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Old April 15th, 2005, 11:24 AM   #1
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Budget Minded Accident...

So in my script that I'm writing now I really wanted to have a car hit a person so an ambulance could come into the scene. However, I'm on a super low budget (basically nothing - but I can get the ambulance) and I can't afford any special effects and can't risk hurting someone. Anyone know of a good way to get a scene where someone gets hit by a car and it's safe?

If not, I'm going to have to strike it from the script. :o(
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Old April 15th, 2005, 11:29 AM   #2
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Action off-screen. Shoot reaction shot and audio. Then cut back to after-action scene.
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Old April 15th, 2005, 12:24 PM   #3
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You can use a split-screen effect to get the car coming towards the person -- shoot the car driving past, then without moving the camera have the victim walk across the road. Edit the two shots together so it looks like the car's about to hit the person.

Then, instead of showing the impact, do what Keith said and cut away for reactions.
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Old April 15th, 2005, 12:57 PM   #4
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In "Mad Max" they had an interesting non impact.

1) Shot of fleeing pedestrian (Max's wife and baby)
2) The pursuers on bikes
3) POV shot of pursuer
4) CU shot of her holding baby just before impact
5) Baby's shoes (or was it a toy? bouncing ball?) bouncing on side of the road
6) Bikes racing off from POV (camera on the ground level)

I may have remembered this wrong but it was effective.

I've also seen a night shot:

1) Pedestrian crossing road
2) Hit and run assassin squealing out into road
3) Pedestrian not seeing car approaching from background
4) Car gunning engine
4) POV assassin - camera trucks in to Pedestrian who turns as 'headlights' flare his face
5) In foreground Pedestrian rolling in from O/S and then coming to rest on curb. Assassin car racing off in background.

Another clever one I've seen:

-) Cut away to tachometer. At the moment of impact, RPM dial wavers as (o/s the car runs over the victim) combined with the audio FX.

One reaction shot you can always get:
- Driver as he/she hits.

Another suggestion:

- show top of car and driver
- have car drive over a large body-sized object
- but show only top of car and driver as they run over the 'body'
- cut to run over body
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Old April 15th, 2005, 12:58 PM   #5
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A while back saw a short film (produced locally) in which the director acted as a stunt double for the lead actor, and actually allowed himself to be hit by the car. He absorbed most of the blow by rolling off the hood. Good luck!
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Old April 15th, 2005, 01:07 PM   #6
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the easiest is to cut an human shape into some very light and soft material
(polystyren, inflated ballon ... be creative) and having same clothes.
with a fast paced motion in picture, avoiding take on head or hands, you can add some shot (the body hitting the car from the driver point of view for example).
All the rest can be taken in slow motion and accelerated at editing (the guy rolling off the car , for example).
You can even shoot the contact between the car and the actor by doing it backward (make sur the driver knows what it needs to do !) and inverting this at editing.
Sounds sometime silly but an accident is only few secondes, so a good edit can do miracle with almost nothing else than persistence of vision (or subliminary effect).
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Old April 15th, 2005, 08:21 PM   #7
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"stunt double ... actually allowed himself to be hit by the car"

Don't do this. DO NOT DO THIS. Be smart.
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Old April 15th, 2005, 09:01 PM   #8
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I would use two almost identicle cars, if possible, for this-

Have car A speeding towards the cam. Hold camera angle as car drives past camera. Cut scene to pedestrians face, the look of fear as they see the car hurtle at them, and freeze frame on the face. The sound of brakes and tires squeeling, then WHUMP! The sound of impact on car body, and something heavy busting the windshield! A scream in the background, fade to black. You then fade in to show car B, banged up, busted windshield, blood smears, and the body hanging off the fender.

You never actually see the impact, but the sounds say everything you want the audience to see. It will have the same impact, less risk. You can find junker cars for next to nothing, all you have to do is find a running look-a-like car to borrow for the approach.
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Old April 15th, 2005, 09:55 PM   #9
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You can also cheat it by camera angles.

You can place your camera in such a way as the car comes by the actor reacts like he's been hit and the angle covers the fact that their 15 feet apart.
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Old April 15th, 2005, 10:10 PM   #10
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The above scene selections covers all...

In post, test out the echo filter for the various shots.
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Old April 16th, 2005, 07:35 PM   #11
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That's awesome fellas!

I see it can really be possible. I really liked the idea of the shoes falling. Maybe a cell phone or something can be thrown to the side or something. Also, I liked the shoot it backwards and then speed it up and reverse it. If I only need one second of impact footage then that should really fit my needs.

Thanks again. Oh, and I have a bad back so there's NO WAY I'm (or anyone else for that matter) going to get hit by a car (I did laugh at the thought of it though).

Thanks again all. Well, now I'm off to write that into my script. :o)
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Old April 17th, 2005, 03:13 AM   #12
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Some more ideas:
1- Sometimes it's more effective not to show the horrible moment and leave it up to the audience's imagination.

You see this in things like the silhouette of someone being killed (usually by stabbing).

2- In a similar vein, you can have the accident happen and then cut to something else entirely. On a TV show, you might have the accident happen and then cut to a commercial break on that cliff hanger.

In a short film, you might cut to an alternate plot line... and maybe the juxtaposition can be interesting. For example, there's some irony because the characters in the other plot line don't know there was a car accident.

3- If you want to shoot it, another possible approach is this:
Use the zoom all the way. This flattens the perspective and makes objects look like they are the same plane, even though someone may be 3 ft behind.

Have the car or whatever drive by and block the image of the person getting hit. Or before the moment of the impact, you cut to a reaction shot.
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Old April 17th, 2005, 08:24 AM   #13
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This is a feature film with a running time of about 85 to 95 minutes. However, I really do like the idea of cutting to another plot line.
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Old May 6th, 2005, 04:17 PM   #14
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Again compositing can come to the rescue. Someone mentioned this above. Shoot a stationary wide shot of the car going left to right down the street, then slamming on its brakes.

Leave the camera in place and put your actor in the street. Have him react to the car coming or whatever.

In post, composite the two together to the point where the car's front bumper just about comes in contact with the actor's legs. This can be done with simple masking.

At that point, cut to an angle inside the car, over the driver's shoulder. Have the actor who was supposedly just hit throw himself at the windshield and bounce off it. If done properly, he shouldn't get hurt. Put a mattress next to the car.

Add another exterior shot of the actor rolling off the hood of the car.

Add the proper sound effects and the shots cut together will be very compelling.

You could even go to a junk yard, grab a car windshield and hit it with a green painted bat against a green screen while filming from the same POV as the over the shoulder shot. Then composite the cracking windshield into the shot to correspond with the body hit.

With quick cuts, nobody will be the wiser.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 04:11 PM   #15
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Extender and creative cuts.

You can compress the distance between your car and your victim by using a built in or added extender. I like to shoot it with a heavier f-stop to hold as much depth as possible thus making the car look as if it were closer to the subject than it really is. So, the more light, the better.

Combined with ECUs of locked tires, tight reactions of the driver and victim, some well placed SFX and a little stage blood and a little imaginative editing, you should be in business!

Good luck, RB.
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