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Make Awesomeness Out of Nothing: Getting Creative on a Budget

Make Awesomeness Out of Nothing: Getting Creative on a Budget

If you are an independent filmmaker or VFX artist, you know the challenges that comes with trying to put together an action scene or dynamic shot. Once you settle on a story, concept, or scenario, that deadly word often creeps into the brain: budget.

It’s important to keep in mind that budget issues never go away no matter how big the production or studio. For this reason, it is necessary to get creative with the effects we make, and constantly push ourselves to make awesomeness out of nothing.

For this shot I wanted to see what I could come up with just one camera, daytime lighting, and a toy gun.
For my weapon, I purchased a cheap plastic toy gun, and got to work painting it so as to get rid of the obvious look of the plastic. This required painting the orange tip and coating the “metal” part of the gun in black paint, finished off with some silver paint dabbed on for a distressed metal flake look.
After that, it was a matter of framing my shot to hide any obvious look of the fake gun. I made sure my light cast a decent amount of reflection to help sell the weight of the prop.

I also built a small scenario for my scene by framing in some old bottles on the ground plane. By starting with this small little shot, I am able to leave the story interpretation up to my viewer, making my gun shot feel more believable.

Then came the good stuff. By utilizing our professional grade muzzle flash gun assets from the ActionVFX library, I simply dragged and dropped my desired muzzle flash effect into my After Effects composition.

I added bullet shells falling out of the gun to mimic the shotgun shell, and then topped it off with smoke bursts to help sell the effect.

Then in Premiere I added gun-shot sounds and folly to my scene, which brought more believability to the overall realism of the prop gun.

And here is the finished result:
Effects don’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Get creative with what you have and with what is available to you. Utilize the assets, props, and sound effects that are accessible, and start making something awesome!

First time here? ActionVFX creates action stock footage for VFX and filmmaking. (We also have some great free stuff!)

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