“SFX” is an abbreviation that means special effects.
“Special effects” is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of techniques and applications that aim to create a sense of realism and immersion in the video. Editing tricks, camera effects, animations, creative use of certain lenses, sound effects, audio editing techniques like delays and reverbs are all special effects that aim to make the content more appealing and believable for the consumer.
Special effects are used in a wide range of industries such as theatre, video games, film, television, podcasts, vlogs, amusement parks, and simulator industries. The main goal of special effects is to simulate the events told or shown in a story so that the content is more engaging and realistic.
The very first special effects were created in 1857 by Oscar Rejlander: He brought together different parts of 32 film negatives to create a single image. Since then, special effects have changed and improved drastically.
Optical effects, mechanical effects, computer-generated imagery, and sound effects are four main categories of SFX.
Optical effects, as it name suggests, involve employing optical illusions in-camera or in post-production. Multiple exposure and using green screen to add a different background are two examples of optical effects.
Mechanical effects, on the other hand, involve certain tools and techniques during the live-action shooting: Pyrotechnics, atmospheric effects like artificial rain, scale models, mechanized props, animatronics, prosthetic makeup, and scenery.
Computer-generated imagery involves using computer tools and certain software to create desired visuals. With the advancements in technology, CGI has replaced most optical and mechanical effects since it makes room for more creativity and costs a fraction of other effects in terms of money and time.
Sound effects are specifically recorded, generated or edited sounds that allow the content creators to create a vivid ambiance. Sound of raindrops, noise created by a wrapping paper, barking of a dog, crackling of fire are examples of sound effects. In addition to these “real life” sounds, certain audio effects can also be used to create sound effects -such as reverb or distortion.