1) The movie was made using a lot of special effects.
2) Using a crowbar, Hal pried open the top of the crate. (which I think is almost the same with 'Hal pried open the top of the crate using a crowbar.')
When I saw today above sentence 2), by intuition I felt the two '-ing's look similar but have different functions, and the 'Using a crowbar' in 2) could smoothly be paraphrased into 'By using a crowbar', which denotes an action to bring about a result described in the main clause.
I think that, though dangling in a strict sense, participles are not so objectionable if used to describe the method in which things are or were done:
1.a) The movie was made (by) using a lot of special effects. (The use of a lot of special effects made it possible to make the movie.)
2.a) The top of the crate was pried open (by) using a crowbar. (The use of a crowbar made it possible to open the crate.)