Action Films, Stunts and Fake Fighting

No action film is complete without a huge host of nail biting stunts: difficult acts for visual entertainment that require specialist skills.

Getting a stunt to look realistic requires great co-operation from all members of the team. The lighting needs to be set just right, the sound effects need to be realistic and on cue, and the choice of camera angle can make the difference between a punch that appears to hit its mark and one that’s an obvious fake.

Stunts involving moving vehicles, such as car chases, jumping between vehicles and crashes, require a lot of training and specially designed cars to keep the drivers safe (if you haven’t seen Death Proof, check it out for some awesome stunts and ideas about car design).

With the advancement of CGI (computer-generated imagery), pretty much any stunt the director can imagine is possible for the big and little screens. CGI can be used for as little as removing the wires supporting the stunt person, through the use of green screens to project the actors into a generated background, all the way up to scenes that are entirely computer-generated.

But even using CGI, there is still a lot of responsibility and skill required on the part of the stunt person, particularly in combat scenes. Sword fighting, martial arts and good old fashioned fist-fights require hours, if not days, of practice following precisely mapped choreography.

You can try it yourself!

Professional stuntman, Brett Solomano, is back at Laneway Learning in a couple of weeks to teach us all about us about action films and how stunts are performed in Be an Action Hero: Make Your Own (Fake) Fight Scene. The class will cover the ins and outs for creating awesome fight scenes including techniques for the fighting from a stunt person’s point of view, camera angles and how to fall to avoid injury. We’ll then bring out the phones and cameras to film our own (fake) fight scenes!

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[Video audio: In the Hall of the Mountain King, by Edvard Grieg.]


The featured image is borrowed and edited, with thanks, from Tricia under a Creative Commons licence.