Directing fighting sequences

Become a member of the CGSociety

Connect, Share, and Learn with our Large Growing CG Art Community. It's Free!

THREAD CLOSED
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 09 September 2012   #1
Directing fighting sequences

Let's get straight to the point

"Single frames of film were removed at strategic points in the battles in order to produce a jarring, startling effect."
This is a quote from trivia on IMDB for Braveheart movie.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112573/trivia

Now, I don't get this. What single frames are removed, at what strategic points? Is strategic points where the hit/kicks/slash is happening, or something else?
Anyone can explain in more depth this sentence?

Also, if anyone want's to share a tips for fighting sequences (placement of the camera, pacing, shakes) I would be happy to hear.
As far as I understand, when it comes to fighting, "rules" of editing are reversed. The more confused the audience is, the better (if I am wrong, let me know).

Just for the note: I am "directing" cameras for some fighting shots in 3DS Max (so far, something like rough animatic), and I am searching for references, and articles about subject.

No matter that, any advice is welcome, no matter software, or real film directing.
I guess the same principles apply everywhere.
__________________
Now it's the time to be extreme!
Demoreel
website
 
Old 09 September 2012   #2
The violent Korean action flick Oldboy has an epic fight sequence that is something like 4 minutes long in a single cut, so it really depends what you are going for, or what style fits the project you are working on. While today's films seem to have this idea that confusing the audience and having a shaky camera moving everywhere is a good thing, I personally hate that. Bruce Lee put together amazing fight scenes that were based on what the people were doing not on how the camera was moving or shaking everywhere. In fact, there is very little camera motion in his work.
__________________
Terrence Walker
Studio ArtFX
Learn How to Make Your Own Animated Projects!
You don't need millions of dollars or major studio backing!!
 
Old 09 September 2012   #3
I'm have to agree with Teruchan. I really don't prefer all the camera moving and shaking. I can see the reason behind it (trying to create the emotion of the fight) but I don't agree that it helps most of the time. A good example is the fight scene in Bourne Supremacy, its just a mess of dark figure grappling with dark figure. If I cant see who's got the upperhand then all the suspense of the scene goes out the window.

You can check this out, I think its more animation related rather than directing but might still be helpful
Anatomy of a Fight by AM.
 
Old 09 September 2012   #4
Originally Posted by d4rk3lf: The more confused the audience is, the better (if I am wrong, let me know).


Yes, the audience is more confused, but it is not a good thing. This is done for 2 reasons: One is primarily cost. Waving a camera around to simulate hyper action is cheap. Carefully staging choreographed scenes and fighting rigs is time-consuming and costly.

Second is artistic laziness. It takes little to no skill to "choreograph" such a fight. They also tend to show characters and fight moves only in close-up so that their peril or strength or location is not clear to the viewer, and footage can be easily intercut or rearranged at any point.
__________________
www.artbot.com

 
Old 09 September 2012   #5
I do agree with the OldBoy reference. That fight scene is pretty sweet.And who made the rule the more confused the audience is the better? Movies like that I tend to turn off.
 
Old 09 September 2012   #6
May I add 'The Raid : Redemption' as a suggestion too. The fighting style is more brutal and high energy rather than fantastical. Quite inspirational and not confusing at all either. I too am lost as to why a confusing fight would be 'better'

Also, I watched Jackie Chans ' Snake In The Eagles Shadow' last night. Utterly ridiculous but hugely enjoyable.

What kind of combat is this going to be?
__________________
Posted by Proxy
 
Old 09 September 2012   #7
@Teruchan
I see what you're saying.
Personally I am a big fan of Bruce Lee's Enter The Dragon, and I watch it pretty often.
I like his other movies as well, but I think this one is best from him.

I watched on youtube the Oldboy fighting sequence. Thanks for that.
Now that was weird, and somehow realistic. I like it. It gives a different feel.
However, not that I am very fond of moving cameras, but it's impossible for my project to be done with one camera, and with similar feel.
Maybe the answer is in balance. Not too confusing, but not very static.
I'll attach some biped animation tests of the shots I did so far.

No matter my project, I would like to talk here on overall tricks for fighting sequences, no matter it was done completely CG or recorded (or combination).

For example, I think this fight scene from movie Zathoichi was excellent:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CF5gXypaKdU
__________________
Now it's the time to be extreme!
Demoreel
website
 
Old 09 September 2012   #8
Tnx guys:

@Nitefyre
Tnx man. I'll take a look at the "anathomy of the fight", and I'll give that to the animator as well. I am sure it will be of a great help.

@Artbot
Yeah. Thanks for pointing that out.
However, I didn't meant "over-confused", I was rather asking myself (and members here) of what was the meaning of the sentence of Braveheart trivia. Maybe some cool tip, but I don't get it.
I see what you're telling about artist laziness, and I think you're completely right, and you guys here already made me think more (and watch more) so I don't get over-confused sequences.
For the project I made, I gotta make fast paced trailer of the chick agent fighting bad guys (something like Underworld, or Black Widow (but with no weapons), and we'll see how it will turn out.
Anyway, thanks for pointing out "confusion".

@Edgemaster
I've heard about that several times.
Mostly for the medieval age fighting sequences (large scale battles), and that making intentional mistakes (likes camera cut on 180%) disturbs the audience and gives them impression of confusion.
I was not only talking about camera shakes.

@grrinc
Thamks.
It will be some SCI/Fi environment, and agent chick (with similar look like Underworld chick, or Black Widow, or even Catwoman) fighting the bad guys. Nothing that we seen this a million times before. But no matter that, I'll do my best to look as best possible.
And this thread is not so much about that project, but about overall tricks of the fighting sequences peoples wanna share.
__________________
Now it's the time to be extreme!
Demoreel
website
 
Old 09 September 2012   #9
I think the technique of dropping out frames is just to make the action feel faster. As someone's in mid-swing or punch, right before contact. Makes it feel faster, harder.

Biggest place I noticed this was in Tropic Thunder, the conference room scene, where the Lead grip walked over and punched the director in the face. Pretty sure they dropped a frame or two right before contact.
 
Old 09 September 2012   #10
I always love the final boxing match in Snatch, it's really well edited w/o overly shaky cam and you feel like those guys are really wailing on each other. It also has some cuts right before or right after the punch and at least for me you can really feel the blows.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIpH...feature=related
__________________
Personal: www.japetusproductions.com
Work:Straightface Studios

 
Old 09 September 2012   #11
Here is a recent video from Indy Mogul that is all about how to setup and choreograph fight scenes. It's very well produced and is very informative.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2WA...e=youtube_gdata
__________________
Website
Reel
Portfolio
Linkedin
"You do modeling? ...but you're too ugly."
 
Old 09 September 2012   #12
The shaky cam and extreme closeups is what they tend to do when the actors can't fight. It's a bad cliche and really has no place in movies, but tends to be used far too often.

Now with that said, here's the best fighting scene ever made:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-MVMbm6c0k
__________________
[Invivo Animation Reel]
 
Old 09 September 2012   #13
Originally Posted by DanHibiki: Now with that said, here's the best fighting scene ever made:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-MVMbm6c0k



I remember loving that film, but to be honest, that fight was dreadful.
__________________
Posted by Proxy
 
Old 09 September 2012   #14
Okay.. again.. I'm not formally schooled in Film Making... but I do have some case studies.

Case Study 1

This is one of the most famous recent action scenes done in film. Tony Jaa goes from the ground floor all the way to a few floors up in one shot, a single take. Now before people say: "Well that's an unusual shot". It isn't.

In reality the rules and timing used for the shots are identical to if you were to edit the same sequence "conventionally" (with cuts here or there to emphasize a move or action). Notably at times when Jaa has been obscured by a barrier or is a bit small in frame, these are times when their "Single Master" is really not good enough anymore to convey the action.

But what one must note in this case is that the director follows age-old methods of filming and blocking. Jaa is almost always going LEFT->RIGHT in the sequence with a "pan ahead" to help whenever Jaa is to switch RIGHT->LEFT.

These conventions (I can't call them rules) are as old as Hitchcock and Kubrick which are two directors I look up a lot. I find this one-shot take works because they paid careful attention on how to keep things neat.

Case Study 2

Now this second one is a bit personal... Bear with the strange costumes, weird dialogue, and pop music. This second study actually builds over the first one. You have in this case very neat blocking for LEFT and RIGHT sides of the pane.

Shadow Moon (the Silver Guy) is almost always at Frame Left and Black is almost always at Frame Right. There is a lot of "Cut-in-Motion" which is something a lot of sources attribute to Stanley Kubrick (although Kubrick didn't direct any martial arts films). Because of how they are arranged Black almost always is going RIGHT->LEFT to attack and Shadow Moon goes LEFT->RIGHT to attack.

Switches are done with the aid of dual-cuts where both characters are at center frame or a single tracking pan where the two are allowed to switch sides. It's very neat and I find this works very well.

Bonuses include use of the occasional "Dutch Angle" and there are a couple of blocking arrangements that are creative and used for story effect. For example... As Black pleads with Shadow Moon to spare the earth the Camera is peering between Shadow Moon's arms down at Black with the Satan Sabre in a threatening position at Frame Right with Black dominating Frame Left. It's almost a POV shot but not quite since the Camera is actually zoomed in "over his shoulder".

I'm sure there are many views about how to do action. But these are some of my views on the subject which I feel strongly about since a vast majority of my upcoming (and current) material is action oriented.
__________________
"Your most creative work is pre-production, once the film is in production, demands on time force you to produce rather than create."
My ArtStation

Last edited by CGIPadawan : 09 September 2012 at 12:19 AM.
 
Old 09 September 2012   #15
Originally Posted by d4rk3lf: Let's get straight to the point

"Single frames of film were removed at strategic points in the battles in order to produce a jarring, startling effect."
This is a quote from trivia on IMDB for Braveheart movie.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112573/trivia

Now, I don't get this. What single frames are removed, at what strategic points? Is strategic points where the hit/kicks/slash is happening, or something else?
Anyone can explain in more depth this sentence?

Richard Williams explains in his book The Animator's Survival Kit that this technique of selectively dropping frames can exaggerate a hit. When you watch a swordsman swing his weapon, you expect to see an arc. But if we were to drop a couple of frames near the end of the swing, there should be a jarring effect to the motion; the sword is swinging -- and then it's at the end of its arc. *swish* This tricks our minds into thinking, "Hey, this dude is badass. Nobody can swing a sword that fast in real life."

It's the same sort of trick they used for shooting arrows in movies. You watch the archer release the bowstring; there is a swift camera pan; and suddenly you see the arrow embedded in its target. And then you watch some Olympic archery matches and think, "Arrows in real life are just as fast but don't seem to have the same dramatic impact." It's all in the presentation.

I didn't notice any of this dropped frames technique used in the Battle of Stirling clip from Braveheart; I only saw the usual Hollywood editing tricks where they cut away just a few frames after someone got hit or sliced. Maybe it was too subtle or was used in a different battle?
 
Thread Closed share thread



Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
CGSociety
Society of Digital Artists
www.cgsociety.org

Powered by vBulletin
Copyright 2000 - 2006,
Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Minimize Ads
Forum Jump
Miscellaneous

All times are GMT. The time now is 01:15 PM.


Powered by vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.