AVGN Movie Digital Effects

James / December 15th, 2015

See the digital effect shots (Before and After comparisons) from Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie.

The film mostly made lots of use of practical effects, using an animatronic alien (with a puppet version), a monster suit with many puppeteer-operated tentacle arms, and plenty of vehicle miniatures. Only when we were completely unable to do the effect in front of the camera, we would use digital effects. Sometimes they were done to enhance a shot, to remove strings, poles or puppeteers, and other times it was to fix mistakes made while on set.

During shooting, we had limited time, due to the expensive Los Angeles locations, and also worked with a union cast and union crew. For a low budget independent film, it was extremely difficult to get all our shots in time. Every day was a frantic race against the clock. Therefore, there were lots of shots that needed to be completed later, digitally. For example, all the shots with TVs or monitors in the background. There wasn’t time to plug them into a power source, and sometimes the images that needed to go on the monitors were not finished yet, such as graphics or animated sequences like the EeeTee 2 game.

The digital effects team was big! We had about 80 people working on different shots. There were hundreds of shots that required effects work. We thank everyone for all your hard work!

Effects done in computer are known as VFX (Visual Effects) in the film industry, even though all effects are “visual.” (Practical effects are usually called Special Effects. After all, they are more “special”.)

See the SPECIAL EFFECTS documentary here!

See James describe the digital effects process in detail, during the March 2014 update of the movie progress.

Get the awesome soundtrack at BearMcCreary.com

This is another extra from the AVGN Movie Blu-ray, which contains about 10 hours of bonus material. You can get it here.

BLU-RAY (Amazon)

DVD (Amazon)






  • smd

    December 15, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    I don’t know why digital VFX get bagged on so much. It seems James is almost apologizing for having to use them. They’re not necessarily evil. They can be used badly (or overused), and when they are they can make all digital VFX look bad, but they don’t have to be. They can definitely be done well. Most of the time, when done well, you can’t tell they were used.
    Just look at the film that got praised for all its practical effects: Fury Road. I had a tonne of digital VFX shots. You just could’t tell because they were done well and made to look like it was all practical.

    • j0rdan

      December 15, 2015 at 3:58 pm

      I would argue they were the best part about the movie.

    • Satnav

      December 15, 2015 at 7:40 pm

      Not to mention that when a movie is made well enough to engross you in the story and characters, people won’t even care if it’s heavy with VFX, as with Gravity and most of the Marvel Universes. Helps that those would also be impossible to do in-camera.

  • Weldin Dunn

    December 15, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    It’s hard. Bring blue tape.

  • TheFreakMachine

    December 15, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Is this the place to insert my asshole comment?

  • December 15, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Always fun to see the details behind the creative process 🙂 even if they’re already special features. lol

  • greedo

    December 15, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Quite impressive!

  • Daniel Pavelko

    December 15, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    Great work James!

  • JayRam

    December 15, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    Will the blu ray edition be back in stock? Because the DVD special features just doesn’t cut it.

  • Gippy

    December 16, 2015 at 3:08 am

    I loved the effects and Sarah Glendening is gorgeous.

  • mike

    December 16, 2015 at 3:19 am

    Ok, James. I think you focused way, way too much on VFX when you made this movie. It seems you are obsessed with stuff that doesn’t even really matter. The overdone lighting effects, the reflection in the sunglasses, swapping the driver in the vehicle, I could go on and on. Totally unnecessary.

    Sure, the movie may be technically perfect but is that the ultimate goal? No, the goal is to make a funny movie. We, the audience, don’t care if we notice a stuntman, or an obvious ragdoll, or if the light coming through the window is glowing perfectly. We just care about the jokes, and the funny situations. That is what comedy is all about.

    If you decide to do another film, please keep this in mind. I know you are passionate about filmmaking, and I think maybe that passion consumes you sometimes and distracts you from seeing the big picture.

  • December 16, 2015 at 3:55 am

    The song is fuckin’ epic !

  • cammcal

    December 16, 2015 at 4:26 am

    That is amazing guys. That’s really amazing the amount of ambition and effort you put into this movie. You wanted to make it bigger and better visually than most would expect and the amount of work put into this must have been really satisfying when finally showing the finished product to audiences.

    I love that you didn’t decide to just half ass it and tried to make it all look as good as possible. Stuff like that may not be appreciated by everybody but for those of us who understand what it’s like to make a film youre so passionate about, it becomes your baby and motivates you to strive for perfection and these videos demonstrates that. So much respect to everyone involved.

  • candlewax

    December 16, 2015 at 4:30 am

    Man I’m glad that the landfill actually existed. There are so few credible video game legends these days.

  • Maoji Wang

    December 16, 2015 at 5:18 am

    It’s always interesting to know how things were created. Thanks, James.

  • AnKun

    December 17, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Never understood why everyone shoots car driving scenes (where we see peolpe talking in the car through the windshield) using greenscreen. Why not just mount the camera on the hood and shoot while actually driving?

    • OMA

      December 20, 2015 at 9:20 pm

      I’m not an expert, but I think there could be several reasons such as safety (talking to people in the car while looking at them can be dangerous when actually driving), convenience (you don’t have to care about the location and can shoot lots of times if needed without having to worry about driving and waste gas), scene quality (a mounted camera would probably vibrate and shake while driving a lot more than it’d be desirable), and so on.

  • Bryce Neuner

    December 17, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    I see now the people that didn’t have much screen time/ speaking lines were more involved with the behind the scenes portion of the movie. Seeing Mike and Bootsy as the Death Mwauthzyx puppet wranglers makes a lot of sense. I thought the scene were Kyle is singing his song in the desert with Mike tapping his legs would have had some speaking lines between the two, but they are more like extras for the scene. Favorite part of the movie: when Cooper falls off of the mountain pushing the Nerd in the spaceship! Slapstick comedy at it’s best.

  • Daniel Moraes

    January 28, 2016 at 9:09 am

    I kinda refuse to buy a blue ray player because I consider a bullshit that modern TVs are incapable to downscale the image, fortunately there are some AV2HDMI chinese devices, that cost under 40 dollars, also, Im a big Steam fan, Already bought my copy of AVGN. Great movie, I miss the old days when Hollywood didnt suckz.

  • April 11, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    wow, cool

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