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Benjamin Smith

Building explosion without blowing up a building.

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I am researching for a short in which the inside of a bank explodes. So far I have not been able to find a bank that will let me blow it up ;) . So Here is where I need help I can create the after math of an explosion with smoke machines and debris but the explosion itself I don't know. I could imply an explosion flash of light sound effects etc. Any Ideas?

 

P.s. I refuse to use CG explosions. In my opinion they are crap. Thanks

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Well depends on how much destruction you want. If you want a wide shot of the building exploding it sounds like your limiting yourself to miniatures - which will require trained pyro techs, a high-speed camera and model builders who know how to build miniatures that will breakaway when they explode.

 

For a smaller explosion (ie. localised to the bank vault) then your left with either using pyro (always use qualified technicians) or implying it using smoke, light, debris and some camera shake.

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I'm kind of intrigued by these that Phil pointed out in a recent post. Photographed elements, not CG.

 

I'm not a post FX guy but in my experience any convincing effect is usually a combination of elements blended together anyway; live action effects and multiple comps layered together. And chances are the edit will have several shots to "sell" the action; each using a slightly different combination of effects. Talk to your director (or editor, if you're the director) about what angles you really want for the edit, and then break down those shots into the effects elements each shot will need.

 

Check out the DVD extras on The X Files: Fight the Future for some ideas.

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I actually thought of this thread first when I read your post:

http://www.cinematography.com/forum2004/in...showtopic=26120

 

I guess that many explosions on screen don't really use pyro. If you go shot-by-shot, choosing shots that would show segments of the action, such as a window being blown out (which would be a set and pneumatic "explosions"), as well as actors' reactions, then you should be able to sell it.

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I think you've already got it, a flash as air cannons or mortars, blast Styrofoam debris and Fuller's Earth out through turrinon gun shattered sugar glass window panes, a heavy looking Styrofoam core balsa wood door ripped off it's hinges revealing a wrecked interior with smashed counters, overturned tables covered in dust and debris smoke pouring out of the glassless windows ant the wrecked doorway add a carefully composed sound FX track to the gag and bam (pardon the pun) as I said you got it. B) (BTW I've seen it done like this in quite a few films, thee indication of an explosion with out actually setting off a charge in a building and blowing it up, in fact because of the cost of buildings and the chance that extras and stunt people can get like....you know....blown up along with the building, it's, MOST of the time, the preferred method :D and it's actually quite effective.)

Edited by James Steven Beverly
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Alright guys. Thanks a lot all the info is top notch. I like all the Ideas Miniatures for fast shots and use props for the rest. Good stuff to think about. Thanks

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I think you've already got it, a flash as air cannons or mortars, blast Styrofoam debris and Fuller's Earth out through turrinon gun shattered sugar glass window panes, a heavy looking Styrofoam core balsa wood door ripped off it's hinges revealing a wrecked interior with smashed counters, overturned tables covered in dust and debris smoke pouring out of the glassless windows ant the wrecked doorway add a carefully composed sound FX track to the gag and bam (pardon the pun) as I said you got it. cool.gif (BTW I've seen it done like this in quite a few films, thee indication of an explosion with out actually setting off a charge in a building and blowing it up, in fact because of the cost of buildings and the chance that extras and stunt people can get like....you know....blown up along with the building, it's, MOST of the time, the preferred method biggrin.gif and it's actually quite effective.)

wow, 10 years later, and this is really what I'm looking for. i don't think I have the money for this though...did any of your description apply as well to a wide shot of the entire building or just close ups of portions ?

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