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Old April 23rd, 2004, 11:06 AM   #1
Major Player
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Using Body Doubles in Fights


I am going to be shooting a short soon that is going to require a body double for our main actress for a few fight scenes....

As it turns out, strangely I know about 10 female black belts, but our actress is 5' 10" and thin, and none of them fit that bill.

My question is: How much can I cheat on height using the body double? My intiuition tells me that with all the movement and crouching going on in a fight that I could probably cheat down to 5' 7" or 5' 8", but I'd like to hear from someone who has done it.

Any other pointers from people who have done it? I have shot a fight sequence or two, but only using the actual fighters.

Thanks in advance.
Barry Gribble
Integral Arts, IMDB
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Old April 23rd, 2004, 11:14 AM   #2
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You can cheat a couple of inches, and a few pounds either way, depending on what the people are wearing.

Trenchcoats and boots? No problem.
Spandex and tights... big problem.

Basically, you are dealing with a long shot that doesn't reveal the doubles face... far enough away to fudge the height difference. Or close in tight with the actors face turned away, again, tight enough to not see the difference because of the fast action.

I've choreographed and shot more than a few.
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Old April 23rd, 2004, 11:19 AM   #3
Inner Circle
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I found this site interesting for shooting fight scenes:

The main idea is that you should fight in a way that looks good, not like martial arts (where the goal is to fight for tournaments or real life situations).

2- I haven't done a real fight scene but you can try storyboarding and choreographing the fight so that relative height (between the double and other doubles/actors, and the scenery) isn't apparent.

An alternative approach is to change the script so there's no hand to hand action, but that probably won't work for you.
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Old April 23rd, 2004, 01:41 PM   #4
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When in doubt, test.
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Old April 23rd, 2004, 01:55 PM   #5
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If there off by a couple inches,test out angles that make them look the same..
Find a man who likes like a woman.
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Old April 23rd, 2004, 05:46 PM   #6
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The first thing that might catch a viewer's attention is any difference in the length, color and style of the hair. Skin tone would be another quickly caught clue as would be any difference in clothing.

Get those to match and it probably would make it easier to conceal the fact you have a body double.

In Jurassic Park there was a scene where a stuntwoman body-doubled for a little girl. They digitally replaced the face and the result looked good. Certainly wasn't noticable until Cinefex pointed it out in an article.

And then there was the fight scene shot in "I'm gonna git you sucka" where they made an obvious swap between an elderly black woman and a beefier white guy who had a moustache but was wearing the same dress and wig...!

Dean Sensui
Base Two Productions
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