Something to warm the heart of every movie fan. The Special Effects exhibition at the Technisches Museum in Vienna takes you on an interactive journey that combines entertainment with education. And, frankly, it’s a huge heap of fun.
- Create your personal “trailer” at five on-set stations
- Lots of buttons to press and screens to interact with
- Giant green screen exhibit a highlight
- Kids will love it, too
- Oct 18, 2019 – end of August, 2020
- Just needs a normal ticket or sightseeing pass for the museum
- See also: Technical Museum visitor and ticket info
A treat for movie fans
(The Green Screen Bridge © TMW/Paul Bauer)
Ok, let’s start with the official story and then get to the truth.
Wander through the Special Effects exhibition and you’ll learn about the different kinds of movie effects, who creates them, and how.
Which is fine and interesting, but what this exhibition is really about is…YOU GET TO STAND ON A ROPE BRIDGE ACROSS A JURASSIC CANYON.
Or control a dragon with your body movements.
Or sit in a train as the outside world passes by through the window.
Or build a medieval film scene using matte painting, digital effects and other tools of the moviemaker’s trade.
Your inner child will thank you (and your actual children, if you bring them).
The core exhibition comes from the Paris Science Museum (Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie), a transfer made possibly by the generosity of sponsors like Wiener Netze, Canon, the Österreichische Lotterien, UNIQUA, and ISS.
A few local bonuses to the French original include film studio workshops for groups and a video installation on the history of special effects.
And there’s no need to worry about language – just about everything is presented trilingually in German, Italian and English.
Essentially, the exhibition takes you through the four steps in the special effects experience, each with its own exhibition area:
- On set
The last step is more or less just a film illustrating various highlights in the special effects trade. But the other areas allow you to discover the technology and tasks involved with the help of text, videos, models and interactive installations.
So, for example, you get to work at a visual effects desk, building up a film scene with sound, backgrounds, colour filters, and more.
The exhibition is edutainment at its best – informing, engaging, and entertaining in equal measure.
The clear highlight is the large area dealing with actually filming special effects in the flesh.
This is where you build your own film trailer using five interactive stations and a QR code or armband:
- Act out a stop-go scene in the style of Georges Méliès, director of the groundbreaking A Trip to the Moon from 1912
- Use performance capture to bring alien forms to life
- Use motion capture to fly a fire-breathing dragon
- Perform unfeasible acrobatics with the help of the overhead shot pioneered by Segundo de Chomón
- Indulge in a little particle play (used for simulations for difficult effects)
Once done, view your personal trailer at the end of the exhibition and access it later online.
But that’s not all the on-set section has to offer. For example, build a “monster” head out of prosthetics. Or wander across a giant green screen that lets you see yourself underwater, in a jungle or traversing a ravine in a Jurassic landscape. (I will fully admit to become a little overexcited at this point. )
Kids will love all this. And so will adults.
Dates and tickets
Special Effects runs from Friday, October 18, 2019 to the end of August, 2020 (provisional end date). Entry to the exhibition is free, once you’re inside the museum, which needs a ticket* (of course) or, for example, a Vienna Pass (review).
The Technical Museum opens daily, excepting on November 1st, December 25th and 31st, January 1st, and May 1st. Opening times are 9am to 6pm (10am opening on weekdays and public holidays).
How to get to the exhibition
First find your way to the museum using the travel tips in the Technisches Museum article. Once inside, go up the stairs or lift to the 3rd level and the exhibition is on the far side of the floor.
Address: Mariahilfer Straße 212, 1140 Vienna