The Reality Behind Hollywood’s Green Screen Effects

Movies take us to a world that is far from reality. With amazing graphics and animation, the world of Hollywood is simply bringing our imagination to the big screens. The truth is that the entire magical world of movies is based on a simple green screen. With the use of CGI and technology, our favorite characters are able to go places that are far beyond the real world.

We know how much this CGI can seem real – but we’re here to show you some behind-the-scenes photos that will show you the reality behind shooting all of these fictional Hollywood movies.

In order to make the reading experience of this article more convenient, the article has been split up into multiple pages. At the end of each page, you will see a “next” button which will take you to the next page. Enjoy your reading!

The Matrix

We’ve all seen the matrix and all its amazing effects – right? But what if we told you that everything you see is merely a green screen?

While we saw Keanu Reeves as a cyber-criminal who fought non-worldly forces to save humanity, all he actually did was an act in front of a big green screen. Since all of the sci-fi fans wanted to see gunshots and people flying through the air, there was not much that the production crew could do apart from installing a bunch of green screens on set. As Reeves kicked and broke imaginary things, the directors were able to create amazing effects through CGI to give us the final result.

Hunger Games

The Hunger Games movie franchise brought the entire imaginary world of the books onto the big screen. As we saw Katniss Everdeen and her associates struggle to escape from Panem and its ruthless government, we were treated to some scenes that included modern technology such as surveillance systems and big offices.

While one may think that the crew must have recreated some of that onto their sets to ensure that the actors could act properly, these behind-the-scenes photos reveal something different. By the look of these, we can judge that the tables were completely empty on set – with no switches or handles to operate. The poor actors were just motioning their hands in mid-air.


The Chronicles of Narnia was originally written back in the 1950s – and considering that all of the imagination that goes into the world of Narnia is pretty remarkable. To pay tribute to C.S. Lewis in the right way when the movie adaptation came out, it was necessary to make use of all the CGI available to the producers in order to recreate his original vision on the big screen.

If you compare what the set looked like to the final version in the movie, you can see that there is much due credit for technology that helped create this perfect look of Narnia.

The Wolverine

As any DC fan would agree, recreating the comics of a wolverine on the big screen must have been a difficult task for the production crew. After all, they had to show the transformation of a man into a wolverine with retractable claws and very realistic, deep wounds that heal automatically.

To our surprise, Hugh Jackman portrayed the role of wolverine perfectly and the producers were able to make use of CGI to ensure that every animated bit looked realistic enough to be believable. If you ask us, then we would say that we nearly believed that Jackman really had claws hidden in his hands.

The Avengers

The Avengers movies are far from reality – and we all know that. With magical stones to be retrieved for time traveling, there are one too many aspects of this movie that are taken straight from the imagination.

However, there is one aspect that is purely a result of CGI – and that is our beloved Hulk. While all other characters like Captain America or Thor have real costumes that are worn by the actors, Hulk doesn’t have a costume at all. Instead, Mark Ruffalo just stands in a CGI suit and pretends to be the big, angry hulk in all of his scenes.

I Am Legend

It is no doubt that this thrilling movie had us on our toes the entire time. This scene in specific involved a Darkseeker attacking Will Smith’s character in the movie because the serum given to the infected dog was not very successful in treating it.

While the attack seemed extremely violent in the movie, this behind-the-scenes shot reveals that the Darkseeker was nothing more than a puppet controlled by a man in a green suit (which could be eradicated from the movie using the magic of CGI). More photos from the set of I Am Legend revealed that the German Shepherd who dies in the movie is in fact alive and well.

Beauty and The Beast

While Beauty and the Beast is a true representation of our dreamy fairytales, the photos from the set just look comical. You would imagine for the set to be a little more magical, but the truth is that all the magic comes from CGI.

The renowned Beast from the movie is just a man in a big, padded CGI suit, whereas Emma Watson truly looks like a Disney princess. We totally commend her ability to maintain a straight face alongside her co-actor while shooting the scenes for the movie. How are these actors so talented?

Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince

Do you remember the quidditch games from this Harry Potter movie? In terms of cinematics, that scene was perhaps the most difficult to shoot. Since humans cannot actually fly around on broomsticks as shown in the Harry Potter universe, actors were forced to perform their scenes individually during the quidditch event where they acted around green screens.

As they were moved around by a rig, the actors were professional enough to act seamlessly to all the attacks and swerve in the air. To our surprise, each actor portrayed their scenes in perfect timing – almost as if they were actually able to fly around and play quidditch.


Since this movie was all about the Persian War, special effects seemed necessary to portray a realistic picture of the era. While we know that CGI was used extensively to create the scenic views that we saw throughout the movie, it is no lie that the producers were careful enough to show every detail to make the viewers experience the movie’s true historical worth.

This picture from the movie shows the Persian ruler’s own room to be as spacious as anybody would imagine it would be – and of course, all of the large beast statues were real parts of the set. Notice how the blue screen in the background was carefully used to create the foggy background that added more value to the scene.

Wolf of Wall Street

Instead of spending the entire budget of $100 million on travel expenses, the movie producers were smart enough to utilize CGI to show different parts of the world that we saw throughout the movie. From the US to Switzerland, almost all the scenic views were created using green screens throughout the movie set which gave a realistic picture of the multiple locations that our beloved actors traveled to.

While the behind-the-scenes photos do not look as charming as the movie, we are only glad that the final product seemed realistic enough for us to never question the authenticity of the iconic film.

Life of Pi

Being a fantasy adventure movie, Life of Pi used large amounts of CGI to produce the remarkable feature film. The main character, Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, was seen living in the middle of the ocean with his only companion, a Bengal tiger.

Since the animal was too dangerous to actually have on set, the movie producers strategically used a toy to shoot all the scenes in which the tiger was featured. Later in the post-production stage of the movie, the blue toy was edited into the iconic Richard Parker that we enjoyed seeing on the big screen.

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

When we heard that Pirates of the Caribbean was coming to the big screen, we could have only imagined what the Flying Dutchman would look like. Thankfully, the actor Bill Nighy did not have to wear layers of makeup to shoot his scenes since CGI took care of all the special effects.

The actor only focused on his remarkable acting skills that were enough to make the movie successful. As for all the tentacles on his character’s face, modern technology was able to help the producers by adding animation effects that looked especially realistic throughout the movie.

Game Of Thrones

We all love this legendary HBO series, don’t we? As magical as Game of Thrones seemed on the big screen, the sets were far from it. All the battlegrounds and dragons used throughout the series were created using CGI animation, including the incredibly high wall that our beloved characters were forced to climb at multiple points during the series.

While it may seem about three hundred feet tall on screen, the set was simply a horizontal white sheet that the actors had to crawl over. The cinematic backgrounds were also created using green screens because it would be impossible to find a real location to shoot this TV series.

The Avengers

We know that we mentioned The Avengers movies before on this list, but it was worth mentioning again that most of the fantasy world created by the producers was merely the work of CGI. When Mark Ruffalo replaced Edward Norton to play the Hulk (or Bruce Banner) in 2012, the sets of The Avengers did not change.

Ruffalo was acting in a little green costume with mostly a checkered CGI suit to show us the incredible Hulk on-screen. In our opinion, this photo of Hulk fighting with Thor from the set makes us far less scared of the angry creature considering that he is nothing but a little inflated green puppet.

Kill Bill

Special effects and green screens are used for more purposes than just creative animation – and this movie represents just that. Uma Thurman was seen fighting the mafia on multiple occasions during the movie as she played Kill Bill, the woman who was off on a mission to avenge the loss of her unborn child.

To ensure that the stunt double who fought the mafia in all scenes remained safe from any serious injuries, the production crew attached strings to her entire body. Of course, these strings made her look like a puppet being controlled by a puppet master on the set but the end result in the movie is just a woman fighting one too many people simultaneously in a fearless way.

Iron Man

If you think that Robert Downey Jr., the man who played Iron Man for over ten years, had always been walking around set in a weighty metal suit – you are wrong. Instead of putting the actor under the stress of such a heavy costume, the producers used CGI to create his entire suit.

Not only was his suit animated, but all other suits in the Iron Man were a work of special effects as well. That includes War Machine or the sidekick character played by Don Cheadle. No wonder the actors were able to deliver such powerful performances that we thoroughly enjoyed – they were simply shooting in some basic-colored shirts with only their iconic helmets as costumes.

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