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Fight Techniques?

Posted: Sun, 25th Aug 2002, 12:02pm

Post 1 of 25

Greyo

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hey can anyone recommend how to do fight scenes safely but yet make them look extremly realistic.

What camera angles should u use, should u do it slow motion then speed it up etc

Anyone hints/tips on how to create the best fight scenes would be greatly appreciated
Posted: Sun, 25th Aug 2002, 12:17pm

Post 2 of 25

b4uask30male

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Rating: +1

for punches.
have the camera behind the obne getting hit, ( it won't show how far the punch is away from his face. )

kick to the face ( karate style )
have your actor sitting on the ground, and the one kicking puts his foot on the others check, record and have the actor move his leg back as if he's just landed his foot on the face of the other, and make they guy getting kick move out of camera shot ( close ups needed )
then cut to a long shot and finsh the scene.
Posted: Sun, 25th Aug 2002, 1:37pm

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MechaForce

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Over the shoulder stuff works well for face punches . . . .
Posted: Sun, 25th Aug 2002, 1:41pm

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Hajiku_Flip

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Going with 'over the shoulder stuff' works really well when your filming. The reason being, cameras lack depth perception that we usually have when viewing things. So when your watching your fight sequence, it's hard to tell if your 2 inches away, or 2 feet away. cool
Posted: Sun, 25th Aug 2002, 2:06pm

Post 5 of 25

anonymous

For lightsaber duels you can first practice one scen whit some hits and jumps and so. Make it solwly in the beginign and move on faster and faster when you know what to do.
(this will also work whit other kind of fighting scens)

Good Luck! biggrin
Posted: Sun, 25th Aug 2002, 2:16pm

Post 6 of 25

anonymous

My advice to you is simply cut, cut, cut.
Get a mastershot and then get close-up coverage out the *ss. More than you'll need. Then use quick cuts. Fast-paced editing in an action sequence will intensify the action. Kind of puts the viewer in the middle of it. It also creates the illusion that more is happening than may actually be.
Obviously, this isn't to say that a fight scene can't be exciting without a lot of hotshot editing, but it's better be a damned good fight.
The viewer's mind will fill in what they aren't seeing. Remember it is an illusion you are creating.
Posted: Sun, 25th Aug 2002, 2:18pm

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Travis

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By the way, that last post was from me. I forgot to log in before posting.
Posted: Sun, 25th Aug 2002, 4:00pm

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yojimbo

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One mistake I frequently see in fight scenes is the actors look too similar because of lighting conditions or because they are dressed in a similar fashion. It's really frustrating to watch a fight when you can't tell the combatants apart.

I like jump cuts a lot, but don't over do it. Too many fast cuts, or too many closeup shots can also be confusing. Try to have a good mix of medium and closeup shots. Unless you have multiple cameras, you will have to shoot the fight several times, or at least parts of it, to get the footage you'll need for editing. While you are filming the fight, try to get some interesting camera angles (e.g. put your cameraman on a step ladder or lying on the ground, etc.).

Pick some music to match/set the pace. A lot of films use dramatic symphonic music (e.g. star wars) and while this is nice, look at other types of music. The music used in the fight scenes for Blade and Blade II was fantastic, but completely different than anything you would hear in Star Wars.

If a maneuver seems too dangerous, such as one fighter ducking just in time to avoid a board being swung at his head, consider shooting the actors separately, then compositing them together. This way, you can set the timing so that the board seems to barely miss. Just a thought. neutral
Posted: Sun, 25th Aug 2002, 4:47pm

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Travis

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Absolutely agree about the cutting. You've elaborated nicely on my brief response. Definitely mix wide, medium, and close-up shots. Your point about getting interesting angles and such is a good one.
But, don't just cut it all together randomly. There needs to be a pace and flow to the whole thing. It's like a piece of music and, in fact, sometimes letting the music guide the edits is helpful, if you already have some picked out.
Good point about the need to make it clear who is who in the fight. I see this all the time.
The other problem I see is lack of character. Fighting simply to fight is boring. I don't care how well choreographed or how amazing the FX are. If I don't care about who these people are, I am not going to gve a sh*t about their fight. Nor will an audience of laypeeps. The viewing public is numb to FX. They've seen it all. And they know how it's all done thanks to "making of" tv shows. There's no magic left in FX. The magic resides in character (where it should be). People care about people. They don't care about lasers and explosions. Remember that the FX are there as a support beam for story and character. Otherwise it's nothing more than cinematic masturbation.
Also, keep in mind that, quite often, less is more.
Posted: Sun, 25th Aug 2002, 4:51pm

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Cypher

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i just get them to fight real biggrin

real punches, real kicks, real pain, real realism wink


heheh, im evil.
Posted: Sun, 1st Sep 2002, 7:36pm

Post 11 of 25

Two Gunned Saint

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Overly fast editing, often undoes the sequence, rather than enhances it. The fight at the end of Lethal Weapon 4 is a string of closeups so you can't see what's happening. Which is a shame as Jet Li is perhaps the greatest martial artist in modern cinema and his fantastisc prowess was hidden behind a barrage of indecipherable close shots. I like to have fights in strange places, my latest film has two combatants fighting half-on, half-off a roof. Another fight they're balanced on a girder under a huge bridge, hundred feet above a river. It's fun risking your life for a shot. Remember you should know your actors limitations. Don't try for some lightning fast, martial arts scene involving back flips, people being thrown about and fantastic kicking combinations while stood on the front of a speeding car, If your actors won't make it look good. Another good tip is have a low camera for a kick. It will make it look like the actor is kicking really high. It's also your subject matter and the camera that have to move fast not necessarily the editing. Use the editing to enhance it, don't rely on the speed of each cut to make it good.
Posted: Mon, 2nd Sep 2002, 4:27pm

Post 12 of 25

Two Gunned Saint

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I've got a couple extra tips now, I knew I'd forgotten something. For a closeup of somone getting kicked in the head, put a pair of trousers on your arm, I suggest you carry an extra pair for this shot as removing them from your legs to put them on your arms is a little shifty. Put your shoe on your hand and have a closeup of the person getting kicked. The arm is much easier to control than the leg, so it's safer and your not going to pull your groin from doing too many takes of it. Also use flour and/or charcoal (depending on what colour clothes the actors are wearing, flour for light colours, charcoal for dark) put that on your actor getting hit. So when he is hit it flies off, looking like dust in the air. Obviously this only works for full contact fights and only light punches are recomended as I don't want to be blamed for someone putting flour on their face and having someone doing a flying kick right in their mouth. An easy way round this is to apply it to the limb that is doing the attacking. So your dust can fly without the actors having to make full physical contact. Hope this helped abit.
Posted: Mon, 4th Nov 2002, 4:56pm

Post 13 of 25

CoolHandAndy

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Thanks all - I was thinking of asking this question myself. I especially liked the suggestion about putting a trouser on an arm - I'm guessing this is an oldie... but a goldie!

Cheers again.
Posted: Mon, 4th Nov 2002, 8:16pm

Post 14 of 25

curran

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I did mention this in another post, I apologise for repeating myself.

Try and get hold of Jackie Chans 'My Stunts' on DVD or video. Jackie runs through the basics on how to choreograph a martial arts fight scene.

Theres another very good video called Acrobatic Fighting Techniques which also covers the grounding to choreograph fight sequences. Of the top of my head I cant remember the author. Its available at HMV, Virgin and almost any martial arts shop.


Greyo wrote:

hey can anyone recommend how to do fight scenes safely but yet make them look extremly realistic.

What camera angles should u use, should u do it slow motion then speed it up etc

Anyone hints/tips on how to create the best fight scenes would be greatly appreciated
Posted: Mon, 4th Nov 2002, 8:20pm

Post 15 of 25

Xfurball

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I found a good way to make street fighting or gang scenes is to make the camera go crazy, as in move around with it and make it unsteady and from different angles very fast and only leave it somewhere long enough to see a cool move, it works great!
Posted: Mon, 4th Nov 2002, 8:23pm

Post 16 of 25

Two Gunned Saint

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Martial Arts shop?!?!?! you actually have a Martial Arts shop, we have Crappy shops in my city. I forgot to mention "My Stunts" from the master himself. (Jackie Chan actually threw himself onto hot coals in Drunken Master 2) I don't really do hand to hand stuff, I'm a weapons man. Big Firepower, when I choreograph, sometimes I take ideas from where we are shooting. I look at it and imagine the most graceful moves and energy that fit perfectly into the suroundings. My assistant directors just look for the biggest roof, they can leap off guns blazing. I think a fight has to flow and be elegant, that's just my taste.
Posted: Mon, 4th Nov 2002, 8:59pm

Post 17 of 25

anonymous

Two_Gunned saint,

Shit I recall that scene in Legend of the Drunken Master when he falls onto the hot coals. Crazy shit or what biggrin

The fight scene between him and his body guard in the last part of the film took nearly 4 months to film.
Posted: Mon, 4th Nov 2002, 9:10pm

Post 18 of 25

Two Gunned Saint

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Yeah, Ken Lo (Chan's Bodyguard) is really good. I thought "2000 ad" was great, he plays a high tech assassin, who stands about on roofs with various items of heavy weaponry. (Isn't it infuriating when it cuts out the word sh*t with poo on your post.)
Posted: Mon, 4th Nov 2002, 9:50pm

Post 19 of 25

Xfurball

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"Ken Lo" Is "Yes No" in hebrew, thats really ammusing
Posted: Mon, 4th Nov 2002, 9:52pm

Post 20 of 25

Two Gunned Saint

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Is it? Wow that's bad. I heard that "Monty Python's Flying Circus" translates as... "The Gay Boys Dragon Show" in some language.
Posted: Mon, 4th Nov 2002, 10:23pm

Post 21 of 25

The Great One

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Look at the fight at the end of Lethal Weapon, between Gary Busey and Mel Gibson. Most of the shots are very close and shaky, not necessarily depicting every blow but just showing chaos and movement. That way Gibson and Busey didn't actually have to be very good at their apparent martial arts, coz you don't really see them. Quick cuuts and crazy camera is a sure fire method. Cut in some longer sgots here and there and hey presto. Also by cutting lots of chaotic close angles, you can increase the actual amount of blows exchanged in editing. The Greatest Lightsaber Movie Ever in the cinema does this. Jack and me only clashed swords about 8 time but it went up to about 14 in the edit, without seeming to repeat anything.
Posted: Mon, 4th Nov 2002, 10:38pm

Post 22 of 25

Two Gunned Saint

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Yeah, however close angles like that get boring I find, you can't see what's going on so it doesn't look good. It's useful like you said, if there's something you don't want the audience to see, such as the fact that they weren't great fighters, or you've only got 3 extras to recreate Waterloo for you Napoleonic film etc. However I'd go for energetic and exciting shots in which you can see what's happening, so test the actors limits, do a bit of training. Make it so it'll be exciting, however so you can pull off the moves convincingly. If you want the occasional amazing Donnie Yen style move, use the shaky close ups and stuff then, just don't over do it. I have learnt the odd move to make the fights more convincing. To make it more excitng do it hanging off the back of a moving bus or whatever not with flying cameras and stuff. That's my advice. Although shaky camera's sound safer.
Posted: Mon, 4th Nov 2002, 11:17pm

Post 23 of 25

curran

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lol lol lol

yeah I looked back at my post and thought did I write poo or did I write **** .

What do u think of the Jean Van Dam stuff ? I found his stuff pretty pathetic and boring. Bloodsport was an ok movie, his stuff seemed to go downhill from there. (dont get me wrong hes a good martial artist but crap on screen)




Two_Gunned saint wrote:

Yeah, Ken Lo (Chan's Bodyguard) is really good. I thought "2000 ad" was great, he plays a high tech assassin, who stands about on roofs with various items of heavy weaponry. (Isn't it infuriating when it cuts out the word sh*t with poo on your post.)
Posted: Mon, 4th Nov 2002, 11:26pm

Post 24 of 25

Two Gunned Saint

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I've always thought Van Damme is really good. He's quite charismatic I think, he can fight and his actings better than Schwarzenegger's or Stallone's. In my opinion he's the best white action star. Not being racist, I'm white myself but the Chinese do it best. Although people's tastes vary. I just like him he can make you smile just by smiling on screen I find, that's a good quality. Plus he starred in John Woo's first Hollywood effort.
Posted: Tue, 5th Nov 2002, 5:31am

Post 25 of 25

Xfurball

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the Chinese do it best. Although people's tastes vary.
i so DO NOT want to know what this means razz