You're forgetting, though, that Monsters has way more visual effects than 40 seconds, and it's not even monster action. Do you think those quarantine signs, the gigantic fence, helicopters, tanks, etc. were all there on location? I think people don't realize that this is in fact an effects-heavy film, just not in the traditional sense.
And Chris, you're still not the one who's doing the effects. You're hiring out someone to do it and I'm sure their work is fantastic. But if you want, you can hire somebody else to handle a scene or two. Edwards did it himself, in addition to writing, producing, directing, and shooting.
Yeah but when you know the ins and out, know the workflow, and have been at it every step of the way like I have, I can see how people get impressed on the other end. I actually work with my artists, sit down with them and watch them and not just hand off assignments to them and cut them a check at the end of the day.
You're also forgetting that his Edwards does this for a living. Putting the monsters in at night is WAY easier than putting them in day shots. Day shots are FAR less forgiving for mistakes/blemishes than night shots.
I didn't mean to sound like I was accusing you of handing work off to people, you definitely seem to be heavily involved in your project in all aspects.
That being said, even though it's true that Edwards does (or did...now that he's directing in Hollywood) visual effects for a living, you're still not factoring in that in addition to the effects he wrote, produced, and directed the movie. Keeping the monster action to night shots was probably a conscious decision early during development so that some of the burden in post production would be lifted. As DaiKamonohashi said above, and as I'm sure you know, doing all of these things for a 5 minute short is hard enough. Imagine what Edwards must have been going through during this feature length movie.
Yes, going full out with monster scenes in daylight would be even more impressive if done well, but Edwards had every right to decide whether or not he wanted to put that kind of pressure on himself in post. Maybe he just wanted to get his movie out in a decent time period instead of occupying himself with perfecting that kind of effect.
But again, he did do plenty of daytime effects shots. They work so well because they're not meant to be seen as an effect. There's barely a scene in the movie that doesn't have some kind of sign or object that was digitally added in.