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What are Monster Sticks?

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Monster sticks are a placeholder used on set that allows cast and crew members to visualize, react and interact with an object that will be replaced with a CGI object created by VFX artists in post-production.

Monster sticks can be created with just a few items from a local hardware store. A common setup would include a retractable painter’s pole, a smaller piece of tubing or wood (attached across the end of the pole forming a “T” shape), and cardboard cutout circles or tennis balls affixed to the cross tube that will serve as the “eyes” of the CGI creature.

Monster sticks not only help the actors but can also be very important for the cinematographer and their team. Having a physical representation of the CGI creature/object allows them to better light the scene and frame the camera.