We have all experienced this moment on screen: a beloved character lying slain on top of a pile of broken concrete, shattered glass, caked with dust—as their dead, lifeless face brings us to tears and the reality of what just happened in the story begins to sink in.
Because the art department oversees the creation and building of the sets for a film or tv episode, when the script calls for something to explode, it usually takes a herculean effort on behalf of many departments to pull it off. One such department is the wizards of Special Effects.
This coven uses their powers of engineering, manipulation of elements, and knowledge of safety methods to create the ultimate movie magic in camera. While there are many magical properties Special Effects uses to cast their spells, a few industry staples include Silicone Glass, Breakaway Glass, and FX Dust.
While I still have much to learn when it comes to understanding and mastering the SFX department, I hope that sharing a few of these methods will greatly assist you with any future explosion sets.
As always, if you have more to add or share, please do! I am always looking for opportunities to learn and grow.