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Old July 8th, 2004, 08:16 AM   #1
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Muzzle Flashes in Post


I know I have seen a few shorts come by here that used some post-production techniques to create muzzle flashes and the like to simulate gunfire. I'd like to get some advice from people who have done it...

My most immediate need involves an indoor handgun fight.

1. Are there any lessons learned for what to do or not do when shooting the raw footage?

2. Are the muzzle flashes one frame long? Could they be rendered as a still and dropped in?

3. It seems to me that in addition to rendering the muzzle flash itself, it would help to also simulate that light that the flash would cast on the things around it.... a photoshop job, I'm guessing.... does anyone have any experience with this?

4. I saw in a previous post that someone reccommended AlamDV for the muzzle effects, but what I saw on the website looked a bit cartoony.... has someone used that?

5. Any other advice that I don't know to ask?

Thanks in advance.
Barry Gribble
Integral Arts, IMDB
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Old July 8th, 2004, 08:55 AM   #2
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Perhaps the guy from this movie can help you out. They did
a lot of muzzle flashes (check out their trailer/scene).

Rob Lohman,
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Old July 8th, 2004, 09:05 AM   #3
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I have used Particle Illusion for muzzle flashes in the past..
found here

They have actual muzzle flashes that I believe are both side and front views that you can generate using this program.. i then used After Effects to lay them on top of my footage.. worked out well..

Mike M.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 09:54 AM   #4
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Would it be possible to tape actual muzzle flashes against a blue screen type setup, and then composite them in? You would also have to adjust the lighting in your scene to reflect the flashes of light. Otherwise, it would look fake.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 10:23 AM   #5
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Also, you need to have the gun & actor move in a realistic way when the gun is fired. (And you can do some intricate tweaking on the few frames around the actual gunshot. Like maybe nudge their arm a few pixels.)

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Old July 11th, 2004, 11:52 AM   #6
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I have also seen Lens Flare used if your editor supports it.
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Old July 11th, 2004, 12:47 PM   #7
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Here's a tutorial that includes example before and after clips.
This was written for Media Studio Pro, but the concepts could likely be applied to Photoshop + NLE of your choice.

I was really quick about drawing the flash. You could probably draw better ones (or find real ones on the net) if you take some time.

As for tips...
No need to show "light" from the muzzels unless the room is really dark, in which case, you may be able to use a strobelight on set.
Make sure your actors are simluating the kickback of firing real bullets.
I usually only have the flare at 100% visible for a single frame. Maybe goto 50% for a second frame if firing semi automatic. For fully automatic, be sure to use a good variety of flash images.
In the end, the sounds are actually more important than the images. Audiences expect to hear gun mechanics, the gunshot, maybe even a bullet wizzby and impact, plus casing hitting the ground for automatic and semi-automatic fire arms. Even if they wouldn't be able to hear all that detail in real life.

Hope this helps.
Have fun.
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