‘The Impossible’ & ‘Hereafter’ achieve the same VFX with different methods


Let’s step away from the storylines for a minute and talk about how spectacular the Tsunami VFX are in these two award-winning films.  What’s interesting is that the challenges behind these scenes were tackled in very different ways yet, in my opinion, the results were on an even playing field.

The Impossible

With ‘The Impossible’.  SFX Supervisor Pau Costa seemed to have taken as many practical approaches as possible to recreating live environments for Bayona’s actors to play in.  They used water pumps and and tanks to generate a controlled flood and massive dump tanks to create a mini tsunami over a miniature set.  Have a look at the BTS below to see it all in action



In ‘Hereafter’ there seems to be a much larger reliance on CGI to generate practically all elements behind the tsunami and the human interaction with its force.  However, the emotion was not lost on that fact, and tensions throughout the scene remained high.  Clint Eastwood & Scanline VFX also did a lot of fun compositing like superimposing bruises and scratches onto faces and creating the false tears of a child (very sad indeed).


A Comparison

Finally, just for fun, I’ve created a small side-by-side comparison from the videos above that will give you an idea of the various difference between the two productions.


Obviously both movies are loaded with a healthy dose of CGI and post-production compositing, but that doesn’t take away from the significant difference in the productions of these great films.  If you haven’t already watched them, make sure you do!

So what are your thoughts?  Can you think of any other examples of comparable VFX shots?  Please leave your comments below.

Source Credits:

Youtube: The Impossible special effects by Pau Costa 

Youtube: HEREAFTER Featurette: Visual Effects Shot Breakdowns Reel


Caribbean Filmmaker and co-founder of Whirlybird Productions.
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