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

How They Shot the Breathable Fluid Scenes in ‘The Abyss’

If you think it's CGI ... don't hold your breath. Or, wait, maybe do. Read More

How They Shot the No Parachute Skydiving Scene in ‘Point Break’

“Johnny, you’re about to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. How do you feel about that?”  Read More

How They Built the Battle Exosuits for ‘Edge of Tomorrow’

Live, die...repeatedly strap yourself into a metal articulated exoskeleton that weighs 85 lbs. Read More

How They Shot the Stargate Sequence in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’

My god, it's full of stars! And innovative slit-scan photography! Read More

How They Shot the Explosive Pole Jump Stunt in ‘Police Story’

A stunt so nice they showed it thrice. Here's the story behind Jackie Chan's legendary leap. Read More

How They Shot the Head Explosion Scene in ‘Scanners’

"If ever you want to blow up a head, I advise using kosher salt. But don't do this at home."… Read More

How Animators Created the Elaborate “Ave Maria” Sequence for ‘Fantasia’

You know what doesn't help an already challenging multiplane camera set up? An earthquake. Read More

How They Shot the Locust Scene in ‘Days of Heaven’

Everything in 'Days of Heaven' was accomplished in-camera. And yes that includes the locusts. Read More