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Home-made video effects:
The disappearing act

Last updated 5-19-03

You can make your kids appear and disappear very easily. Simply film a scene with your kids in it. Then, stop the camera and move your children off the scene, and restart the camera. Your kids will seem to "suddenly disappear."

This is a very simple effect to make, and you theoretically don’t even need editing software to pull it off. To make this look perfect, though, you will need to do two things:

  1. Tripod … You absolutely must have a tripod for this effect to look right.
  2. Exposure … Turn the auto-exposure off on your camcorder. That’s because the presence of your kid may change the overall brightness of the scene, making the camera adjust to this new level. If you don’t turn off the exposure, when your kid appears/disappears, everything in the background will suddenly get darker/brighter.

You can use the vanishing trick for a couple of different effects. For example, if one of your fighters is vanquished, you could make his body “fade into nothing.” This is how Yoda disappeared in Star Wars when he died. You can also use this special effect as a simplified Star-Trek teleporter.

See all our homemade special effects!