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Fight Scene?


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#1 Danny Rasmussen

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 06:04 AM

Hello.

My name is Danny Rasmussen and I just started in film & tv production about half a year ago. Our first major (serious) project since I started is a 7-12 minute fiction film. Everything is going perfect so far.
In about 2 weeks, we'll be filming a fight scene, which involves a fine/wealthy couple (around 30 years of age) being jumped and robbed by 2 criminals in a dark ally (at night, of course).
After taking their wallets, watches, jewellery, and cellphones, the criminals ask for their wedding rings. The man then says "You can't have them. You already have all our money now please leave us alone". The criminals then get angry and one of them punches the man in face, knocking him down to the ground. His wife gets furious and tries to attack one of the criminals (they've yet to show any weapons, so the couple arent really that afraid..). Anyway... in a desperate act to get the woman away one of the criminals takes out a gun and shoots her (she wasnt really meant to be shot, but the criminal was kind of in a panic). So, she gets shot (in the stomache) and the 2 criminals run off.
Now, we are only college students. We get no money for making this project. But we all want to make it as realistic as possible and as great as possible. We have a lot of connections and are planning on sending this film to, for example, the shortfilms festival, and perhaps some of the larger TV networks here in Denmark.
So... how we get this to work? We don't really want to use fake blood.. we want the whole thing to kind of go slowly, but also quickly.. if you get what i mean...

Also, any tips on lighting?

Looking forward to hearing from you experts. :)
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 10:38 AM

What's wrong with fake blood? You don't think movies use real blood, do you?

The punch in the face is the easy part -- it's called a "stage" punch. You line-up an over-the-shoulder shot and have the punch stop short of really hitting the face, but have the actor receiving the punch jerk back as if they were punched. You can even space apart the actors so that the person throwing the punch can really extend their arm and never possibly hit the person for real even if they forget to pull the punch.

Gunfire would normally be done with blanks (which require trained, licenced people) or a "non-gun" prop with an electronic flash in the barrel. Or created in post.

A blood explosion from a gun shot would normally be done with an small explosive squib plus blood pack under the wardrobe (again, you need a professional to set this up for you.)

Cheaper method would be something like what Robert Rodriguez did in "Desparado" with what he called a "gaucamole gun" -- sort of a big squirt gun with gunky fake blood that squirted a big glop onto the actor. He would cut any frames out in post where you saw the glop flying towards the person.
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#3 Chris Durham

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 12:50 PM

The thing I would think about is not showing everything. For the punch you can do a point of view shot where the criminal is throwing the punch straight at the camera, next cut to the guy falling back. Then show a cut of the criminal pulling his gun and then cut to a wide shot where we just here the bang. Maybe even rig something up where there's a quick flash - like have the actor flick a cigarette lighter (obscured by his body) to provide just a quick flash. Cut back to the woman's face or even the criminal's to show the shock. Maybe a trickle of fake blood.

Fights are messy. Fight scenes can be too - choppy and confusing can be effective as long as the key points are clear. Think of the classic films or even some modern ones where the violence doesn't have to be explicitly shown to be effective. In Braveheart, for example, Wallace's execution is probably the most emotional scene in the movie. We know he's been beheaded. We've scene the axe. We know the exact moment of it. You never actually see the act.

As a student or indie you've got to be creative like that. You don't want to use a blank gun if you can't afford insurance for the production, and the moment an insurance agent sees the words "fight scene" or "gun" you know the price is through the roof.
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#4 Harrison Reynolds

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 04:02 PM

I think for the gunshot you could show the guy pulling out his gun quickly, have him line up, and then possibly cut to a hardlighted shadow on the wall of the alley/adjacent building, then the sound effect could be added in post and you could cut quickly back to the woman now covered in blood. This would be cheap, and would still get the point across.
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#5 Danny Rasmussen

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 03:43 AM

Awesome suggestions :)

Thanks a lot! I'll print them off, look em over with the crew and see what we can do.
Thanks again!
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#6 David Sweetman

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 02:43 PM

If it were me, I would not get to gruesome with the blood squib. I'd probably play the gunshot from a long shot - you'll have to figure out a way to simulate the illumination from the muzzle flash for a few frames, or as DM said a "non-gun" (http://old.issprops....ns/testfire.htm) which does not require a liscenced pyro would work fine. You'll notice in that link that the "form" of the non-gun flash is not as refined, but it does let off a good amount of light, which if you've got nice framing could work well. Then I'd go in and show the woman in a pool of blood, if I wanted to go back to the couple.

I'd be especially wary of POV shots though. They're easily cheezy and odd-looking, even if they're not meant to be.
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