Shooting Stunt Scenes & Fight Scenes

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    Orkun Ozcan

      Hello Mr. Deakins and all the forum members!


      I just got hired in a short film as a second unit to shoot/re-shoot some fight and stunt scenes. Things like a guy pushing someone over a shelf, kicking someone out etc etc. I am curious if there are any small hints, notes or experiences you can share with me while shooting these kind of scenes. What to avoid, what to keep in mind!

      I know the nature of the question is a bit broad and not detailed but i am hoping you can find something to share with me from your point of view on this!


      Thanks a lot



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    • #215412

        Overall, if the stunt person can do the stunt in one unbroken action, you have to consider respecting that and capturing as much of the action as you can it in one shot. This way, cinematography and editing do not take away from the action. There’s a power and immediacy to seeing the whole stunt unfold in front of you without any visible tricks. This approach lends itself to wider shots with more stable camerawork.

        If on the contrary the stunt person cannot do it in one instalment, and you have to break it up in different shots to create the illusion, or there are parts of the action you can’t film, then the approach changes because you have to use the camera to hide things instead of to show. This lends to using longer lenses in order to cheat the distance between things, and various tricks such as handheld work to help carry the energy and hide defects in motion blur, for example. You can also use center framing, for easy readability of the images when they are going to be edited fast.

        It is very important to make sure to properly spacialise the action (the space must be known and that we always know who’s where).

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