Special and Visual Effects : Is there a difference between Special FX and Visual FX?

Is there a difference between Special FX and Visual FX?

I've come to understand that SFX is all the physical on-set stuff that the actors can actually see or wear or interact with like makeup or animatronics. And that VFX is all the CGI stuff thats added in after filming.
But I've noticed some people call both Special FX, are they misunderstanding or it it commonly used for both?

Re: Is there a difference between Special FX and Visual FX?

Your assessment is correct, people either don't know or get confused.

Re: Is there a difference between Special FX and Visual FX?

My understanding is that today Special Effects is what is done on set, ie practical effects such as making a car fall apart on set, or a wall being blown up.

Visual Effects is effects that are added in post production such as CGI or model work like in the original Star Wars films.

However, the older the film the less likely they are referred to as Visual Effects. Sometime older films call them Special Effects or Technical Effects or Special Photographic Effects and other similar terms. Thus where the confusion occurs.

Re: Is there a difference between Special FX and Visual FX?

SFX = practical.

VFX = digital.

That's pretty much the gist of it.

Re: Is there a difference between Special FX and Visual FX?

Well elliejaxx, the BBC confusingly had a special effects department called Visual Effects because they already had a department called special effects which created sounds for radio.What we call visual effects (post-production) was called video effects by the BBC.
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