Re: Well, someone will have to mention the SFX in 2001...
You mean the slit-scan photography, as most famously used by Who in the Tom Baker title sequence? That's actually a fairly easy idea for most computer scientists to grasp. You know how parallax scrolling works in video games? You know how by the early 1990s they were routinely doing every single scan line individually to give apparently perspective to floors and ceilings?
Imagine you created that effect visually by cutting a horizontal slice in a piece of card and suspending that a distance above a colourful 2d image. Then light the image and make everything else pitch black. Take a single frame of film by pointing the camera at the slit and moving it directly towards or away from the surface.
The effect is that the only part of the film that's exposed is that which can see through the slit. As the camera moves, the slit moves within the frame to expose a different part of the 2d image and you're now closer to the image so its larger. So you get an apparent 3d transformation of the 2d image built up with a continuous equivalent to the parallax floor.
Move the background image a little and repeat for the next frame. And again. And so on. Then you've got the pattern apparently coming towards you.
Then cut a more interesting shape than a horizontal line and add Tom Baker's face on top.