How To Shoot A Fight Scene & Practical Muzzle Flash Effects

Fighting should be an easy thing to capture on film, right? You just get a couple of guys fake punch each other in the face and have them react like a real punch just connected, with heads flying in the opposite direction. Well, it shouldn’t surprise you that it takes a whole lot more than that, and even in the short time Ryan Connolly and his crew had to shoot Losses, a whole bunch of rehearsal and choreography went into the fight scene before it was even filmed. Not only that, but Connolly took the time to see what it might look like in-camera before actually shooting. Looks like taking time to prepare was a smart move on Connolly’s part.

Preparing For A Fight: An Exercise In Not Wasting Valuable Time

In Episode 131, Ryan took these steps to stage the fight before shooting:

  • Casting: One of the first things Connolly mentions about his big fistfight scene in Losses is proper casting. You need to get people who know how to throw a punch without looking ridiculous in the process. In this case, Connolly found an MMA fighter to be his brother Josh’s fistfight opponent. Once he knew he had two actors who could sell the fight, it was time to choreograph and rehearse the scene.
  • Breaking Up the Fight Into Sections: Connolly broke up the fight into five sections. This made it easier to rehearse and to shoot. They would go over the first section of the fight, and once they had it down, they moved on to the next part.
  • Keeping The Actors From Hurting Themselves Too Much: Because they would be rehearsing the scene a lot and hitting each other over and over again, Ryan bought forearm guards for his actors so that they wouldn’t hurt each other too much during the rehearsals. Even with the guards, there was some bruising, but it reduced the overall pain factor.
  • Shooting Test Angles: Ryan was able to see what worked and what didn’t in-camera, and was able to figure out how he would shoot the scene once they got to the location. He found out that some things might look great right in front of you, but on camera they might look totally different, even terrible.

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