How’d They Do That?

How’d They Do That? is a monthly column in which Meg Shields unpacks moments of movie magic and celebrates the technical wizards who pulled them off.

If you’re new to reading this column, we suggest starting with these entries:

Explore the entire How’d They Do That? archive below

The Grand Budapest Hotel Bokeh

The Casual Film Lover’s Guide to the Bokeh Effect

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If it ain’t bokeh don’t fix it.

Sh The Octopus Transformation

How They Shot That Transformation Scene in ‘Sh! The Octopus’

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From a harmless old woman to a gnarled, blotchy sea hag in the blink of an eye!

Jeopardy Shot in The Gold Rush (1925)

From Painted Glass to Green Screens: The Jeopardy Shot Explained

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Let’s talk about the glass shot. (No, not the kind you pour tequila into).

Trong Glowing Costume David Warner

How They Made the Glowing Costumes in the Original ‘Tron’

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As Flynn says, on the other side of the screen, it all looks so easy.

Movie Snow

How They Make Fake Snow for Movies

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There’s snow business like show business.

Bullet Time Matrix

How They Shot the “Bullet-Time” Effect in ‘The Matrix’

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Turns out to “dodge this” you need roughly 120 cameras.

Stagecoach Yakima Canutt

How They Shot the Carriage Drag Stunt in John Ford’s ‘Stagecoach’

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Hay is for horses. Internal organs are for cowards.

Candyman Mouth Bees

How They Shot the Bee Scenes in ‘Candyman’

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Here’s the story of how the filmmakers wrangled 200,000 very real honeybees.

Wings Tracking Dolly Shot

How They Filmed the Café Dolly Shot in ‘Wings’

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No, there wasn’t a buzzsaw attached to the camera. But that’s a free idea if anyone wants it…