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Realistic concrete that is safe to blow up?

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  • Realistic concrete that is safe to blow up?

    Hey guys, I work on a reality show akin to Mythbusters that hasn't aired yet. We are filming in season one and have a very small budget but one thing we do do, is blow stuff up. We are currently trying to figure out how to make a concrete looking structure that is safe to detonate explosives in. Our demo team doesn't seem to know what we could use as they are just there to make things fall apart and look cool doing it. We mentioned using cinder blocks and they said "hell no, the shrapnel that comes off of those is deadly"

    Is there a material we could use to build a small 10 x 10 cube building that looks like concrete and explodes safely. We work in a very windy area and foam just isn't an option, unless there is a way to weigh it down and make it look realistic with color and crumbling?

    Options we have covered and omitted are, Plaster of paris, Hydrocal, Cinder Blocks, Plywood, Stucco, insulating foam.

    We have a few crew on the team who are very handy and can build whatever we request pretty well but we are all just stuck on this one.

    Oh and the kicker? The Line producer has given us a 600 dollar budget for the structure as the explosive team costs 5k for the day and we can't hire the local SFX team as they said they "only do union gigs"

    Any help would be so very much appreciated. Our director is adamant about this structure.

  • #2
    Greetings, Krypson!

    Not to spoil the fun, but potential dangers here outweigh any artistic benefit. While you want to stay true to the director's vision, the fact is that even normally innocuous lightweight materials become projectiles that can seriously injure or kill when propelled by the force of explosives.

    Suggestion: Discuss with your director the feasibility of accomplishing these ends with CGI. May not be the preferred method if you're aiming for "Jackass-inspired verite," but it's one option where no one has to be at risk. Hope this helps!


    • #3
      3D CGI of course, it require a 3D concrette block or wall then destruction simulations with correct mass, then fx like particles, dust etc, and texturing/shading/lighting and rendering.


      • #4
        Once on set I was hit with a foam rock from an explosion, it didn't hurt, but it was awkward as we were well outside the hazard area. You may want to use baby powder as a part of this gag because it will create the illusion of pulverized concrete dust with the CGI, still guard your camera and wear eye pro.