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Home-made video effects:
Realistic head jab

Last updated 5-19-03

Filming a fight scene with kids can be frustrating. Children can have a hard time focusing, and it is difficult to film “realistic” fake fighting without them hurting themselves. After all, unlike the movies, you don’t have a fight choreographer nor do your kids have stunt doubles.

Given these limitations, there are still several great fighting moves that your kids can perform with a simple camcorder. One of these is the "head jab," or a realistic hit to the head. This effect works because your camcorder only captures film in two dimensions. We can use this lack of depth perception to trick the camera ...

Place both fighters facing each other. Move one of the fighters several steps away from the camera. Because the camera has no depth perception, it still looks like they are facing one another, though they are not.

Have your distant fighter “attack” the near fighter by jabbing his stick into the air where his opponent’s head would be. Likewise, instruct the victim to react as if hit in the head. Because the attacker is stabbing his stick "behind the head" (relative to the camera) there is no actual head-stick physical contact ... and your children will remain unscathed to fight another day.

This effect looks very realistic, especially if you add a punch noise sound effect with the attack. Your kids can stab and react with much gusto because they aren't actually hitting each other. You can have your fighters poke each other in many different “virtual” body parts … including the stomach, face, and the very popular groin shot.

Next: Running a sword through a stomach
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