Blade Edge

Computer software | Video production | My life in general

Blade Edge about header

Making Action Shots

December 29th, 2008 · 4 Comments · Personal

This past Friday my friend Dizzle and I once again teamed up with our photographer friend Steve Sarafian from Fliptography to shoot some action shots with weapons. I brought along two swords, a katana and Ninja sword, as well as both my guns, a Walther P22 and P99. We shot the pictures at the gym where I work, since we needed to use mats for almost all of the shots, and having a spring floor to jump off of helped as well for some. We decided to get the hard stuff out of the way first, and that consisted of two different shots.

The Mirror Flip

After successfully executing my photo idea of standing on my head, my next thought was to try and capture me doing a flip over Dizzle when we both are in the same position. Originally I planned to do a backflip over him, but then I realized that doing a front flip would be easier and still yield the same results. Whether it was luck or skill, or a bit of both, it only took two tries for Steve to snap the perfect shot:

Awesome. Unfortunately Dizzle’s attempts didn’t go so well and we weren’t able to troubleshoot exactly why. After many attempts we finally decided to move on, although a few shots did come close.

The Matrix Spin

Everyone remembers that scene in The Matrix where Neo stands his ground against Agent Smith on the subway platform, and that they rush each other and fly through the air, grappling and shooting and spinning around. Well we managed to re-create this rather well after several attempts. The method we used was exactly the same as the trampoline trick another friend of mine taught me. It worked rather well, although there were a couple of rough landings – one time I kinda rotated over to my side and my neck popped so loud I don’t know why it’s not broken or something, hahaha. Another time I managed to spin over to my back instead of landing on my stomach. Not only did Dizzle and I have to meet at the center of the mats, but we also had to remember to keep our guns pointed at each other and some kind of mean, intense look on our faces.

We also tried to get a shot of us flying towards each other, but none of them really came out well. This was the closest we got:

Airtime Gunplay

The last couple of shots we did involed various ways you can fly through the air while shooting guns, that you see most often in movies. First we did the one where you fly forward and then tuck and roll. Well, the tuck and roll part works fine on film, but when you’re out for a still photo you want to give the photographer as much time as possible to snap the shot. So I ended up taking them all straight to my stomach 😛 That wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be (yes, there was a mat there) and I can’t argue with the results:

Next we did a shot flying through the air sideways. This one was rough, because landing on our sides we were smacking our heads against the mat – both of us finished this shot with headaches. Again one of the main problems was making sure our facial expressions had some sort of angry or intense look while we were also concentrating on holding our bodies in the proper position while in flight and making sure our arms were low enough that they didn’t cast shadows on our face. Lighting is always a bitch.

Finally we did some shots of falling backwards, like you’ve been knocked off a high object or flung backwards through the air. I like this one a lot because it’s like “Oh no you don’t bitch!!”. Compared to the other two this was a peice of cake. You just jump up, straddle and stick out the guns, then land on your back on the mat. It took a few tries to get the lighting right, because now I had to worry about my legs casting shadows on my face, and I couldn’t lean too far back otherwise the guns would get lost in the shadows as well.

Secret… Agent Man

We had started at around 3pm and by now it was almost 5pm! So we had to wrap up soon, but I didn’t want to have brought the swords along for nothing so I quickly conceived an idea for a few portrait shots that let us put the swords in the pictures. A couple of poses, a couple of angles, and we were all done.

Touching Up

After I got the photos from Steve I went into Paint.Net and did some touch-up work. Mainly I wanted to get rid of all the bars and sometimes kids (Steve brought along a nephew and two neices) from the background. The only way to do that was darken the picture, but obviously I didn’t want us darkened as well. So I had to mask out myself and/or Dizzle from the photo so I could only adjust the background. This was time-consuming to say the least and on average took about 30-60 minutes per photo. However as you can see in the comparison below, the results are worth it.

Next Time

Dizzle, Steve and I will be returning to the gym again next month some time to shoot some more action shots, this time it’ll be just fighting moves – like mey getting side kicked in the stomach or me punching Dizzle in the face – all action and capturing the reaction of the other person. I guarentee you’ll be able to imagine me going “whoooff!” when you see me getting kicked in the stomach 😛

Click here for the full album of photos from this shoot and a previous one.


4 Comments so far ↓

Leave a Comment