Sci-Friday #112 – VFX in Flight of the Navigator

For this Sci-Friday we’re going down the rabbit hole of VFX in the muddled time between practical and digital special effects in movies. The VFX in Flight of the Navigator is a charming breakdown on the visual effects used by the makers of Flight of the Navigator and you’ll get a kick out of how easy some of it was.

That’s not to say there was no effort involved. At the time, FotN employed some cutting edge CGI hardware, ‘rendered in computer-generated imagery (CGI) by Omnibus Computer Animation, under the supervision of Jeff Kleiser, the brother of director Randal Kleiser.[7] It was the first film to use reflection mapping to create realistic reflections on a simulated chrome surface. Effects were rendered on a Foonly F1 computer before being matted onto the film print. The computer did not have much storage space so once the frame was mapped the data was deleted to make way for the new frame.[8] The rest were using one of two life size props or miniatures on a computer operated camera.’

Science fiction exists through the collective imagination, blood, sweat, and tears of many people. The VFX in Flight of the Navigator is just one example of that journey. Go down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Happy Friday and enjoy your weekend! Thanks to Captain Disillusion and VFXCool for putting this video together!