actor’s health.
Mini special effects
In order not to overload the movie budget, filmmakers look for other ways to create some particularly expensive special effects (for example, if they need to blow up an expensive object or landscape). Many of them use computer technology, but most often they use mini copies of objects: skyscrapers, aircraft, etc. They look much more believable than artificially created computer ones.
It’s rare for an action picture not to have a scene where a character spectacularly flies through a window, breaking the glass. Traditionally, sugar glass is used. It cannot be distinguished from real glass, it’s safe, and also very tasty. However, filmmakers today more often prefer thin plastic glass, which is much more boring.
When the characters are engaged in endless conversations in a car, and the driver more often looks at a passenger than at the road, you start to fear for the actors’ lives. Keep calm: they’re safe. To shoot such a scene, film professionals often use a process trailer, and the car stands on a platform.
To make sinister clouds gather over a city, filmmakers use the patented Cloud Tank machine, which injects paint or milk into a water tank. And if they need to portray a UFO among the clouds, as in Independence Day, they use a Frisbee in milk.
Watermelon — a sound engineer’s assistant
To create a spectacular soundtrack, sound engineers have to use a variety of tricks. Mass shootings are successfully replaced by fireworks, and the sound of birds’ wings is simulated by turning over a book’s pages. Yet the main assistant of sound engineers is a watermelon: with the help of it, you can reproduce the sound of a head splitting, a punch in the face, or a dragon’s egg cracking.