Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bullet Hits or BANG BANG Shoot 'em Up

Sorry it's taken me so long to post.  The only 2 times I have been kayaking in the past year have been to scatter friends' ashes off Lanikai--which I did this past Monday again.  It's a beautiful place to spend eternity, (it even means "Heavenly Water")  but it's creating a bad association for me with kayaking!  I think I'd better just go for personal enjoyment reasons soon.

Well, we have to take the good photos with the not so good ones.  This was not one of the better sets, but the only thing I remember about it was that we not only shot it on film, we actually shot it up.  It's interesting to see what goes into bullet "squibs" for a gun fight.  Each gun shot blast is a separate wire to a small powder capsule attached to a wall surface or object (like a break-a-way vase or bottle.  Each one of the circuits running to each object or hole-in-the-wall to be "hit" gets connected to a positive side of a circuit.  Crudely done, it can be nails pounded into a board wired in series.  Then taking the negative side of the circuit on a separate nail, you just run the negative nail down the row of positive stationary nails completing each circuit for just a second.  As each circuit is closed, it fires the one squib it is connected to and BANG.  Or as the case may be, BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG, depending on how many squibs are used.  The order of the BANG locations matched the order on the crude little nail board so it appears that someone is firing an automatic gun across a wall.  Single bullet hits can be done the same way.  The person shooting obviously has to be aiming the fake or empty gun in the direction of the bullet hits for this to work.  Not sure if I have made this understandable or not?  Another way to do bullets are with small dust hits.  On people you can even have small, remote controlled squibs or blood packs to simulate their hits as well.  Of course there are times when we wish they would use real bullets on certain people, but that makes resetting a scene and clean up more difficult.  To reset a scene, another wall or portion or panel of a wall has to be already there, painted, wired, and loaded so they can try for another take without having everyone stand around waiting.  Well, looks like I made a boring set sound more interesting describing bullet hits.  These are all controlled by the special effects team, by the way.  Many times as a decorator, our department might supply the breakable objects made from "sugar glass" for them to use.  They are VERY expensive and fragile--although it is fun to break a bottle over someone's head once in awhile!

Aloha,  Rick


Mike (N1095A) said...

I believe this set is from the season 4 episode "Letter To A Dutchess". It was a flashback scene with Higgins in the 60s. I don't recall any shooting in that scene though.

Magnum Decorator said...

Well Mike, I would trust your knowledge more than my memory! Maybe it was so bad I just wanted to shoot it up! Those plates sitting on those shelves look kind of suspicious, but you never know. Well, at least you know how they do bullet hits now even if this wasn't the set they were done for.

Anonymous said...

I love all the behind the scenes stuff. you should make a dvd. I do have 2 questions if I might. 1) what sie was the brass bed in the guesthouse that Magnum slept on a queen or a king? 2) what color stain was the trim/molding and hat rack? It looks like mahogney.

Magnum Decorator said...

You should see me on camera....ahhh, mmm, ohhh, hmmm, uhhhh. I'm more of a behind the camera guy than on camera. I did do a sanctioned "LOST" interview once and they made me look and sound really good. Well, the bed was bought before I started, my guys made the bed and changed the sheets, but I'm guessing a king. This was 10 years before eBay had started, but I remember saying to my crew once, "I'll bet we could get a lot of money selling Tom's sheets". If I had only known.......... Again, the hat rack was there and would have been bought already built and stained. I could only describe it as "dark." but I think it was more walnut than mahogany. How's that for vague answers! Sorry.