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I challenge you grips


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#1 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 07:00 PM

This is probably more of a props question but I've seen grips save the day with ingenious solutions
and knowledge of old tricks.

1. How can I get/make one of those classic movie torches that explorers carry?

2. I have a Crown Victoria (1997) that I'd like to see the speedometer read above 100 m.p.h. but
then tilt up to see the road in the same shot. Older cars had cables that ran from the back of the
speedometer
to a gear on the transmission. I've seen grips detach the end at the transmission and attach an electric
drill but usually they still couldn't get high enough speeds.

Can you solve these?

Thanks!
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 07:08 PM

1. How can I get/make one of those classic movie torches that explorers carry?


The way I've done it in the past, a long time ago, was to make the torch -- usually a stick of wood with hemp rope wrapped tightly around the top, and dip it in kerosene -- so it's really the kerosene that is burning, not the torch, so you'll have a limited time to shoot the torch before it burns off.

You need to work in a ventilated environment because there is a black residue from kerosene smoke, and you'll need to have fire estinquishers, follow fire laws, etc.

I don't know if it's still done this way though.
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#3 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 08:27 PM

The way I've done it in the past, a long time ago, was to make the torch -- usually a stick of wood with hemp rope wrapped tightly around the top, and dip it in kerosene -- so it's really the kerosene that is burning, not the torch, so you'll have a limited time to shoot the torch before it burns off.

You need to work in a ventilated environment because there is a black residue from kerosene smoke, and you'll need to have fire estinquishers, follow fire laws, etc.

I don't know if it's still done this way though.



Thanks, David. That's definitely a good start. Sounds old Hollywood. I've seen kerosene used in various
ways before (usually to simulate battlefield fires or post- battle smoldering /still burning ruins, and it's
always been outdoors.) With that black smoke, I wouldn't want to be indoors. Don't need to be anyway
but I wonder if any of those old old films were?

By the way, I just read some back posts and learned of your upcoming gig on "Big Love".
Congratulations.
Also, I'm WAY behind in my movie-watching but looking forward to seeing "Akeelah and the Bee" -(even
if I'm the only one who hasn't yet!)

If I do the torch scene it's likely to be in a pretty big sand pit and probably with a detail from the fire
department (we could handle it but the pit can be seen from the road and there likely will be calls. Two
weeks ago I shot a low budget short and we had several police details just to cover the concern of
passerbys who saw the prop guns -but apparently not the lights, camera, track, dolly, trucks...!
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#4 David Sweetman

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 11:05 PM

I make torches by wraping a section of a white t-shirt around a heavy stick and securing it with metal wire (to make sure the flaming end won't flip off or unravel if you do any fast movements.) T-shirt material is great because unlike some other fabrics, burning particles won't flake off of it and become a potential fire hazard. Any flamable liquid will work as fuel, you should experiment to see which one gives you the type of flame you want. Paint thinner, gasoline, lighter fluid, etc.

I don't know about the second question...perhaps a false face to the dashboard with a needle you can control? That might be possible to cheat...it would take a bit of doing and craftsmanship though. Your own idea would be much easier if you could figure it out.
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#5 Bryan Fowler

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 06:57 AM

Just a thought for the speedo,

On my jeep, there is an easily replaceable gear that changes what the speedo reads. So when you change tire sizes, or axles, or both, you can match up the gear to what speed ratio you have.

Not sure about the crown vic though.
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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 09:57 AM

Hi,

Remove the speedo needle entrely and drop one in later. It's a trivially easy bit of 2D tracking.

Phil
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#7 Eric Dinger

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 07:59 PM

I don't about your crown vic, but if it is looking for a certain number of pulses from an encoder ring, you could probably fake it using a something like a microcontroler. But I don't know what kind of signal it would be looking for.

Or you could just drive 100mph.
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#8 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 09:07 PM

These are all great suggestions. I'm most familiar with changing the speedometer gear since I've seen
that necessitated so often with hot rods that need to correct for new gears in the back or other changes, as
Bryan mentioned, but I'll have to find out if a car from the 90's still uses that kind of technology.

Thanks!
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#9 Michael Collier

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 09:21 PM

For the spedometer, could you take the needle off the spindle and re-orient it so when your going 20 it reads 100?
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#10 Hal Smith

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 09:31 PM

Ask a speedometer repair shop - they may have some helpful ideas. I'd be absolutely certain they have some sort of test rig to test speedometers of all sorts. Maybe you could entice them into hooking it up to the Crown Vic in their shop so you could at least shoot the speedometer actually ramping up and down and then matte it in later.
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#11 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 09:55 PM

I've been working pretty straight out since my last post but I made a couple of calls and I hope to
check out the 2-D and the mechanical suggestions on Friday afternoon. Thanks for all the diverse and
continuing help!
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#12 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 03:08 AM

If you can find a speedo to match the one that's in the car in a junk yard working or better yuet NOT Working, buy it and pull it apart. Carefully remove the needle so as not to damage it then remove the guts fromf the unit so your basically left w/ the MPH plate, the needle, the glass and trim, and mounting hardware. Mount a flexible cable through the hole in the MPH plate (a choke cable should work, these usually come with a treaded sleeve at one end and a couple of nuts to mount it to a carberator choke plate). Bend the pull wire in the center of the cable into an L shape at the end that would normally attach to the choke. Epoxy the needle to the wire. replace the glass and install your dummy speedo running the knob end of the cable to the passenger seat side making sure the cable doesn't bind or kink. have a grip (or anyone else who's availible) sit in the passanger side or the back seat and twist the cable knob. the needle will move to whatever "speed" you what it to read and with a little practice the grip should be able to make the effect look very realistic. B)
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