Turn Down for What with the dogboarding dynamic duo, Daniels. Let’s take a closer look at the up-and-coming creative effects team and their practical magic.

Top Image via Film School Rejects

Let’s be honest, we’re all suckers for a well-executed practical effect. Whether it’s a classic vaudeville romp or a modern big screen twist, an imaginative camera trick will always catch the viewer’s attention. Nowhere is this more true than with the rise of Daniels, a  filmmaking duo making waves on the heels of their Sundance-shaking feature debut.

To really appreciate Daniels (and learn from their honed practical chops), let’s look behind the scenes to see how some of their effects were created. If anything, it could inspire you to try something new on your next shoot.

Digital Background

Daniels is a combination of filmmakers Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan. You might know them from their music video for Turn Down for What by DJ Snake and Lil’ John. Or perhaps you’ve seen one of their Vimeo hits, Happy Holidays or Interesting Ball.

Both animators originally, the duo first connected in a computer animation class in film school. Which makes sense; to go along with their ingenuity, they’ve developed a style that leans heavily on lens flares, camera shakes and speed shifts to help distract and cover their various subtle tricks.

Practical Magic

In this video feature for the 2012 Vimeo Festival, the Daniels offer a simple (and somewhat anticlimactic) look into how many of the effects were achieved in their Simple Math music video.

Exploding Woman

For this effect, the boy in the video runs into and tackles the woman, causing her to explode into a puff of leaves. You can see how the two shots were simply spliced together and then covered with camera shakes to help hide the follow-through.

Artist Spotlight: The Practical Magic of Daniels - Exploding Woman, behind the scenes

Artist Spotlight: The Practical Magic of Daniels - Exploding Woman, behind the scenes 2

Artist Spotlight: The Practical Magic of Daniels - Exploding Woman, final product

Exploding Trash Cans

These explosions were created by placing run-of-the-mill junior high dry-ice bombs into trash cans loaded with bags and paper. Add in a shot of the boy walking by the same (explosive-free) trash cans with a leaf blower in his face and you have all the elements for another eye-catching sequence.

Artist Spotlight: The Practical Magic of Daniels - Exploding Trashcans, behind the scenes

Artist Spotlight: The Practical Magic of Daniels - Exploding Trashcans, behind the scenes 2

Artist Spotlight: The Practical Magic of Daniels - Exploding Trashcans, behind the scenes 3

Artist Spotlight: The Practical Magic of Daniels - Exploding Trashcans, behind the scenes final

Overall, the means may seem simple, but the presentation is key to suspending disbelief. You can watch the full behind-the-scenes clips here. If you haven’t checked out their work before, I’d highly recommend going back through their Vimeo page or keeping up with them on their blog.

You can also always watch out for their new film Swiss Army Man as it rides its way toward theaters soon.

Artist Spotlight: The Practical Magic of Daniels - Swiss Army Man

What do you think of Daniels? Know of any other cool effects teams you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!