Jump to content


Photo

Fire Arms & Muzzle Flashes


  • Please log in to reply
18 replies to this topic

#1 Curtis Bouvier

Curtis Bouvier
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 96 posts
  • Industry Rep

Posted 06 June 2008 - 01:28 PM

I'd just like to start off by saying that this is a technique I've been working on and mastering for over 6 years (don't ask me why it's just been an obsession :lol: ). I think I've pretty much reached the peak of quality and realism as to how blank firing flashes can be simulated in Photoshop.

were talking good flashes that look REAL. Not those cheesy tutorials you see all over the internet (especially youtube.com) that involve after effects, and etc.

Proper flashes need to be extracted as single images from the film sequence and worked on in Adobe Photoshop.

Today I took my (KSC) Mac 11 submachine gun out for test run, to try and match up the flashes I see coming from blanks in movies such as TRUE LIES, DIE HARD, ALIENS etc. etc.

The reason I post now is I have discovered a new burning technique that almost matches blanks with near precision, (better than flashes I've done before)

this will allow film makers that want realistic gun effects to not have to worry about the legal issues involved with using Real fire arms on the film stage. However, either a gas blow back airsoft replica is needed, or a model gun. It's pretty tough to simulate a real gun when the prop has no moving parts... =] Altho it can be had if the scene is quick.

Here are some examples I've come up with this morning.

http://img374.images...ompare1aqd2.jpg

if any of you ever need some flash effects, I would love to help out if I can. Please note that I only do Film, I couldn't be bothered if the project is on interlaced 30FPS footage, the interlacing and 30 FPS, don't look good and they are a pain in the ass to work on becuase of the high frame rate =]

Cheers, >=| !!!!!!


EDIT: for those of you who are unsure as to how Real blanks look, have a look here.


Edited by Curtis Bouvier, 06 June 2008 - 01:30 PM.

  • 0

#2 Paul Bruening

Paul Bruening

    (deceased)

  • Sustaining Members
  • 2858 posts
  • Producer
  • Oxford, Mississippi

Posted 06 June 2008 - 02:40 PM

Thanks for the tips Curtis. I've had troubles with guns in frame. We used a 9mm Taurus auto in Dead by Sunrise. It was bad enough that the blanks couldn't drive the slide. I just got around that with cutaways and editing. It's the fact that there was no muzzle flash. I could have just let the actor flinch the weapon and do the flash in post. So, your contribution here is much appreciated.

Another challenge: How's about a way to fake the shell ejection in a believable way?
  • 0

#3 Nate Downes

Nate Downes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1638 posts
  • Florida, USA

Posted 06 June 2008 - 03:23 PM

For the one scene I've done with a firing gun, I did not show the muzzle flash directly. I did a close up of the gun, POV shot of the target, close up of shooters face as I use a rapid fire flash on his face mixed with the sounds.
  • 0

#4 Curtis Bouvier

Curtis Bouvier
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 96 posts
  • Industry Rep

Posted 06 June 2008 - 04:06 PM

Thanks for the tips Curtis. I've had troubles with guns in frame. We used a 9mm Taurus auto in Dead by Sunrise. It was bad enough that the blanks couldn't drive the slide. I just got around that with cutaways and editing. It's the fact that there was no muzzle flash. I could have just let the actor flinch the weapon and do the flash in post. So, your contribution here is much appreciated.

Another challenge: How's about a way to fake the shell ejection in a believable way?



I am diligently working on ejecting brass, most films the brass is hardly noticeable, but is indeed noticeable if you look for it. they just move very quickly and are generally just a blurry smudge.

i'm gonna be taking pictures if flinging brass rounds in front of a black screen at around 1/60th shutter speed to get that same blurry look.

a great example of this is Terminator 2, when the team 1000 starts opening up with the 9mm beretta in the back corridoor in the shopping center, a close up shows him rapidly unloading the beretta on arnold and eddie, if you watch frame by frame the ejecting brass is just a faint smudge thats only visible for 1 frame, 2 at the most.

this is only effective for close up shots, further away shots are gonna be a lot harder but I might have a fix for that with a real brass throwing machine, which would only be usable in particular camera angles lol...

just gotta be creative, if theres a way to do this in photoshop i'll find it.
  • 0

#5 Curtis Bouvier

Curtis Bouvier
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 96 posts
  • Industry Rep

Posted 06 June 2008 - 04:17 PM

As for the brass throwing machine, that will work great for close ups of guns that DON'T have any moving parts, I have a real Bad Ass MP5 K full metal and nylon fiber, but it doesn't have a gas blowback system, just removable mag and accessories

as seen here: http://img390.images.../hires1ylr6.jpg
(of course I have to play the roll for that one :lol: )

But with an ambient strobe lighting up the surrounding environment (only for indoors), real ejecting brass, hand shake to simulate recoil, and smoke puffs (which need to be applied to the gun area right before shooting as it fades fast), this would make an extremely nice hollywood style gun effect.

should be real fun, i'll have some demonstrations up probably this fall to show just how effective these techniques can be.

for most people this might be too much, but for me this is my specialty =D!
  • 0

#6 Tim O'Connor

Tim O'Connor
  • Sustaining Members
  • 860 posts
  • Other
  • Boston, Massachusetts

Posted 07 June 2008 - 02:37 AM

As for the brass throwing machine, that will work great for close ups of guns that DON'T have any moving parts, I have a real Bad Ass MP5 K full metal and nylon fiber, but it doesn't have a gas blowback system, just removable mag and accessories

as seen here: http://img390.images.../hires1ylr6.jpg
(of course I have to play the roll for that one :lol: )

But with an ambient strobe lighting up the surrounding environment (only for indoors), real ejecting brass, hand shake to simulate recoil, and smoke puffs (which need to be applied to the gun area right before shooting as it fades fast), this would make an extremely nice hollywood style gun effect.

should be real fun, i'll have some demonstrations up probably this fall to show just how effective these techniques can be.

for most people this might be too much, but for me this is my specialty =D!



It's cool that you're so into this. I've done my own muzzle flashes and I'm amazed at how much is possible that not too long ago would have
had to have been done for real or at some effects house, both options with greater costs and issues.

What do you use to do the smoke puffs? Thanks.
  • 0

#7 Tim O'Connor

Tim O'Connor
  • Sustaining Members
  • 860 posts
  • Other
  • Boston, Massachusetts

Posted 07 June 2008 - 02:37 AM

As for the brass throwing machine, that will work great for close ups of guns that DON'T have any moving parts, I have a real Bad Ass MP5 K full metal and nylon fiber, but it doesn't have a gas blowback system, just removable mag and accessories

as seen here: http://img390.images.../hires1ylr6.jpg
(of course I have to play the roll for that one :lol: )

But with an ambient strobe lighting up the surrounding environment (only for indoors), real ejecting brass, hand shake to simulate recoil, and smoke puffs (which need to be applied to the gun area right before shooting as it fades fast), this would make an extremely nice hollywood style gun effect.

should be real fun, i'll have some demonstrations up probably this fall to show just how effective these techniques can be.

for most people this might be too much, but for me this is my specialty =D!



It's cool that you're so into this. I've done my own muzzle flashes and I'm amazed at how much is possible that not too long ago would have
had to have been done for real or at some effects house, both options with greater costs and issues.

What do you use to do the smoke puffs? Thanks.
  • 0

#8 Curtis Bouvier

Curtis Bouvier
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 96 posts
  • Industry Rep

Posted 07 June 2008 - 04:47 AM

It's cool that you're so into this. I've done my own muzzle flashes and I'm amazed at how much is possible that not too long ago would have
had to have been done for real or at some effects house, both options with greater costs and issues.

What do you use to do the smoke puffs? Thanks.


the smoke puffs basically, you get some real cheap cigars, something that gives off a thick smoke (but isn't dangerous to put in your mouth), you blow it through a long hose if some type (the hose also acts as a reservoir in between shots), once the hose is full of smoke, you conceal it somewhere near or in the barrel, guns with no moving parts you can put this right into the barrel, and you just put your mouth on the other end of the hose and blow rapidly in bursts, not one long blow, but lots of small ones quickly with breaks so it looks like its coming out with each bullet.

as for the mac 11, it blows out a ton of smoke by itself, some how the propane inside the magazine creates this effect when it cools off rapidly, not sure exactly how that works, but it works! =D!

The ejecting brass is the same idea, you put empty brass casings inside a hose, and used compressed air to fire them out the other end :lol: , and you just simply conceal the hose.
  • 0

#9 Curtis Bouvier

Curtis Bouvier
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 96 posts
  • Industry Rep

Posted 07 June 2008 - 04:56 AM

you know it would be quite a challenge , but you have 4 major things going on here.

the actor is shaking the gun to simulate recoil, there is compressed air blowing empty brass casings out near the side of the gun, there is smoke being blown out the barrel from a hose, and there is a strobe light flashing and lighting up the actor and surrounding area (not too bright tho, just a little extra light)

this is so much work, and would require about 3 people aside from the actor, but it would sure be worth it when viewing the final product.

the reason i'm so anal about this to begin with, i've seen countless short films and independant films that had brilliant acting, story line, cinematography, but then you see some of there ballistics attempts and its just so cheap and cheesy, its almost distracting.

If these effects are done right, it has a "wow" type impact to the audience and makes them think "holy poop" directly or indirectly, and just generally brings more seriousness to the films overall appearance.
  • 0

#10 Robert Houllahan

Robert Houllahan
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1584 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Providence R.I.

Posted 10 June 2008 - 01:55 AM

Real firearms can be made to have cyclic action with blanks fairly easily, either by adding a restrictor to the barrel or by changing the spring rate of the springs which hold the action closed. A certain amount of phospher added to blanks, assuming you are self loading, will add muzzle flash (which is largely artificial) to blanks in actual firearms. When handled properly a firearm is completely safe. Real rounds from an AK47 fired on film only really show up with flash in near total darkness, it is actually the metal of the round in friction with the barrel that provides the spark, as most modern powder is smokeless. an excellent example of real on set firearms handling with all practical effects is on the extras for Taxi Driver.

-Rob-
  • 0

#11 Curtis Bouvier

Curtis Bouvier
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 96 posts
  • Industry Rep

Posted 10 June 2008 - 07:55 AM

Real firearms can be made to have cyclic action with blanks fairly easily, either by adding a restrictor to the barrel or by changing the spring rate of the springs which hold the action closed. A certain amount of phospher added to blanks, assuming you are self loading, will add muzzle flash (which is largely artificial) to blanks in actual firearms. When handled properly a firearm is completely safe. Real rounds from an AK47 fired on film only really show up with flash in near total darkness, it is actually the metal of the round in friction with the barrel that provides the spark, as most modern powder is smokeless. an excellent example of real on set firearms handling with all practical effects is on the extras for Taxi Driver.

-Rob-



I would LOVE to use blanks, but in canada they are sooo f**king gay with guns, you cant even have a blank firing replica, with out it being considered a prohibited weapon, and the minimum sentence for a prohibited weapon is 1 year in jail if convicted. but then again its all around the nature of the charges, if you were using it for a film they would probably drop the charges in court.

But it just goes with out saying, in canada your SOL if you want some nice blank firing guns, especially anything thats fully automatic.

How the big movie studios get around this is beyond me if they are filming a movie up here, which they tend to do a lot here in Winnipeg, Vancouver etc.

Model Guns however can be imported if you have a liscence to do so. that and airsoft is about the best you can do in canada for independant film making. I have yet to find some one in canada that can bring me in some model guns, I'd jump all over it if I had the opportunity.
  • 0

#12 Robert Houllahan

Robert Houllahan
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1584 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Providence R.I.

Posted 10 June 2008 - 11:26 AM

I would LOVE to use blanks, but in canada they are sooo f**king gay with guns, you cant even have a blank firing replica, with out it being considered a prohibited weapon,



Bummer.... there must be some permit process, probably costs a ton of money and requires big insurance...

-Rob-
  • 0

#13 Paul Bruening

Paul Bruening

    (deceased)

  • Sustaining Members
  • 2858 posts
  • Producer
  • Oxford, Mississippi

Posted 16 June 2008 - 12:03 PM

Hey again Curtis,

What about environmental flash? How would you fake that? I assume it would have to be a post thing since timing that on set and motivating the flash would be difficult. In post, the issue would be motivation as well. No fair just knocking the brightness up a couple of frames. What do you think?
  • 0

#14 Alex Scroggins

Alex Scroggins

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • Student

Posted 20 June 2008 - 11:22 PM

My uncle works in law enforcement and theres the company now called simunition. They make a type of blank round that cause all the recoil and muzzle flash of a real pistol, without the whole death part. Which is great, mostly because actors are annoying to replace. I'm not sure if they open to the public but it would be worth a call to check and see if they'll help out on a movie set. Probably not, but its the closest thing to the real thing without being real.
  • 0

#15 Kevin Zanit

Kevin Zanit
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1223 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • LA

Posted 21 June 2008 - 04:33 AM

The problem with Simunition is its actually more like a paintball than a blank. The gun does cycle and eject a shell casing, but the gun shoots a paint ball at around 400 feet per a second. To fire Simunition at someone requires a full face mask and some protective clothing because it hurts too much and can take someone's eye out.

You also have to modify the gun to work with Simunution because the Sim. rounds have so much less powder they could not cycle a normal gun without jamming. Blanks are still a better bet in proper hands, and from there you can decide if you want to use "Full Flash" or less (like 1/2 flash) blanks based on the size of the muzzle flash you need and other safety factors.
  • 0

#16 Paul Bruening

Paul Bruening

    (deceased)

  • Sustaining Members
  • 2858 posts
  • Producer
  • Oxford, Mississippi

Posted 21 June 2008 - 02:20 PM

without the whole death part. Which is great, mostly because actors are annoying to replace.


RFLOL
  • 0

#17 Robert Houllahan

Robert Houllahan
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1584 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Providence R.I.

Posted 23 June 2008 - 02:43 AM

The problem with Simunition is its actually more like a paintball than a blank.



They may be making rounds that are closer to true (crimped) blanks, anybody use these?

http://www.simunitio...training_en.php

The other ones they make have projectiles:

http://www.simunitio...training_en.php


there is something coming up where I will have multiple auto rifles and one handgun in a short war recreation I planned on getting several screw on restrictors (blank adaptors) for the ak's we are going to use but if there were straight blanks that would be nice. I noticed they sold these for rifles as well..

-Rob-
  • 0

#18 Steven Polanski

Steven Polanski

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts
  • Producer
  • Australia

Posted 30 June 2008 - 06:34 AM

I would LOVE to use blanks, but in canada they are sooo f**king gay with guns, you cant even have a blank firing replica, with out it being considered a prohibited weapon, and the minimum sentence for a prohibited weapon is 1 year in jail if convicted. but then again its all around the nature of the charges, if you were using it for a film they would probably drop the charges in court.

But it just goes with out saying, in canada your SOL if you want some nice blank firing guns, especially anything thats fully automatic.

How the big movie studios get around this is beyond me if they are filming a movie up here, which they tend to do a lot here in Winnipeg, Vancouver etc.

Model Guns however can be imported if you have a liscence to do so. that and airsoft is about the best you can do in canada for independant film making. I have yet to find some one in canada that can bring me in some model guns, I'd jump all over it if I had the opportunity.



Hey Curtis the laws in Australia are pretty tight on firearms too but here is a suggestion on how to simulate a real revolver if that will suffice.
You can buy a toy revolver that shoots those Taiwan made 8 shot super caps which are red and circular in design(just another name for caps for the cap gun).

Drill out barrel to accomodate mussle flash, load toy gun with cap ring and add thin house hold oil or sewing machine oil to barrel and you should get a nise flash and a little smoke if needed.

If this works for you then start up scaling the gun by cutting the barrel midway and adding a copper pipe to get extra barrel length and some black resinous putty that hardens to increase the size of the grip.

To keep it simple for all of you others if you really want to use real fire arms then approach a sport shooter or gun owner and pay him to buy a hand gun (specificly for movies)which can be modified with a softer recoil spring and if he reloads his own ammo then he or she will probably be glad to develpo a certain type of blank with a low load to use in this gun. To get a little smoke go to your local University chemistry supplier and experiment with various dry chemicals in the gun powder mix to acieve what you want. The gun owner will probably be glad to offer his services on any local low budget film productions. AND make it easy on them by doing all the ground work so in effect you will be the effects person and he will only have to be the licenced carrier.

If need be then get them to do a course on movie firearms handling to get some sort of certification. There are always lots of people out there that would be glad to help out with film and movies since they can be credited with their name at the end.

I was in an 1860s film and was carrying a revolver all day. Being a film set my purpose for carrying was vastly different than for someone that is hanging out in front of a bank with a gun under their jacket. As long as it is all in context.

Steve : ;)
  • 0

#19 Robert Houllahan

Robert Houllahan
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1584 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Providence R.I.

Posted 30 June 2008 - 01:17 PM

Hey you all should come to the good old US of A where our supreme court has just confirmed that owning a bazooka is an individual right. Guns for everybody! Yeee Haaaa!


-Rob-
  • 0


Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Paralinx LLC

Metropolis Post

Rig Wheels Passport

CineTape

rebotnix Technologies

The Slider

Ritter Battery

Technodolly

Opal

Willys Widgets

Glidecam

Wooden Camera

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineLab

FJS International, LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Tai Audio

Abel Cine

Aerial Filmworks

Visual Products

Wooden Camera

Technodolly

CineTape

Metropolis Post

CineLab

Opal

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Willys Widgets

Tai Audio

Visual Products

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Abel Cine

Paralinx LLC

rebotnix Technologies

Ritter Battery

Glidecam

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

The Slider

FJS International, LLC