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How to achieve the effect of slitting ones' wrist.

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  • How to achieve the effect of slitting ones' wrist.

    I'm going to be filming a video soon and suicide is the primary focus. I want to send a strong message, but I also want to do it correctly. I want to shoot my wrist as it's in the process of being cut (appearing to be cut). I just don't know how to achieve this effect;perhaps not without computer-generated effects? Be it computer generation, make up, or whatever else, I'd like to know how to show my wrist as it's in the process of being slit.

    PS:this is an anti-suicide video, I'm not advocating suicide in it.

  • #2
    Do you have After Effects or another composting program?



    • #3
      It depends on how realistic you want it to be. If the camera just needs to fool the eye for a moment, I would just use a stage knife filled with fake blood. As you cut, you squeeze at the same time. If you want the blood to squirt out, then you will need some prosthetic arm and hand that you can rig with a pump to make the blood squirt.


      • #4
        You can get blood gel fairly easily. Put blood gel on the wrist with a very light coating of powder. Then, apply several layers of liquid latex over the blood gel and use makeup to blend the latex into the skin. Then, when shooting, use the fake knife or razor blade with fake blood as the previous post suggested to actually cut through the latex. Nasty effect. I used a similar method to do a slit throat not that long ago.


        • #5
          It really depends what you are going for and what kind of shot, amount of blood, etc. etc. etc.

          Buying blood should be your first concern. You can buy powdered blood from an SFX site. Blood can also be made by mixing corn syrup and red food coloring until you get something you like. A simple Google search could lead you to plenty of ways to make and buy fake blood.

          Way #1 you could do it. This is the way I usually have done scenes such as this:

          Have someone hold a turkey baster offscreen, and rig some tubing from the unseen part of your arm to the knife, the side which will not be seen. Fill the tube and turkey baster with blood, and on action, have someone offscreen squeeze the bulb and it will come through the tube, letting the blood either spray or ooze out depending on the consistency of the blood. Check out this video:

          Skip to 2:23 to see what I mean. It's a throat cutting, and it does spray out a bit dramatically, but I'm sure that you could make it work if you use blood of a different consistency or spray it differently. You could also use one of those blood packets you buy around Halloween, and just hold it in your hand and squeeze it, letting the blood spray/ooze when you want.

 (any kind will work)
 (any kind will work.
          Duct tape, to keep everything together.

          Way #2 is harder, but works.

          Prosthetic arm. Ever seen one of those plastic arms at Halloween time? You could quickly cut to a closeup of one of those. Cut the arm open, rig some tubing up it, cut to a closeup of it, then spray blood through the tube.



          And of course, blood and tubing.

          Way #3 is probably the easiest to shoot and most clever way.

          All you need is some fake blood, and if you need it "nose and scar wax" (fake skin, creepy skin, etc. etc. etc.)

          Shot 1: Character bringing blade to arm.
          Shot 2: Quick cut to the character's reaction. Some grisly sound effects.
          Shot 3: Character quickly bringing blade away from arm, giving the impression of just finishing cutting.


          Some tips:

          Sound is important. Sound is really what is going to sell it. You don't even have to show it. Tip: DO NOT. I repeat. DO NOT get stock sound effects. Do Foley ( ) instead. Pull out a mic, go to a quiet area with good acoustics, and use objects to simulate cutting. You could cut sausage (knife into skin), water dripping onto a surface (dripping blood), slowly ripping paper (tearing of skin).

          Know the tone of the project, and decide how you want to execute the scene. Often times, what you don't see is more powerful than what you do see. With some quick cuts and audio wizardry, you could make something better than just blood and blade.


          Check out this video. It is probably the best wrist cutting/suicide scene ever, in my opinion. Left the biggest impression on my. I was thinking about this scene for days:

          Never see the cut.


          • #6
            An easy way, assuming the camera doesn't need to be TOO close: Rig up a small tube on the "other" side of the knife connected to a rubber squeeze bulb filled with your choice of "blood".

            The tube will not be seen by the camera, and should run from the knife edge [taped into place] -- and run along the knife handle into the actor's hand/fist---maybe into the sleeve and down the pant leg -- then off camera where the bulb is.

            As the knife is drawn across the wrist, someone pumps the bulb and blood flows out at the wrist area.

            May be a good idea to use a dull prop knife -- or dull a real knife so it's not real sharp.

            If the camera needs to be real close, you may want to fake the cutting of skin by a method above. But otherwise, this should get the effect you want with little effort.

            Kurt Hathaway
            VikingDream7 Productions
            Video Production & Editing