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Replicating BTTF’s Time-Slice Effect

by Paul Strauss

Following up on his awesome Ghostbusters proton stream effect, practical effects artist Joey Shanks is still on an ’80s kick. This time, he shows us how to approximate the “time-slice” effect from Back to the Future. You know, the part where the DeLorean is surrounded with electrical streams as it hits 88MPH and blasts off to another time.

Using a combination of stop-motion and light-painting techniques, Shanks was able to come pretty close to the original effect, only using computers to edit and composite the layers together, and no CGI. The only thing missing are the flames on the ground and spinning license plate after the DeLorean is gone.

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This is the first of a three-part series – and later episodes will focus on the editing process, and then a miniature sequence to replicate the clock tower sequence. Maybe we can get a part four with those flames and spinning license plate. Keep an eye on the Shanks FX YouTube channel for more videos.

bttf_time_slice_2zoom in

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