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Old 11-27-2018, 02:34 PM   #1
CamDoz
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Need to Make a Character Explode

I need to make a villain explode for a music video. He gets hit with an explosive dart, and boom baby. This happens in a dark tunnel or something similar.

The character is in a sort of Mad Max'ish outfit, like a post apocalyptic gangster, and right now my idea involves possibly making like a human shaped balloon or something similar, dressing it like the character, filling it with debris and whatnot, and filling it with compressed air until it pops.

I don't want it to be overly bloody and gory, can be more like a burst of smoke/debris and his clothes and limbs just fly apart indistinguisably.

Any ideas for how to do this?
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Old 11-27-2018, 02:52 PM   #2
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It is humor or serious?
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Old 11-27-2018, 02:59 PM   #3
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It is humor or serious?
It's serious. Goal is to use the right lens and framing to make it appear like it's this guy, from the back, sort of hunched over looking at this dart in his arm. It will cut from the dart hitting his arm, to his eyes widening, to the very first frame of the fake body exploding.

This way, the audience won't get a good look at the fake body before it bursts, and with the right telephoto lens and lighting, and props in the right places, the sequence should work fine...as long as I can get that fake body to burst into tons of pieces, safely.

I imagine if we have a certain type of balloon that is shaped like a figure, and we pull the "arms" in and tie them at where the hands should be, loosely if necessary, have the costume over the thing, and a wig, film from behind, then blammo.

But I'm not sure if a balloon apparatus would work, or even how to build one!

Now that I think about it, it can even be sillouhette, just telephoto looking down the tunnel at his shape. It's just all about getting the shape of the figure to look like him, and having the debris and everything explode into a cloud and obscure the guy....

Last edited by CamDoz; 11-27-2018 at 03:03 PM. Reason: Added a thought
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Old 11-27-2018, 03:30 PM   #4
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You could make it easier on yourself by showing the explosion from the back so you don't need to do the face. This could be a cut from him being wide-eyed to seeing him from the back with the person who shot the dart in frame laughing, then, boom (of the dummy exploding)...
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Old 11-27-2018, 04:17 PM   #5
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It will cut from the dart hitting his arm, to his eyes widening, to the very first frame of the fake body exploding.
This one is a good solution. If the protagonist is present in this scene you can put him/her in front of the villain and make him/her jump into a cover in front of the villain ( the protagonist is closer to the camera while the villain is exploding in the back). This way you messy up the explosion scene and it gives you an excuse to unfocus the villain explosion in the background and instead focus on the protagonist taking cover.
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Old 11-27-2018, 04:23 PM   #6
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Also you can show the villain expanding by using some sort of a strong hair dryer blowing into a tight lab suit or something ( like that scene in breaking bad when jessi messes around with a blowing pipe in his lab suit). and then cut to the beginning of the explosion shot. But u gotta hide all the blowing devices somehow which is tough.

Last edited by pedramyz; 11-27-2018 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 11-27-2018, 04:26 PM   #7
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Also you can show the villain expanding by using some sort of a strong dry cleaner blowing into a tight lab suit or something ( like that scene in breaking bad when jessi messes around with a blowing pipe in his lab suit). and then cut to the beginning of the explosion shot. But u gotta hide all the blowing devices somehow which is tough.
Yeah a lab suit is a great idea, already is shaped like a person, and I could have a duplicate outfit that is cut up into pieces and glued back together on top of the lab suit. Then, when the lab suit explodes, his costume will come apart with it.

I think a lab suit is great. Any other ideas that would work better anyone?
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Old 11-27-2018, 04:39 PM   #8
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I think the easiest one is that camera focus trick I mentioned. If you put the protagonist in front while the villain is exploding in the back, you can focus the shot more on the action of the protagonist jumping behind a cover and naturally unfocus the background scene( which is exploding) . This way your scene gets filled with 2 ongoing actions which justifies the unfocusing of the villain exploding in the back. So even if u use a dummy, it won't be that recognizable.
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Old 11-27-2018, 05:17 PM   #9
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With the actress in there too, it would be trickier I believe, because you have an additional variable that could go wrong while you are trying to pull off the effect. If she doesn't hit her mark perfectly, or this or that, we will have to reset the explosion effect. I believe the trick here will be the editing, and then the carefully framed shot. Like I said, maybe sillhouette will be best, with just highlights showing his form. My real weakness is actually building stuff, but the lab suit idea will probably work. Any other ideas for the apparatus itself, that might be better than a lab suit?

The hero also has to be out of frame here in this shot. There are 2 villains, a third one has been killed already, so the other two are searching frantically for the hero, who is hidden somewhere around them. The dart comes out of a dark tunnel suddenly, we don't see her throw it, it's supposed to be surprising and a badass moment of "we didn't expect that." And it adds to the villains' terror because it was just a stupid dart...but it completely obliterates one of them.

Any other ideas for the dummy? We will indeed be shooting the back of the dummy, no face necessary. What about the crap that I stuff inside the thing, before I fill it with compressed air and explode it? There are safe dirts and sands to use on set, and I imagine dirt and debris, coupled with his clothing and the form of his body coming apart, will be better than trying to fill a body with fake blood and dog food and blow it up. Too heavy, won't come apart well enough unless we have real boom boom.

Maybe bits of cardboard painted red and stuff?
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Old 11-27-2018, 05:26 PM   #10
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Yeah the crap inside is a bit tricky. cause if u want the pieces to fall apart by weak explosions, u will need to use light stuff as u mentioned but it comes with the cost of unrealistic body parts splitting around ( light stuff spread around a lot faster which makes it obvious they are not body organs). and if u want heavy stuff flying around u will need serious explosions.

Last edited by pedramyz; 11-27-2018 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 11-27-2018, 05:32 PM   #11
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U can add one more scene to make it better. Use light stuff and explode them, before the explosion ends quickly cut to a scene which shows a wall that blood splatters all over it. you can add painted red stuff to the blood too. ( pour the blood in a bucket and add red stuff to it then empty the bucket on the wall while shooting it)

Last edited by pedramyz; 11-27-2018 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 11-27-2018, 05:36 PM   #12
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Yeah the crap inside is a bit tricky. cause if u want the pieces to fall apart by weak explosions, u will need to use light stuff as u mentioned but it comes with the cost of unrealistic body parts splitting around ( light stuff spread around a lot faster which makes it obvious they are not body organs). and if u want heavy stuff flying around u will need serious explosions.
Yeah true dat. I don't want the audience to see too much "confetti," coming from him.

I am going to need to do a test with this to see what happens. I think I will need to obscure most of the details with smoke/dust that billows out. Will need the right sand/dirt/powder. I will have random debris, BUT, if I also put in some RED powder....so there is a faint red mist. Also, seems like I'll need a bright flash. If these things happen violently enough, I think I'll be able to cover up most of him with the smoke, flash and the red mist, maybe? And we will still see chunks of his outfit flying out.

Check out this grey's anatomy scene, I know that this is CGI, but if you freeze frame, what you see are large pieces of clothing, the bright flash, some smoke....yeah you see a bit of fireball, but not much, it's mostly the pieces of clothing:


Hopefully I can make it quick like that, and right after the shot of the main explosion, get a chaotic stumble reaction from the other villain, and then cut back to a camera recovering from the blast with just smoke hanging in the air with pieces of dude all over the place. I think that will work.

I just KNOW there is something perfect to use for the body. The lab suit is good...could work....it will expand and make a big POP...but maybe it would expand too much and end up looking like the parade floats at the end of Tim Burtons Batman?
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Old 11-27-2018, 05:42 PM   #13
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Yeah I like the idea. flooding the scene with so much smoke and red powder and small pieces flying around works.
I think this scene is a combination of slight explosions and after effects. But I see where u going with it. It works.
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Old 11-27-2018, 05:47 PM   #14
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but maybe it would expand too much and end up looking like the parade floats at the end of Tim Burtons Batman?
You can expand the suit to which ever point u want. As soon as you realize the suit has expanded enough, blow some crackers.( though it needs some sort of a timer ). Also lab suits aren't that elastic. I don't think they'll expand that much.
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Old 11-27-2018, 05:55 PM   #15
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you can also use a silicon sex doll . They are shaped like human bodies realistically and they are elastic so can explode easily. ( Either by crackers or blowing too much wind in it)

Last edited by pedramyz; 11-27-2018 at 05:58 PM.
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