Fake it ’till you make it. – A different take on movie making

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As I take the first steps inside the massive building, something is becoming ever so clear to me: some of my illusions about the movie industry are about to be shattered right here, right now.

I am standing in one of the huge hangar like buildings at Korda Studios in Etyek, Hungary. I’ve always wanted to visit a movie studio to see where the movie magic is made. Is it really just smoke and mirrors as they say? I’m about to find out and I couldn’t be more excited.

Our journey starts at the museum of the studios, which was built just for the tourists. As our tour guide takes us through the history of the place and movie making in Hungary I am already starting to see all the little tricks the industry utilizes to create the visually stunning images we have come to expect from them. I’m shown different contraptions and various clever image manipulating techniques are being demonstrated in front of my very own eyes. Without giving away too much, let’s just say: it is definitely not all what it seems in the movies.

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Then we are making our way to the actual movie sets where many of Hollywood’s famous movies were shot. One word to describe my emotions when I first see the replica of a New York street: bamboozled…

Everywhere my eyes can see, Styrofoam. And I mean everywhere. Turns out, basically everything on a movie set is made of Styrofoam. The lengths movie makers go to make us believe that these sets look like real life places on screen is nothing short of amazing.

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As I was saying, our first stop is on the set of the streets of New York. Actually it is just one street, and it is not even complete. Obviously it would be extremely hard to build entire streets from scratch so usually what they do is just build the set up until the first couple of floors, then the rest is just green screen everywhere your eyes can see.

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Our tour arrives at the set of ancient Rome where recently the acclaimed series, The Borgias, was shot. The detail and scale of the set is astonishing and kind of breathtaking. “Fake it ‘till you make it.” – they say. And they certainly do here. Even the prison cells’ bars are made of wood. Well at least it’s not made of Styrofoam. I’ll take what I can get at this point.

This tour is definitely one you absolutely have to see for yourself to believe. Some of my illusions got completely shattered. I had no idea what to expect before I set foot in the studios, but I certainly was not expecting what I found there. There are tours almost every day and it is loads of fun to go to one with a group of friends and take a bunch of pictures in the movie sets.

– Gábor SIMON

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