Movie Making Tips and Tricks: How to Make Gun Shot Wound Special Effects on a Budget

Determination

So you've started your production, and a few things are going wrong. Hey, it happens. It even happens to Adam Sandler! It happens to the biggest producers/directors in Hollywood! YOU WILL HIT A FEW SNAGS in the road. Don't worry, because this is how you smooth them out:

Let's say an actor drops out. Well, re-cast him/her easy as that. You already filmed a few scenes with them? Well, I hate to break it to you, but the easiest, and best way to do it is film the rest of the movie, and re-cast for the role at the same time, that way, you're making progress. Once you have the the actor, you're going to have to re-shoot the scenes. It sucks, I know, but hey, I've had to do it several times before.

The location you wanted won't let you film there? Now you have to scout a new place. Same method as mentioned above, continue the other scenes, while you have someone scout the new location.

These are a few of the problems you will run in to. But if you keep a cool, level head, a determined mind (and I mean DETERMINED), then you will have a great movie that you directed, right there at your fingertips. But enough of that, now for the good stuff. Here are some production/FX tips:

Let's say your movie requires a gunshot wound, and you want it to look as real as possible. Well, I have a great method for you. In Hollywood, it's called a squib, which is just a name for a tool used to make it look as if someone was shot right before their eyes. Well, unless you have an explosives technician, and several thousands of dollars, then I have a better, re-usable way for you to make the same effect, with just a little bit of work.

Step 1: Visit you local harware store and pick up a closible valve that can screw onto a 2 litre bottle, a long section of small hose, a hose plug, an adapter for the hose to plug into the valve, and a "biter" valve, or a one way valve.

Step 2: Attach the closible valve to the 2 litre bottle, and open the valve. Attatch the "biter" valve to the closible valve. Take an air pump (preferably hand pump, due to pressurized explosions from compressors) and pump several PSI into the bottle. Close the valve, and remove the "biter" valve. Now, attatch the hose w/ adapter to the closible valve.

Step 3: Attatch the plug to the other end of the hose, and cut a small hole nearest the plug, and farthest from the bottle. This is where the blood will squirt out from. Fill your hose with blood, either from the hole you cut, or from the end where the plug is attatched.

Step 4: Run the hose through your actor's clothing, or duct tape to the side of their face, and have the camera rolling. Make sure you mark the scene with your clapperboard, and let the actor have several seconds before releasing the blood. Once the shot is ready, let the camera roll for a few seconds, and open the closible valve connected to the bottle. The PSI inside will discharge the fake blood, and make it look as if a round has penetrated the flesh, and spiraled through the body. Remeber, if you can hear the air being released, which shouldn't be a problem, make sure you cut the sound in during production, and add FX, and voice overs in post. This is how you make gun shot wounds on a budget, and the best part is, it's RE-USABLE!!! Come back next week for more tips, advice, and tricks on filmmaking.

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Posted on Aug 14, 2010