Help with special effects shot

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by THX1139, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    I need to shoot someone trying to break into a car by smashing their fist through the passenger side door. They are trying to get to someone who has locked themselves into the car. They are pounding on the windows while the victim inside the car is fumbling to find their keys.

    I looked into using breakaway glass, but that doesn't shatter the same as safety window auto glass. Another option was to shoot a car window breaking separately and then compositing it over the empty window frame. But, I'm afraid that might look cheesy. Plus there is talent in the frame that would need to also be shot separately then composited.

    Another idea is to have the killer use a special glass breaking device that is hidden from camera, but I don't want to go through a bunch of windows trying to get the shot right. Plus the window would have to be replaced for each take. And there is also that issue of safety. I can't very well have the killer and victim put on safety glasses and gloves can I?

    Oh, and one more thing... the killer remains in the shot when breaking the window. AND, they have to use their fist... not a hammer or other object unless I can hide it from camera. They are punching through the window as it shatters into a million pieces - then they reach in and grab the victim.

    Do you have any (affordable) ideas how to pull this off?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    Tempered glass breaks quite easily if hit with the right object (I will pm you the object, no need making punk kids lives any easier). If the killer can wear a glove and coat, the object can be sewn into the glove and killer will be protected by the coat and glove. Assuming the victim is on the drivers side, the glass shouldn't reach her. You could practise on some scrapyard windows or windows out of the car to get a working system and save time on the day of the shoot.

    There may be better solutions, but this is an option.
  3. THX1139 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    Great, thanks jampat, but the killer is a woman with out long sleeves or a coat. But anyway, we decided to do the shot as a composite. We will break the window as a separate plate shot and then put it together in After Effects. We are shooting next weekend, so if anyone has another idea, please post it. We are open to all ideas.
  4. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    Maybe take a look at for help in the visual effects arena if you plan to do this with VFX instead of SFX. But there may be other boards out there focusing on other aspects, like SFX, of film making.
  5. mrbojanglesix macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2008
    glass breaking

    I know this isn't exactly what you were looking for, but you can always reassess the shot if you don't think you can pull off the effect. You could do a reverse shot of the killer breaking the glass and then cut back to them reaching through the broken window. It might not be what you had in mind but creative editing will always win over weak effects.

    That being said...

    There's no reason you couldn't make the shattering glass CG. It would be tricky to have the killer tap against the glass without breaking it (since it would just be an empty window), but a clean punch through would be simple enough (in a relative sort of way). If the camera was moving you'd need a 3D tracker, but if you were only doing one shot you could use the full license of the foundry's 3d tracker, which is an After effects plugin, for free for 15 days. It would require a whole lot of roto to place the window behind the killer's arm, but I'm assuming you are at least pretty familiar with AE. I don't know what your effects/cg experience is, but if you don't have a commercial 3D package the effect could be achieved in blender, there was a shatter script that was released a few months ago (you can find it on, search "shatter script" and it should come up) and did shattering glass as the weekly tutorial a couple weeks ago. I know this seems like the long way around (and it all gets harder if you're shooting at night) but that's all to illustrate the benefits of some creative editing.

    Good luck with your shoot!
  6. fuchsi macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2010

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