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How to Simulate an Earthquake for Video

Some simple tips on re-creating an earthquake.

Video Transcript

Hi there. My name is Tom Skowronski with Video Maker Magazine, and today on VidCast, we’re gonna show you how to make an earthquake. The first thing that we needed to do this effect was timing out our overacting in sync with the camera motion and the movement of the car. Next, we needed our friend Rupert to shake the car off camera. The final step was to have the shooter shake the camera back and forth. After adding some folly, we had a 4.7 on the Richter Scale.

Well, as you can see, the best way to achieve the earthquake effect is to add the most amount of motion to the camera as possible. When you’re close-up, you want a little bit less motion of the camera and more motion from your physical surrounding. Oh, this one’s really bad. It’s a 4.5. Close-up means emphasis on emotion. In this case, since we see less, we need more emotion from our subject to sell the action. Again, we use the same technique to create our earthquake by having Rupert shake our car and our shooter shake the camera.

Well, as you can see, the earthquake effect outdoors is very easy. Indoors, we’re gonna need a tad bit more emotion. Indoors, the focus centers more around the action surrounding the subject to sell the environment that surrounds us. More chaotic overacting and the use of five stacked empty boxes were enough to do the trick. This is so easy that you could do it on a coffee break.

The use of a strong, attractive stage-hand to push and tug behind the cabinets made for excellent B-roll, which helps sell the effect after we’ve added our foley. Well, as you can see, the best way to achieve this effect is by adding a little motion from our camera and a little motion from our crew. Once again, if you have any more questions, please join us online at

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