Filming a Fight Scene

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    • #37860

      Hey guys, I’ve got a film in pre-production now and I’m aware of a few fight scenes that will be included. In the past, I’ve filmed fight scenes directly with automatic settings on the camera; however I would like to achieve a much different look this time around.

      I was wondering what types of settings that you guys have used on your camera’s, and how you typically film your fight scenes. Should I film the action slower at 30FPS with a 1/60 shutter speed and speed the playback to 60FPS in post?

      I guess I’m looking for your favorite techniques and maybe some examples if you’ve got them. I would love to achieve a look that blends the fight scenes from Gladiator (Russell Crowe, 2000) and Gorgeous (with Jackie Chan, 1999).

      Thank you much.

    • #167700
      Luis Maymi LopezLuis Maymi Lopez

      Hello Rob

      Check this old forum post“Comment about Tips and Tricks: How shoot a fight scene”. It will give you different fight scenes examples and the opinion of Videomaker community. Sadly some of the videos are not longer available. The one I posted was this one:

      As for the camera settings it depends on what you are looking for. First you should not use the automatic settings. If you want the movement to be clear you can record in 60 fps and high shutter speed. This is mostly used when you want to show slow motion scenes. The human eyes see motion blur, so using less 30 fps and 1/60 shutter speed will give a more realistic look to your fight scene. Of course that depends on what you want to accomplish, but in general use many different camera angles, lots of close ups and fastediting. One very important thing is to plan ahead every single camera angle, scene, fight sequence and rehearse A LOT.

    • #167701


      Ditto on what Luis said. Turn those blasted Auto settings off! Main thing to remember when shooting fight scenes for faster motion use slower framerates/shutterspeeds and for slower motion use faster framerates/shutterspeeds. Don’t forget to adjust your exposure to compensate!

    • #167702

      If you’re talking about the look of the battle scene at the beginning of Gladiator, use a higher shutter speed.

      Conventional wisdom says you should use a shutter speed double that of your frame rate. For example – 30 frames per second use 1/60 shutter, 24 fps use 1/48 or 1/50 depending on your camera. This gives a film-like motion blur and relates to something called shutter angle in film. (Trust me, shutter angle isn’t something you need to concern yourself with for video.)

      To get that juttery look in the Gladiator battle scene, increase your shutter speed. Try 4 times faster, then 8.

      What you’re doing is grabbing smaller and smaller bits of the frame, and each bit is stretched over the frame upon playback. The smaller the bits, the more strobe-like the effect.

      Do some test shots to see what you like.

      Good luck with your fight scene. πŸ™‚

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