CGI-generated muzzle flash in low-budget films and such...

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CGI-generated muzzle flash in low-budget films and such...

Post  LarsRobert on Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:48 am

...what's up with this.

Now, I realize that there are budgets that need to be strickly adhere to...especially when one entity is financing another entity's production. But I am one who (1) believes that there should be a STRICK adherence to continuity and (2) stricked adherence to ACCURACY when it comes to portraying firearms and what they do on screen. Right off the bat, let me say for the record...I am not anal...it just bugs me when I see a live firearm(s) being "fired" by actors or actresses on screen and the flash/flame emitting from the muzzles are NOT REAL! That's like watching a movie, seeing the actors and actresses mouthing words, but without sound and above their heads...there are little "bubbles" with their words inside...just like they do in the ol' DC Comic books and the ones they sell now-a-days, too. What 'da....? When you don't see an firearm action cycling, don't see empty brass ejecting and don't see REAL flame emiting from muzzles...it just makes one's production look low-budget...parden the pun. No offense to any hard working, self-starting and self-financed professionals intended! There is a solution. I, for one would much rather to see a 8mm or 9mm PAK blank-firing replica...preferable a FRONT-venting blank-firing replica, live revolvers with production blanks or even military BFAs on military-style firearms like AR15s that may be used in one's fixed budget production rather than seeing a cartoon flash coming out of a live weapon's muzzle and that same gun being "shaken" back and forth by the actor or actress holding it...who is trying to simulate recoil of that gun. Geez, HELP!

Way back when, I started my armoring career with a few revolvers, including my Dad's S&W Model 10 4" M&P, using S&W .38 Special production blanks, a few pump shotguns using 12 gauge "popper" loads, my .45 Long Colt lever gun using red and black 5 in 1 blanks and my 1977-mfg Colt AR15 SP1 using M200 USGI 5.56mm blanks with a "Hollywood" BFA (that I bought from SARCO) all as my initial, start-up rental guns. First and foremost though, I learned and practiced the protocol for the SAFE handling of firearms, be them real or blanked-out. Also, to treat them ALL with the utmost respect. One who is going to be an on-set Armorer MUST KNOW that protocol by heart and relay it in no uncertain terms to those actors or actresses on-set BEFORE they ever even handle a prop gun...especially when in addition to just handling them, they will be firing them, too. But unfortunately, there are those select "hot-shot" actors who think that when it comes to guns...they know it all, you know, the ones that completely ignore Amorer's initial one-on-one safety protocol meetings and also, the ones that try to make Armorers feel like they are insignificant and in doing so, make asses of themselves. They're trying to either impress their female counterpart on-set or impress the Director and/or Producer that hired them. Remember that actor (John Hexsom, something or other) on a film set about 25 years ago who placed a real .44 Magnum revolver loaded with full-flash .44 Magnum blanks up to his temple and pulled the trigger...hoping to impress those around him? I don't think that he listened to the Armorer. Needless to say, BLANKS CAN KILL!

Later, I started renting my entire inventory (when I was a licensed FFL and C3 dealer) of blanked-out machineguns, submachineguns, automatic rifles, other longguns and handguns to Universal and MGM Studios when they opened up in Orlando in the late 80's. I was the start-up Armorer for Ring's Studio Gun Rental (now dba BlueGuns.com) and also, armored for many other TV and film projects (taped or filmed) in those same studios...including a few "Superboy" episodes, the last episode of the "New Leave it to Beaver Show" where the Beaver and the gang were all gansters and G-men in a B&W-filmed "dream" episode, the "Dick Tracy Movie Premier" open (at MGM) where we used quite a few of Syd Stembridge's Colt Thompson SMGs that he rented for that movie. I was the pre-production and principle filming Armorer for "Last of the Mohicans" for the first 3 months of production in 1991 and I also, was a free-lance armorer for Bob Shelley Special Effects in Atlanta, GA back in the early 2000's. But after carrying TV cameras and other support equipment and gear every day, along with designing, physically building and lighting sets while climbing around in the grid, setting up and striking TV, film and many other sets and productions throughout the years, along with setting up and striking many NBC-produced Bay Hill Golf Classics...all in and around my Orlando TV station, now WKMG from '77 to '94 and later on, being a TV News videographer and later Chief Videographer at WRCB, a NBC affliliate in Chattanooga, TN until '99...humpin' all that and everything else from A to Z when it came to gear and equipment all those years (man and boy) just put the royal F.U.B.A.R. on my lower back, joints and hands. Back then, I was a single parent, was hungry for funds to live on, feed and cloth my daughter and also being a young 20-something guy...I always thought that I was 10 foot tall, bullet-proof and I could either lift or move absolutely ANYTHING...and now...1 wrist, 1 ankle, 3 back, 3 rotator cuff surgeries later, my lower spine is "bolted together" from my entire pelvis up to L2, I'm "ate up" with osteoarthritis in virtually every single joint, cannot lift anything over 15-20 pounds and deal with severe chronic pain 24/7. But hey, I look at it this way now, there's always some poor soul(s) out there who has it worst than I. If God blesses me with an extra day, I just try and make the best of it.

So while I can still walk and function these days, I cannot do anything physical anymore. BUT! I can still HELP people with what I have learned in my 30 years of experience and knowledge from my earlier years when I was an Armorer...and my help is FREE to those need it to help themselves with whatever it is that they need help with in the related field. Heck, you never know...there may be an individual somewhere out there who (may be a Prop Master, Asst. Propmaster, Special Effects Super or Armorer on a production) that may be sitting alone at a big conference table just after a brain-storming, loud and high-energy pre-production meeting with his/her Director and Producer for a project, wondering where and how to do and get everything that his/her were told to "make happen" at such a time and date...without fail...and he/she may be just about to pull his/her hair out during an anxioty attack that was a result of the aforementioned event. (IF) I can help...I WANT to help. Like I said, I started with a couple of firearms and a few boxes of blanks, listening to/shooting with a lot of experts spent at the range, as well. 30+ years later, on and off, man and boy...Im left with a FULL "hard drive." I can help with blank ammo sources, gun rental facilities, a "drop-gun" vendor (one doesn't want to drop their $1500 Colt AR15 from a roof top...right?) and any other related sources and info for using blank-guns and blanks, etc.

ANYWAY! Thanks everyone for reading through all of this long-winded .02 of mine here. Everyone make it a good day...and remember, NO question is stupid (IF) you don't know the answer before you ask it.

Kim in NW GA Very Happy
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LarsRobert

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Re: CGI-generated muzzle flash in low-budget films and such...

Post  Fight Designer on Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:05 am

Thanks for the offer! CG muzzle flash can be done tastefully, I think, but I totally hear your complaint. Same to me as the silly "Sching!" noise every time someone draws a broadsword out of a leather scabbard in the movies. Rolling Eyes
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