I was watching the movie Rio Bravo with John Wayne. I noticed near the end of the movie while in the barn, the wood of the barn was hit next to John Wayne with what seemed like a bullet. This was before special effects so how did they do this? Was it preset or did they have someone shooting? Often you will see people jumping from shots at their feet etc. Just curious.
Many of those "near misses" are done with what are called 'squibs'; small explosive charges set off by a special effects person sitting behind the camera. In the days of Rio Bravo they would have been wired in and in the last few years they have been sometimes done with wireless technology. However, wireless can be dangerous under some circumstances so wired charges are sometimes used today.
This same technology can be used to show the impact of a shot on an actor; a bullet proof vest, or for heavier charges, body armour, is loaded with a charge and when the character is shot the SpEf guy trips the charge making it appear that there has been the impact of a bullet.
In the 1 movie I was ever in--back in '59, so the technology has changed--when I got 'shot' there was a board w/a squib attached to my chest under my shirt. I was instructed, when the squib went off, to take 3 steps, shake my head so my helmet would fall off, and then fall. The 3 steps would let the editor take out the puff of smoke from the squib. The only thing the viewer would see would be the hole suddenly appearing in my shirt, my helmet falling off, & my fall.
Charlie, I will be watching for the 3 steps when someone is shot in the movies now.
You're not likely to see the '3-step' procedure any more. In those days they literally had to cut a couple or 3 frames out of the film, then splice it, to remove the puff of smoke.
These days they can edit it out electronically. It was a war movie & the male lead was Richard Conte, but it's not listed in his filmography, so I don't know if it was ever actually released. It was definitely low-budget. It was filmed on a ranch west of Austin. The female lead was an extremely buxom Italian woman who apparently learned her lines phonetically. Her main talent seemed to be unbuttoning her blouse abt half-way down & shaking her torso a lot. The extras--including me--spent time marching around wearing US helmets & carrying M-1s borrowed from the Texas National Guard one day & the next day wearing papier-mache German helmets, carrying Parris Mfg. wooden drill rifles, & marching around. Talk about unrealistic--they had us, supposedly on route march, marching in cadence & carrying the rifles at right shoulder arms. On a route march you march at route-step, not cadenced, & sling your rifle.
I have a great deal more admiration for the SpEf guys who wire the squibs and gerbils now. This would require a lot of knowledge and timing to set the scene just right and make sure everyone is safe.
Squibs were first used to simulate bullet impacts in the 1955 Polish film Pokolenie by Andrzi Wajda, where for the first time audiences were presented with a realistic representation of a bullet impacting on an on-camera human being, complete with blood spatter. The creator of the effect, Kazimierz Kutz, used a condom with fake blood and chunk of dynamite.
For the most part the bullet wounds in old ‘B’ movies and TV shows were painted on with paint/makeup, chicken blood, or later corn syrup and food coloring.
Actually, in the old days, sometimes they used actual live rounds while filming. In one of James Cagney's movie, he almost got hit by machine gun fire. I'd imagine they did they same in westerns as well. That incident forced the Screen Actors Guild to enforce strict rules on the use of live ammo in the movie/television industry. Before that they pretty much did whatever they could get away with.
Most of the near missed you see today are either squibs, especially if there are sparks involved, since lead bullets create no sparks. Sparks are created by an FX’s devise known as a gerbil. They also use paint ball guns with balls filled with fullers earth (fine ash used in concrete), or ball bearings. In Tombstone at the springs when Powers Booth ‘Curly’ was killed, the hits in the water were made by an FX technician out of the frame with a high powered paint ball gun shooting ball bearings.
These are great stories, the names alone cause you to wonder who named squibs and gerbils and why. Thanks this makes movies a lot more interesting especially those made before 1955.
Watched two actors tell a story about working with John FOrd ... I think it was William Holden and Glenn Ford, but with my memory it could have been anybody.
They were doing a scen where they rode toward a canyon rim, jumped off their horses, crawled up to the rim through the sage brush and weeds and looked into the canyon. They did several takes (close to a dozen, one said) and Director Ford kept making them do it over because their butts where way up in the air during this crawl forward.
Finally Ford sets the scene up again but this time he has a step ladder set up just behind the camera. While the two stars are making their ride into the scene he gets a Winchester and loads it with live rounds. As the two stars are crawling toward the canyon he stands on the ladder and starts firing into the brush.
One star turns to the other and says, "There's pieces of branches falling on me."
The other says, "The bugger is firing at us."
They crawled forward to the rim, this time keeping their butts out of sight.
Director Fors says, "That's a take."
Both actors admitted they were upset at the time, but where laughing when they related it in a very humerous way.
Funny now but they may not have laughed as much if they could not sit down comfortably for awhile. I bet they never forgot the movie or John Ford.
Thats a great story only in Hollywood