Revisiting Cinefex

Cinefex Issues 1-12Cinefex is a quarterly journal devoted to motion picture visual effects. I’ve been collecting it on and off since issue #1, published way back in March 1980. Revisiting Cinefex is a project I began early in 2011, when on a whim I decided to re-read my Cinefex collection and blog about each issue as I went. The next thing I knew, Cinefex publisher Don Shay and editor Jody Duncan had both emailed to tell me how much they were enjoying my articles. You could have knocked me down with a feather.

It took me a little over two years to blog my way through the first forty issues. Together these represent the journal’s first decade of publication and neatly span the 1980s, that amazing decade during which the summer blockbuster was born and effects movies took over the top ten charts. The eighties also saw the beginning of the digital revolution. At the precise time all the traditional optical and mechanical techniques were being pushed to the limit, CG was quietly on the rise.

Here’s what Don Shay had to say when I reached the end of my retrospective odyssey:

[Graham’s blog articles] represent a fine history of visual effects in the Golden Age between motion control and digital imaging.

My Revisiting Cinefex journey might be over, but I’m not done with visual effects. I’m now writing weekly articles on the official Cinefex blog, in which I look at visual effects – past, present and future – and interview some of the leading names in the field. Whether you’re a VFX professional or a movie-obsessed couch potato, you’ll find something on the Cinefex blog that’s informative, entertaining … perhaps even provocative. I hope to see you there!

Below are links to all forty Revisiting Cinefex articles:

Here’s a final thought. If you enjoy these retrospectives, why not go a step further and read the real thing? Cinefex is available quarterly in various formats for print, web and iPad. Subscribing via their website is as easy as pie. For the iPad edition just go straight to iTunes.

STOP PRESS – The entire Cinefex back catalogue is now available for the iPad. That’s every single issue I’ve reviewed here, plus 86 more, available for download right now. Want to hold the entire history of modern visual effects in your hands? Now you can! Download the  app from iTunes and start building your collection now.

I guess I should point out that the opinions expressed in these blog posts are mine and not those of Cinefex, so if you want to respond to something I’ve said, just post a comment here. And, as always, thanks for reading.


  1. gregory moss says:

    Hi Graham. I’m currently putting together an article on the making of Saturn 3 and was wondering if you have any information on the visual effects of this particular film – or in fact the production itself? 🙂

    • Hi Gregory. Thanks for asking, but I’m afraid I don’t have much to offer. I remember seeing the film at the cinema when it was released but don’t have any material on its production. I seem to remember the UK’s Starburst magazine doing a small feature on it – they may have something in their archives. Good luck with the search! Best wishes, Graham

  2. Yeah, that’s absolutely right! I know the VFX budget was slashed to compensate for Raise The Titanic going way over its own budget (also an ITC production), so I’m trying to find out just how much Saturn 3’s VFX budget was – and how much it was reduced by. This all goes a long way in explaining why the film’s VFX are, shall we say, a little on the ‘low-rent’ side (despite the same crew having worked on Superman: The Movie).🙂

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