As the weather grows colder and the first flakes of snow begin to fall, many of us will ask an age old question: What is movie snow actually made of? The answer, it turns out, is a variety of things. Though the snow we see in our favorite wintry movie scenes varies from the obviously fake to the impressively realistic, it’s almost always just a bit off from the snow we see falling outside our windows each winter. 

In “Snow Business: Making Winter In Movies,” BFI explains the different strategies directors have employed to make snow over the years. Touching on classic films like The Shining (1980), Doctor Zhivago (1965), and It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), it becomes clear that there are many ways make a fake winter—and snow ingredients that crop up in the video include everything from salt and corn flakes to ground up styrofoam. Check it out above.

[h/t: One Perfect Shot]

Banner Image Credit: BFI, Vimeo