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Faking the lead-up to a "T-Bone" car accident


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#1 Matt Irwin

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 07:04 PM

I'm prepping a low-budget short that starts in a few weeks, shooting on an HVX200 in 720/24pn.
We have a scene in which a husband, wife, and son are in a car backing out of their driveway when a truck suddenly slams into the passenger side, killing the wife and son.

Since budget doesn't allow for us to actually crash the cars, the director still wants to see the truck come into view and then cut to black right before impact (then fade in to the aftermath). The camera will be on a hostess tray mounted on the driver side looking through to the passenger side.

My first idea was to play everything in reverse and then flip it around in post, so the truck would start against the car and reverse fast as the car creeps slowly foreward. Then I realised that the acceleration of the truck will look like deceleration when reversed. We want it to look like the truck does not hit breaks at all for a more sudden effect.

Maybe shoot at 12 fps and have the truck move slowly foreward, and then speed it up more in post?

Any ideas?
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 07:24 PM

You mean like the VW commercials? ;-) It's also been done in "The Forgotten" (was it?) and at least one other film I've seen within the last two years.

Maybe shoot at 12 fps and have the truck move slowly foreward, and then speed it up more in post?


That could work. But this and running the truck in reverse both mean your actors couldn't really move much or have dialogue.

If you want "normal" movement and dialogue, then the truck will have to be a composite. The typical way of getting that "collision POV" without destroying the camera is to either shoot reverse as you mentioned, or shoot into a mirror at a 45 degree angle. It has to be a large enough mirror to cover the focal length matching the FG composite element. Sometimes stretched mylar is safer that smashing a large mirror.

But on a budget I would consider shooting from a separate angle. Take a look at the DVD extras of "Once Upon A Time In Mexico," where Rodriguez shows how to create a very convincing looking collision using a locked off camera and two separate vehicle passes. The HVX is perfect for this kind of thing.
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#3 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 08:09 PM

Maybe you could blend two shots together in post. Have the car speed through the area where the wreck will be for one shot, and then shoot the car pulling out of the driveway in another. If you can manage something like that and then intercut with your car mount stuff you may be able to pull it off pretty well. I'm about as far from a post guy as it gets, so if I sound nuts feel free to ignore me. :blink:
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#4 Matt Irwin

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 08:31 PM

You mean like the VW commercials?

Exactly. That hadn't occured to me... we were thinking "Adaptation," but same difference.

That could work. But this and running the truck in reverse both mean your actors couldn't really move much or have dialogue.

There wouldn't be any dialogue in this shot-- it's basically a quick cut in from other in-car angles, so that shouldn't be a problem.

If you want "normal" movement and dialogue, then the truck will have to be a composite. The typical way of getting that "collision POV" without destroying the camera is to either shoot reverse as you mentioned, or shoot into a mirror at a 45 degree angle. It has to be a large enough mirror to cover the focal length matching the FG composite element. Sometimes stretched mylar is safer that smashing a large mirror.

But on a budget I would consider shooting from a separate angle. Take a look at the DVD extras of "Once Upon A Time In Mexico," where Rodriguez shows how to create a very convincing looking collision using a locked off camera and two separate vehicle passes. The HVX is perfect for this kind of thing.

I'll check out those DVD extras, thanks for the tip. Green screen had crossed my mind, but I'd really like to do it practically... but if it's the only way, so be it. Time to shoot some tests!
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#5 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 08:56 PM

i thought the mirror sounded pretty good... i wouldn't have thought of that. I too would have gone for the green screen of course or reverse (with tests before hand) but the mirror appeals to me greatly. Good luck and let us know what you choose to do.
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#6 Luke Prendergast

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 09:03 PM

The most effective and shocking view-from-the-victim t-bones I've seen last only a few frames, and on playing back in slow motion are revealed as really simple and loose composites. If you keep the shot short and fast it should be pretty straightforward to make it look real.
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