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#1 Glenn Hanns

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 09:13 PM

Hi all,
Have a 13min 35mm shoot with alot of fight sequences (boxing) coming up. We have a stunt co-ordinator but he wont be available till next week and Id hoped to start chewing the fat over coverage. Anyone have some tips for fight sequences especially for types of coverage that works best.
Cheers G.
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#2 Joe Sexton

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 12:23 PM

Choreograph the hell out of it. Make sure that both actors know every punch and move that they are supposed to make. I can't stress this enough. From a directing stand point, make sure they throw realistic looking punches. I find that most actors slow down their punches and kicks so they don't hurt anyone, but this always makes the fight look really terrible. Shoot the fight from two opposing angles, and if the budget allows, get as many close ups as possible. Coverage can make or break you fight sequence. You can hide a lot of bad moves with a new angle or a close up.
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#3 Tony Brown

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 04:09 PM

Golden rule - never cast actors

I actually disagree with the previous post, mapped out fights always look poop. Teach them to fight by all means (takes forever), or use fighters, but they have to fight. If they know a hit is coming it will look like it. You might want to consider getting a second stunt co-ordinator in (someone recommended by your main man) to get ahead.

Shoot the scene at the end of the shoot.... obvious why
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#4 Dan Goldberg

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 04:29 PM

umm, i kind of diagree with both posts so far ahaha. Don't completely script it or it will look like it. However, don't improvise the whole thing either, for safety reasons and choreography with the camera.

You need to find a happy balance between choreography and improvisation. Perhaps give guidlines as to what you want to see, maybe choreograph a routine, but don't beat it to death. For the "big-blows", yeah, make sure they know what they're doing so no one gets hurt, but let the actors/fighters free, let the sense of nervousness and uncertainty within the fighters be portrayed.

Good luck!

Dan Goldberg
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#5 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 11:35 PM

Watch Raging Bull 25 times


then take what you learned and make it your own. B)
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#6 Bob Hayes

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 01:19 AM

Keep the camera tight and keep it moving. Use cool wide shots to set geography but don?t waste a lot of footage on wide shots. Make every shot different. Keep the camera moving. Use pads when ever possible.
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#7 Nick Mulder

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 04:18 AM

do you have adjustable shutter > ?
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#8 Tim Terner

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 05:33 AM

....Use pads when ever possible.


Great advice Bob, but what do you mean by pads ?
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#9 Carlos_Martinez

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 09:38 AM

Watch Raging Bull 25 times
then take what you learned and make it your own. B)



im watching that movie on my ipod from school back and forth about half way through now 9only one trip, it takes me about 1 1/2 hrs to get to school)

any who my teacher and I had a conversation like this earlier and he said to use telephoto styletype of shooting instead of macro(wide angle) because in the tight view you can have the punches/kicks/etc a good 1 foot away from the other actor and it will still oook pretty damn good. I have yet tried to shoot a fight sequence.


NINJA EDIT:

By "by pads" i think he meant "BUY PADS" for the actors so that some punches/kicks can be real.

Edited by Carlos_Martinez, 23 May 2007 - 09:40 AM.

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#10 Bob Hayes

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 09:54 AM

Yes, buy some knee and elbow pads and some 2? gym mats to fall on. Even if you cast is pretty athletic they will be able to concentrate on making the falls look real if they know they are falling on padding. Thin elbow and knee pads can prevent injuries.
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#11 Tony Brown

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 03:59 PM

How do you conceal pads on actors when boxing??

I thought you meant for camera. I shot 10 x 10sec adidas spots with Prince Naseem ... Got in the ring and played the POV of his opponent with foam pads around the matte box that he was supposed to 'dust'. His glove would fill frame in an instant and by the time it cleared I was looking at an empty frame and he was behind me. Unbelievable speed.

I was also privileged to work with Ali a few years ago in LA on a commercial. A day I will never ever forget. What an experience.
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#12 Joseph Nesbitt

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 09:11 PM

hey, are your actors trained in fighting if so stop reading and stop worrying and shoot your scene without worry if not read on, I have always used my friends in my movies cause that's all we have, I've found that body movement is key, guy throws a punch the other actor really has to move, You can still use pads, take the close up advice, have Charachter b in front of the camera, shoot it over the shoulder and let him hit a pad, on characher a's chest. Next shot is charachter A falling without the Pad. If you watch Raging Bull you'll get a lot of cool teqniques that you can do and that was an idea I got from one of the fights in that.
I hope that helped Good luck
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#13 chuck colburn

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 10:57 PM

Hi all,
Have a 13min 35mm shoot with alot of fight sequences (boxing) coming up. We have a stunt co-ordinator but he wont be available till next week and Id hoped to start chewing the fat over coverage. Anyone have some tips for fight sequences especially for types of coverage that works best.
Cheers G.


Hey Glenn,

One film that always impressed me for the fighting footage was Walter Hills "Hard Times".
In fact the pacing of the whole film is incredible. Not to mention the acting, lighting etc. etc.

Chuck
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#14 Lance Flores

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Posted 24 May 2007 - 09:43 AM

Hi all,
Have a 13min 35mm shoot with alot of fight sequences (boxing) coming up. We have a stunt co-ordinator but he wont be available till next week and Id hoped to start chewing the fat over coverage. Anyone have some tips for fight sequences especially for types of coverage that works best.
Cheers G.


Glenn, I noticed your signature shows that you are a student, but it appears you're doing a professional shoot. ??? . . . and you're in Australia?

I'm not an expert at fight sequences but I have observed one who is. A friend of mine does that type of choreography and stunt coordination, and from what I've observed, it seems to me if you want your fight sequence to look realistic you've got to choreograph it down to the dripping of perspiration. Fight, or rather boxing, sequences are really pro stuff if you want it to look real or surreal.

I recently was on set with Jimmy on location and have a renewed appreciation for fight sequence stunt work. Jimmy was the stunt coordination for Raging Bull, Rocky, Rocky II, and some other films. Actually, he's doing some technical advising for me, and is cast in our production, so you can find his link on our web site. I don't know if I have his stunt company's link on there but I can call him and find out for you.

One of the posts suggested that choreography makes it look fake. I'd have to disagree. I believe, from what I've observed, that if it looks fake then the choreography and stunt coordination missed doing the shot correctly.

I'd previz the entire fight sequence and get my stunt coordinator and cinematographer in on the previz after you've roughed in the shots. I wouldn't do any scheduled inprov unless you've got actors and stunt people very well experienced in these type sequences.

Best wishes for a great shoot.
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#15 Glenn Hanns

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 11:27 AM

Glenn, I noticed your signature shows that you are a student, but it appears you're doing a professional shoot. ??? . . . and you're in Australia?

I'm not an expert at fight sequences but I have observed one who is. A friend of mine does that type of choreography and stunt coordination, and from what I've observed, it seems to me if you want your fight sequence to look realistic you've got to choreograph it down to the dripping of perspiration. Fight, or rather boxing, sequences are really pro stuff if you want it to look real or surreal....



Hey Lance,
Yes Im a student, Its a Masters though at one of the worlds best film schools the AFTRS. We have about $100,000 AUS invested in people, facilities and funds for this film so its a big deal. Our stunt co-ordinator is a guy called Tony Lynch, hes no amature :
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0528481/
It looks like it will be choreographed down to the punch so there wont be any "surprises". Thanks for your suggestions.
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#16 Tony Brown

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 12:58 PM

it will be choreographed down to the punch so there wont be any "surprises".


Isn't that what the audience craves and gives the scene the edge?
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#17 Lana Loukota

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 10:34 PM

I've never personally set up a fight scene, that's not my area of expertise, but I have critiqued quite a few, both in movies I've helped with and westerns i've watched, so I know what can really ruin a fight scene. 1) the wrong camera angles. I've seen old John Wayne movies where the angles are just perfect for seeing between the two men fighting, which exposes the 1 foot gap between fist and face. (okay, perhaps this is a slight exaggeration)
2) unrealistic moves. When a man is smacked on the right of his jaw, he shouldn't do a backwards somersault, lol! (also from John Wayne.)
I think choreography is good, but not too much, unless you're sure the actors can pull off a script without it looking scripted. Also, when we've done fight scenes, it helps if the actors are not too timid or afraid to accidentally smack others, if you want realistic. But definitely encourage caution. (My brothers have gotten bruises doing fight scenes, they weren't trying to hit each other, but they weren't too cautious either... those scenes turned out well, BTW.)
Mostly, yeah, what others have said, be careful with the camera angles.
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#18 Lance Flores

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 12:33 PM

Hey Lance,
Yes Im a student, Its a Masters though at one of the worlds best film schools the AFTRS. We have about $100,000 AUS invested in people, facilities and funds for this film so its a big deal. Our stunt co-ordinator is a guy called Tony Lynch, hes no amature :
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0528481/
It looks like it will be choreographed down to the punch so there wont be any "surprises". Thanks for your suggestions.


That's great. $100K for a Master's project. And yeah, I know who Tony Lynch is . . . I sure he knows Jimmy Nickerson. Keep the pro's close to you and because you'll learn a hell of a lot. Something like stunts, including fight sequences. You can write/choreograph in your surprises for the viewer, that's what being a writer/director means. Best to you on your project. Let me know how it work out for you Glenn.
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#19 Glenn Hanns

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Posted 02 June 2007 - 05:22 AM

Isn't that what the audience craves and gives the scene the edge?


Sorry, by 'surprises' I ment punches that go astray and take someone down for real. Another concern was that the other actor is 55 years old, so if he happen to be struck by the other 25 y/o actor we would have someone seriously injured. We shot yesterday with the actors and something that stitched us up was the wide shot of one of the sequences. We did 7 takes of a 30-40 second sequence as a master shot and found that only 1 or 2 "hits" looked convincing. We then got closer coverage which worked a treat and only needed 2 takes to sell the punches.
Heres a couple of digital stills during blocking.
Cheers G.

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