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4 Insane VFX Stunts Anyone Can Create

4 Insane VFX Stunts Anyone Can Create

Nothing catches an audience’s attention like a good stunt.

While you could hire a professional stunt-double or build a realistic 3D clone of your actor, you can actually produce death-defying stunt VFX with nothing more than some clean plates, rotoscoping, clever camera work, and a good actor (or two).

Here are four stunt VFX sequences you can create to elevate the action in your scene!

1. Leap Across Buildings

Need an intense rooftop chase sequence? This first tutorial shows how you can simulate a chasm or alley between two buildings that your actor can jump over. 

With the right camera work, this could be a pretty dizzying effect!
It's also worth noting that a green screen isn't required for this effect. It might be helpful on set as a point of reference for your talent, but you could simply mask out the area you want to remove if you don't want to use a green screen.

Slow motion adds so much to this type of effect, and you could always shoot in a high frame rate, then switch to slow motion after your talent is in the air to capture the intensity of the scene. 

You could also shoot multiple angles to cut between for an even more interesting scene.

2. Run Through Traffic

It's never a good idea to run through traffic, except when you're using movie magic!  

You can put your audience on the edge of their seats by having your talent run recklessly through moving traffic, without actually putting anyone in harm's way!
The added camera shake in the tutorial example can add a lot of dramatic movement to the scene, and if you're shooting the scene in 4K and outputting in HD, you could create a fake handheld camera zoom in post to add even more dynamic to the shot.

You can download our free Camera Shake Presets to help!

3. Fall to the Ground

Having an actor fall from a structure and actually hit the ground can be an incredibly dangerous stunt, requiring a lot of equipment, crew, and training for the actor. 

Fortunately, you can fake the height of the fall, while maintaining the jarring effect of your actor's body hitting the ground.  

There is a bit of an actual stunt fall in this tutorial, so be sure your talent is trained on how to fall properly for this type of stunt.
The actor's response when they hit the ground is critical, so have them rehearse the post-fall reaction on the ground several times to minimize the takes needed with them actually hitting the ground.

While this tutorial is specific to HitFilm, the principle applies to other software, as well. Adding the extra shadow is also a great tip for simulating a fall from high above.

4. Fight!

What's a good movie without at least one fight scene? If your scene calls for an action-packed fight sequence, here's how to create a high-energy fight scene in-camera!
Even major Hollywood films use these techniques to deliver intense fight sequences. The camera framing in relation to the fight choreography is critical to achieving solid results, so be sure to plan out and rehearse your fight sequence as much as possible.

You can use VFX to roto out an arm and fist to slightly extend punches to make them more believable, and you can also combine your fight scene with the falling VFX technique above.

For an even more exciting fight scene, you can add shattering glass! We've got you covered with our Breaking Glass VFX Collection!
Of course, adding the appropriate sound effects at the right moments also play a huge role in creating a believable fight scene, so spend time aligning your SFX perfectly with each hit.

As you can see, almost every stunt listed involves the same techniques: rotoscoping, a tripod, and the actor’s reaction. Perhaps the most critical element to keep in mind is your actor’s physical response to the stunt. 

Not only should their body react according to the context of the scene, but if their expression is in frame, their facial reaction should match, as well.

It’s pretty amazing to think of how many stunts could be done with a bit of roto and puppet pin animation in post!  

Aside from getting multiple takes of a stunt for compositing later, it’s also a good idea to shoot alternate takes of variations on the sequence. Also, remember not everything has to be on-screen! 

Consider coordinating a sequence to have implied or transitional off-camera action to cut down production time.

Please note that even though you can get by with a lot in the world of VFX, each of these examples does involve a significant amount of physical work from your talent (jumping, running, falling, and fighting). Be mindful of your actor's physical abilities when planning the VFX shot.

Have any cool VFX stunts you'd like to share?  Let us know in the comments below!

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