Sunday, April 5, 2015

Zack King: VFX & Physical Comedy

[post 405]

Not too many years ago I was heavily into AfterEffects and taught a course in video visual effects at Bloomfield College. While my students were for the most part more into the sci-fi and gory violence applications, I preferred the comedic possibilities, the more surrealistic the better.

It's easy to see VFX and physical comedy as opposites. We physical comedy practitioners think in terms of live performance: we want the audience to know we really did the trick, not the camera. And if we do film something, we want to see the sequence in a single shot. Still, VFX and physical comedy are not always at war, and I've written a few posts showcasing some work that combines them with dazzling creativity, such as here and here.

I was reminded of this just yesterday when former BC student Goya Choi sent me a clip of VFX work by Zack King. I'd seen one of his videos before, but this inspired me to learn his name (often not listed with his videos on FB) and find out what else he has done. Not surprisingly, King has had millions of YouTube hits, but that doesn't mean you're all familiar with him.

Much of his VFX work is brilliant, though some of it is far from seamless. What I like about him is his fertile imagination, his sense of silliness, and his infectious enjoyment of his own jokes. It's easy to see his stuff as a descendant of the transformation gags pioneered by early French filmmaker/magician Georges Méliès, and that found their way into American silent film comedy and circus clowning.

There are several compilations online. Here's a short one (4+ minutes) and a longer one (18+ minutes); there's some overlap between the two.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Both videos zapped John.