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Old 07-12-2015, 09:10 PM
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MoviePropMaster2008 MoviePropMaster2008 is offline
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Default FYI: Info on blanks being used today ;)

A relatively recent development in movies and TV shows that still use blank adapted real weapons (versus airsofts that have their 'muzzle flashes digitally put in') is that many professional productions that have live 'blank' fire are still digitally 'enhancing' their flashes in post production.

I've heard from several on set prop masters that most of the blank firing guns they use on TV shows and movie sets (apart from the high action 'Expendables' type of movie) are now (quarter) 1/4th power load blanks.

I'm running into more and more productions that ask for '1/4' load. These are hella wimpy blanks.... As you well know this cycles the action, provides a teeny little kick, but has virtually no muzzle flash.

They're doing this because of noise issues. They can film past noise ordinance curfews in many locations because the sound is so much quieter. Then they add in Post production 'flash' to enhance the blank firing. Also the actors and crew seem to like the fact that the blasts aren't as loud. But they're still 'firing' so the brass being ejected, smoke, slide movement and actor response is still better looking than having an actor 'mime' fire with a fake airsoft gun.

This has been the case for a while, but I didn't realize how prevalent it was in the industry. An on set armorer who recently rented 50 guns from ISS commented that he believed that most of their guns were already adjusted for 'quarter loads' from the get go. Interesting...

This doesn't affect any of our IMFDB pages, but as you know, our members have access to insider working knowledge of weapons in films that the vast majority of the planet does not.
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:31 PM
Mazryonh Mazryonh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoviePropMaster2008 View Post
They're doing this because of noise issues. They can film past noise ordinance curfews in many locations because the sound is so much quieter. Then they add in Post production 'flash' to enhance the blank firing. Also the actors and crew seem to like the fact that the blasts aren't as loud. But they're still 'firing' so the brass being ejected, smoke, slide movement and actor response is still better looking than having an actor 'mime' fire with a fake airsoft gun.
You're still not getting the full recoil from these quarter-loads, which depending on the weapon is clearly not realistic-looking, but this would be generally noticed only by those familiar with those weapons. As for cutting down on firing noise, aren't actors in firing scenes always wearing hearing protection?

Do the post-production houses also put in the brief change in ambient lighting that real muzzle flashes put out, which is most noticeable indoors? At quarter-power, those likely aren't going to be noticeable at all in daytime lighting conditions, especially with flash-suppressor-using weapons.

How about older movies like Heat? The muzzle flashes during the film's most famous shootouts were rather unrealistically large given the flash suppressors on those weapons.

I also heard that in the movie Passchendaele, the filmmakers actually used blanks with more powder than usual, though I didn't hear the reason why. Was it to get more impressive muzzle flashes out of the WWI firearms in that movie without the need for post-production enhancement?
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:24 PM
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funkychinaman funkychinaman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazryonh View Post
You're still not getting the full recoil from these quarter-loads, which depending on the weapon is clearly not realistic-looking, but this would be generally noticed only by those familiar with those weapons. As for cutting down on firing noise, aren't actors in firing scenes always wearing hearing protection?

Do the post-production houses also put in the brief change in ambient lighting that real muzzle flashes put out, which is most noticeable indoors? At quarter-power, those likely aren't going to be noticeable at all in daytime lighting conditions, especially with flash-suppressor-using weapons.

How about older movies like Heat? The muzzle flashes during the film's most famous shootouts were rather unrealistically large given the flash suppressors on those weapons.

I also heard that in the movie Passchendaele, the filmmakers actually used blanks with more powder than usual, though I didn't hear the reason why. Was it to get more impressive muzzle flashes out of the WWI firearms in that movie without the need for post-production enhancement?
I think when he refers to less noise, it's to satisfy local residents. No one wants to hear gunfire around their neighborhood, whether they're movie blanks or not.

I read in Die Hard they used high powered blanks as well to get better flash. Then again, they shot at Fox Plaza, so who was going to complain.
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Old 09-08-2015, 04:49 AM
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MoviePropMaster2008 MoviePropMaster2008 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazryonh View Post
You're still not getting the full recoil from these quarter-loads, which depending on the weapon is clearly not realistic-looking, but this would be generally noticed only by those familiar with those weapons. As for cutting down on firing noise, aren't actors in firing scenes always wearing hearing protection?
Cast and Crew still wear hearing protection. The cast has to push those foam plugs WAAAAYYYYY into their ears and the Makeup artists touch it up to look like a natural part of their ears. It's still a super hassle. A quieter 'bang' is seemed to be liked by everyone....except ME hahahah

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazryonh View Post
Do the post-production houses also put in the brief change in ambient lighting that real muzzle flashes put out, which is most noticeable indoors? At quarter-power, those likely aren't going to be noticeable at all in daytime lighting conditions, especially with flash-suppressor-using weapons.
Only the really GOOD movies do that. Many movies just do the bare minimum. To be fair, even a partial power blank will make the scene look a whole hell of a lot better than a stupid Airsoft gun and the actor 'mime firing'. I hate those things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazryonh View Post
How about older movies like Heat? The muzzle flashes during the film's most famous shootouts were rather unrealistically large given the flash suppressors on those weapons.
Nope, those were standard "full flash" blanks. That's how they look. Full auto fire also tends to burn up MORE powder efficiently than semi auto, thus creating an even bigger fireball than a semi auto gun.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazryonh View Post
I also heard that in the movie Passchendaele, the filmmakers actually used blanks with more powder than usual, though I didn't hear the reason why. Was it to get more impressive muzzle flashes out of the WWI firearms in that movie without the need for post-production enhancement?
It depends. more powerful than what? Milspec training blanks in many countries suck and are wimpy. Check out our own 5.56mm training blanks. You can barely hear them. They could be just the standard 'Full Flash' movie blanks that everyone uses (or well .... 'used' to use).

For the record, whenever I have a say, I go with the full flash blanks. I think it looks better and the actors react a lot more believably when they're rocking the big fireballs.....
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