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Old September 5th, 2008, 09:49 AM   #1
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Faking a bullet going through a head

This is a disgusting request, but I need to give the precision that it's part of an anti-war movie.

I have a film to shoot in which two people kissing each other are killed by the same bullet that goes through both their heads. I know, I know, it's gross and sad and disgusting, but please since you don't have the context let's focus on the technical aspect.

I'm not a video pro and I'm not versed into green screen and Co.
The way I want to do this is to show the bullet exiting the second head.

Here's my way of doing it:

Compressed air blows up a pre-cup piece of the wig worn by the actress.

Air comes from a compressor, the hose are hidden on the actress.

Does anybody have a better way to do this?

Thanks
L.
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Old September 5th, 2008, 10:27 AM   #2
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If I received this requirement, I'd sub it out to an After Effects pro.
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Old September 5th, 2008, 11:07 AM   #3
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Take a look at this and see if it helps:

VideoCopilot.net Video Tutorials & Post Production


Good luck.
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Old September 5th, 2008, 08:57 PM   #4
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Yes, I guess I should sub it to an after effect pro, really
Do we know any?
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Old September 9th, 2008, 01:46 AM   #5
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You've got the right idea.

But the effect has to be achieved with several shots and CGI sweetening will need to be a part of the mix. You need to find someone who knows how to set this stuff. There's a good film community in Baltimore. Put an ad on Craig's List Baltimore under Crew Gigs for someone who does Live Effects. Tell them that you need a gunshot/blood effect and that safety prohibits the use of squibs. An appliance has to be rigged in which the exit wound through the back of the head, can be convincingly achieved.

From our POV, you should show the bullet entering into the first head - that can be done with CGI because there will be no outward spray. The final shot of the effect would be the exit wound where we do see blood spray. You should probably do the exit wound with two cameras because it will be a difficult effect to achieve and it may not be possible to do it multiple times. The best thing would be to build a dummy head with an explosive charge built into it, and a portion of the back of the head rigged to blow outward. That would be the pro way to do it but it may be cost prohibitive.

As for the CGI stuff, you can frequently find wonderful college students looking to build their portfolio who will do it for very little. Again, use Crew Gigs on Craig's List to find good people. Half the films I know get crewed that way. :)

Good luck.

Last edited by Lori Starfelt; September 9th, 2008 at 01:47 AM. Reason: The title had the wrong word in it.
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Old September 16th, 2008, 06:09 PM   #6
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I'll certainly check people in baltimore and will put an ad in craig list, but right now the compressor technique is working beautifully.
I'll post the clip as soon as it's shot
L.
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Old September 19th, 2008, 08:18 PM   #7
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The most effective way I've been able to do this is a combination of your comp-air and a practical make up entry wound. Basically you use derma-wax and blood on the forehead and then mask it out in post. Then reveal it the same time the air blast goes off.

Hope this helps,
-DC
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Old September 26th, 2008, 02:45 PM   #8
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If you don't have the expertise/funds to make it really gruesome, you can always cheat with editing. Here's how I'd probably do it.

- over-the-shoulder head-and-shoulders shot of them kissing
- shot of the sniper positioning his rifle
- through-the-scope shot of the back of one of their heads, with crosshairs
- long shot (full body) of the couple, in profile. Set up the air compressor at head height, a foot away from them, on their side opposite the camera. BANG! Compressor goes off. Camera shakes slightly. Couple jerks, starts to fall.
- close up of the two heads starting to fall, big hole in the closer one.
- dead on the ground.

In fact, I might even set up the lighting so the couple is in silhouette when they're shot, and put the blood burst in in post. That way, you just tell your actors, "start kissing, jerk as if you're shot, then fall down." No compressors or squibs to worry about at all.

And now I think of it, probably don't need the crosshairs shot either.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 08:26 AM   #9
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I would favor doing the effect in post for a couple of reasons:

- With squibs, compressors or other practical effects there is a chance of harm or discomfort to the actors...possible insurance issues
- With practical blood, it can be time consuming to clean up and do another take, in case you need to do more than one take (and with a practical effect, you will probably need to do many takes)
- It is easy to do such an effect in post, safe, and less time consuming than doing it practical. Plus you will have more control over the final look, as you can tweak to your liking

All you need is a decent fx person to do the job. imho it would not be very hard at all in post.
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