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Old September 2nd, 2009, 03:01 PM   #16
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Thanks for all YOUR comments too!

And I totally agree that 'hobby' or indie productions should NOT use anything that could contain or fire ANY projectile at all. This is why we permanently seal the barrel, chamber, magazine loading port and magazine area of any BB or pellet gun before it gets used on set.

I would also caution any indie production to do the same. (But PLEASE still follow my above guidelines on supervision!)

If you want something more than that, find the right people. The folks who have the expertise to do this for a living are fairly rare but we ARE out there. Many of us are perfectly willing to help out on small productions when our schedules allow. The reality is, at least for me, I would rather be on a film set keeping people safe than at home doing nothing. Like anyone else in the independent film community, lots of people are willing to give their time and expertise when they can, and try and work within people's budgets.

My preference is to always try to do things in the camera, as I am sure most of you agree. If it can be done safely and inexpensively, I will always choose to fire blanks instead of trying to do it in post. This, of course absolutely requires an experienced expert is on set and is in TOTAL charge of the set when the gun comes out, including cast and crew protection, camera angles, actor actions and sequence of procedures.

Not to stretch out my already longish posts but people often ask me where they can find experts who can help them with gun scenes. I suggest they start at their local city film liaison office who can give them good contacts. Film schools, university film programs and even high school film instructors are also a good source. Even the unions may be able to suggest someone who can help out. (Weapons handlers usually work under IATSE jurisdictions here in North America.)

The point is that there are lots of people who are willing to offer advice (such as on this forum, as evidenced above) and lots of people who are willing to help out with this stuff, so the reality is that there is NO EXCUSE FOR GETTING PEOPLE HURT, or putting cast and crew into danger.

"I just couldn't afford it," doesn't look very good when written down on an accident report or read out in court.

This forum really seems to attract some common-sense people! Be safe and have fun, and love what you are doing.
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 04:43 PM   #17
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This kind of topic interests me greatly as the laws here in the UK have become much more tight since the 'troubles' began. We obviously don't have firearms available to the general public, but now even replicas are considered in a similar manner to real firearms. I deal mainly in theatrical productions, and getting in proper people is now the only way to be allowed to have any kind of gun in a production. Toy guns, and even gas powered guns can be considered as offensive weapons - so doing anything involving guns can get people arrested!

Shooting outside in a public area would be inviting trouble.

I do think it's rather sad that nowadays we have to actually see the shooting. I'm thinking back to the old days when you saw what was going to happen, and then cut-aways let you know it had happened, or maybe lighting was shadows and gloom, then a flash - all those old cliches. Nowadays we seem to have to show the bullet entering slowly with brains and goo everywhere. I just wish we didn't! Where has imagination gone?
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 07:45 PM   #18
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The only shooting shoot (pun intended) I've done, I hid the guy being executed by having the bad guy force him to lie in a ditch. Then we moved the camera back with a medium lens and did the money shot MOS. The guy holding the prop gun moved his hand like it was recoiling (I've seen really phony recoil simulation efforts on Hollywood productions). There was a silencer, thus no muzzle flash. Of course I'm no gun expert so I don't know how realistic that part is. We considered adding the gunshot sounds in post, but decided instead to overlay it with eirie music instead.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 02:24 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Dufrain View Post
... I'm not looking for squids or blank shooting guns as they require permits....
Squids are useful if you're shooting ink. Squibs are the ones that go "bang".

:-)

As for muzzle flashes, I played around with an After Effects tutorial at Videocopilot.net

VIDEO COPILOT | After Effects Tutorials & Post Production Tools

Take a look at the demos. They're informative and free.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 02:28 AM   #20
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BTW, something else to consider is the actors' hearing. Blank-firing guns are very loud and can injure anyone's ears.

Since the action is can be "sweetened" both visually and aurally in post, I'd go with the suggestion of faking the recoil and adding the muzzle blast, gunshot and cartridge ejection in post.

If you want a slightly more realistic recoil, you might be able to jerk the gun with clear monofilament line. Or at least do that in rehearsal to give the actor a sense of what it should look like.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 04:02 AM   #21
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First Kudos on the safety talks. Every indie needs to give the safety talk.
Granted this post is about guns but knives are more prevalent on set and also require this type of "This knife has been dulled but it can still hurt you..." talk.

About guns:
98% of gun realism is achieved by sound and editing.
We use air-soft.
Safe for actors but not for people carrying these things.
Never attempt a guerilla gun scene in public.
Its a post 9/11 world. You will get arrested or worse.

-C
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Old September 9th, 2009, 04:21 AM   #22
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One thing for sure - when it comes to guns, Arizona is not the UK! Did you see the photos of guys walking around with their guns outside where Obama was speaking a couple of weeks back?

Re recoil, I think it's grossy ecaggerated in Hollywood unless the character is firing one of the new .50 caliber Smith & Wesson pistols - or something simiar

The ordinary 9mm auto or 38 Special doesn't have a very dramatic recoil.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 08:05 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Christopher Drews View Post
Granted this post is about guns but knives are more prevalent on set and also require this type of "This knife has been dulled but it can still hurt you..." talk.
You might also want to look into hiring a fight director if you need a realistic looking fight scene which is also safe. We have fights in our operas ranging from fists, to swords, knives, quarterstaffs and guns and always engage a fight director. If nothing else, it may put your mind more at ease regarding liability. The Society of American Fight Directors is one resource for this.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 08:07 PM   #24
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Moved from Open DV to TIP where it belongs...
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Old September 9th, 2009, 09:29 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff View Post
We have fights in our operas ranging from fists, to swords, knives, quarterstaffs and guns .
I have to admit, I have never really been much of a fan of opera.

Evidently, I've just been seeing the wrong operas.

:)

-Jon
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Old September 10th, 2009, 06:10 AM   #26
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One showing of Die Fledermaus will cure that.
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Old September 10th, 2009, 08:58 AM   #27
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Well my point was just that fights are fights, whether onstage in an opera or part of your indie production. People can get hurt, so use common sense and hire a professional if what you're doing has the potential to injure somebody.

Chris, did you get a chance to see "The Bat" in Austin last year?
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Old September 10th, 2009, 03:20 PM   #28
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I remember a performance of Don Giovanni where, during the sword fight at the beginning, one of the singers zigged when he should have zagged and got slapped across the face with a sword - even though it was not a real sword, it opened up most of his cheek and he bled like a pig. The other guy was so shocked that he fainted right on stage and then the first guy keeled over on stage. The opera was at an outdoor summer venue up a very steep narrow road, so it took quite a while for the ambulances (2) to get there. Next thing you knew, one of the orchestra members fainted from seeing all the blood, and fell on a music stand, so another ambulance had to be called, then a couple of audience members fainted and one guy had a mild heart attack. I think by the time the carnage was over there were about 8 ambulances lined up.

It took an hour or so to get the substitutes suited up so they could start over.

Aside from that it was a really good performance.

Moral - BE CAREFUL!
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Old September 18th, 2009, 02:38 PM   #29
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Can anyone recommend a place to buy squibs and squids?
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Old September 19th, 2009, 12:03 PM   #30
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I've had AMAZING results using Video Copilot's Action Essentials 2. The project produces stunning results if you work it hard in After Effects. I shot a full on gun battle between 2 people (automatic weapons, handguns, shot in head, shot in winshield) and had people just floored with it. This is using non-moving airsoft guns that are just painted for a distressed look and have barely any moving parts (no recoil, no eject or ejection port opening).
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