Stephen Sommers, director of such “extraordinary” films as The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, is known for needing a superfluous amount of special effects in his endeavors.

Don’t take our word for it: Crew at Industrial Light & Magic have conceived the Stephen Sommers Scale based on his demand for high-end, CGI-heavy special effects.

Now special effects serve many purposes of which many people are unaware. A boot that falls off of a car after being kicked several times is a special effect. A newspaper flying in from off-screen to hit an actor in the face is a special effect. Chroma-keying a green screen from behind a scene in order to put in a false background is a special effect. Golem was a special effect.

But Stephen Sommers relies primarily on Computer Generated Images for the majority of his special effects. So much so that ILM devised this scale to rate how much work their computers will be put through depending on what the director needs.

Without further adieu, here is the scale that they defined:

Level 1 – What the shot needs (lowest)
Level 2 – What the computers can handle
Level 3 – Oh my God, the computers are about to crash
Level 4 – What Steven wants (highest)

Learn them, because we’ll be referring to them from now on. Hope you enjoyed the read.


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