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Entries in Special Effects (2)


Cocktails, Volcanoes and Top Gun: A Note on Special Effects with AmorSui Clothing's Adult Science Fair 

There's been a lot happening offline in the Madlab Post universe. Expect a few big announcements coming soon as the final screening of 2018 gets underway, along with a crazy fun project that I've never done before.

In the meantime, let's discuss how I learned a neat little tidbit about the special effects in Top Gun at an adult science fair for a clothing line. The quick look back at this U.S. Naval aviation movie began with PhD chemist Beau Wangtrakuldee who created AmorSui -- a line of chemical, fire and stain resistant apparel -- after being burned in the laboratory.


Wangtrakuldee, who is currently taking pre-orders for the Marie Curie dress and Rosalind Franklin pants, hosted a Fall party called "Cocktails and Volcanoes" to celebrate the launch of her Chimie line at WeWork in Philadelphia. There she performed a series of fabric testings with acid and fire to highlight how the protective materials in her garments differ significantly from the quickly absorbing and corrosive nature of standard, everday apparel. These testings illustrated the common risks women scientists without protective clothing have of being injured on the job.


AmorSui CEO & Founder Beau Wangtrakuldee, Ph.D.The AmorSui founder mentioned that scientists usually don't wear lab coats because these garments don't fit well, often getting in the way of their tasks in the labratory; not to mention having a thinly constructed layer of unsafe fabric.
She also pointed out that although protective clothing is available, the current garments in today's marketplace are made to suit the male body shape; which makes it much easier (and safer) for men to perform their duties.


I also ran into a few familiar faces in Philly's performing arts scene including Christina May who was the emcee for the night. Yet as one could imagine, the room was brimming with scientists. Among them was a woman I met who is currently working on a medical project to improve lung function in premature babies. How cool! Just a few feet away from Wangtrakuldee's fabric testing table stood Craig Marlatt, who can be found on most other days flexing his science genius in making sure cosmetics meet safety regulations.


On this particular evening, Marlatt was doing science experiment demos using household products such as baking soda, highlighters, flood lamps and yeast. Among his demos were an erupting volcano and flourescein demonstration that had me thinking I was in an episode of CSI. Marlatt showed us how to extract liquids from highlighters and mix them with water for an illuminating effect.


He also explained why the mixture appears clear at first until placed under a black light. That's when Marlatt brought up the jet wash scene in Top Gun; and the glowing engine fuel floating in the water during the aerial dogfighting sequence with Goose (Anthony Edwards) and Maverick (Tom Cruise) became a point of reference for attendees as Marlatt showed us his homemade method to the madness behind it all.


Christina May got in on the action soon thereafter, adding a strip of the flourescein water mixture to her chin. The Na'vi characters in the Avatar came to mind almost immediately when I saw her having fun with the glowing water at the demonstration table. Following a brief discussion about tracking people, and a rocket launch experiment that had WeWork smelling funny for a few minutes, Wangtrakuldee came over and put the finishing touches on one of the most anticipated science experiments of the night -- a Volcano demonstration.


Christina May, Craig Marlatt and WeWork party goers watch as Beau Wangtrakuldee finishes a volcano science experiment in her AmorSui "Marie Curie" dress at the Adult Science Fair.May led the crowd in a game of finish-that-sentence with "My Volcano is Like...." which garnered a lot of participation and interesting responses. It was quite a party, in honor of Wangtrakuldee, who turned an accident into a business.


What I admire most about Beau Wangtrakuldee is that she noticed a problem in her industry and created a solution that can make the workplace safer for women in science.


For her AmorSui clothing to function as womens' first line of defense against accidental spills and related occurrences is a great invention that will come in handy for many people.


Gary Gutierrez, an Emmy nominated VFX Supervisor known for his work on Top Gun, once said "All movie-making is illusion-making. Special effects is part of it." Given all of the fashion world's many illusion-making garments on the market (Spanx, anyone?), it's nice to see companies like AmorSui add a versatile effect to our wardrobe styling options; and with some extra special benefits. I raise my glass to Wangtrakuldee and women like her who are working to make the world a better place to live, work and play.


What are some of the most memorable special effects YOU'VE noticed in a movie? Who are some women YOU know of doing cool things at work or in their community? How important is wearing protective gear in YOUR line of work?



Does Ang Lee’s ‘Life Of Pi’ Movie Share TMI on the CGI?

Photo Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Based on Yann Martel’s novel of the same name, “Life Of Pi” starring Suraji Sharma is considered to be the next “Avatar” -- at least, according to TIME Magazine.



Academy Award winning director Ang Lee helms this 3D adventure-drama about a young boy who develops a connection with a fearsome Bengal Tiger after both of them survive a disaster at sea.

Does knowing that the computer-generated tiger featured this film was made to match a real one take away some of the magic of watching it for the first time? I wonder if it's unecessary for audiences to already know that the production team created a fake tiger modeled after the realistic movements and appearance of an actual tiger. Yes, that tidbit likely won’t matter once moviegoers are thrust into a world where everything seems real – thanks to 3D glasses that add to the excitement of genre films.

Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film CorporationI’m not sure about the rest of you all, but when I go to the movies -- especially ones featuring animals or unimaginable stunts, it’s more fun to be able to at least consider the possibility that these elements were really present on sent, even if they were not. I'd rather know about all of the CGI tricks and tips after watching it.

The wow factor of having 15 artists in the Visual Effects department who worked solely on the fur for a CGI animal would be just as, if not more, fascinating to learn as part of a special features section when “Life Of Pi” is released on DVD.

People who already read the book probably won’t care either way but those of us who are being introduced to this fantasy adventure for the first time via its big screen adaptation could probably benefit from not knowing all of the intricate details that went into making the movie. It does, however, peak my curiosity -- how realistic will this tiger look? How well will the boy interact with the tiger? These are things that can only be found out by going to check out the movie and seeing for myself.

One thing's for sure -- I DO want to know whether this boy and his new tiger friend will forever remain castaways living on a boat in the sea or find a new home elsewhere. I’m also interested in finding out how the human in the story finds ways to communicate with a wild cat

“Life Of Pi” opens nationwide on Wednesday, November 21st. Check your local theater listings for showtimes.


Have YOU read “Life Of Pi” by Yann Martel?

Do YOU think “Life Of Pi” will be the next “Avatar?”

Can YOU draw a tiger by hand or on a computer?

The media and images in this sponsored post are made possible by the distributors. All opinions are my own. The Monday Movie Meme will be posted later today.