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How do you make the reverse effect look convincing?

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  • How do you make the reverse effect look convincing?

    A lot of times when I want to fake an actor being hurt, and I ask other filmmakers opinions on how to do it, they say to use the reverse effect.

    But whenever I try it in the past, you can tell that it looks off, in the performance, but also just in the physics of how it looks. It never looked real for me before, so I was wondering how do you do it properly, and if there are any tricks to it that one needs to know?

  • #2
    James Cameron was huge back in the day about in camera effects, the reverse effect being one of them. He used it pretty extensively in a lot of his shots. I think if it's done right it looks amazing AND get the audience asking how did you do that?

    I would research the reverse effect, how to begin and what sort of movement the shot needs. I think the trick is to get the motion of it done right. Envisioning how an element would move naturally in the direction you want to go, then reverse that action and film it a few times finding the best take.

    Seriously go check out the full making of Aliens on youtube or just search how the face hugger jumping effect was conceived. It's so simple but when you see how it was edited together it will open up a totally untapped method of how to achieve difficult/interesting shots~


    • #3
      Oh okay thanks. It's just the camera does not allow you play back any of the takes in reverse, so you have no idea if any of the takes work or not. My latest thing I want to pull off is someone being hit by a car while crossing the street. I want the actress to walk out into the street, turn and react very quickly to a car, just before it hits.

      However, I would have to have act it all out backwards, and when I tried to get actors to act backwards before, it doesn't look right when reversed. It just doesn't look convincing.


      • #4
        The one thing you notice about a lot of reverse shots; they don't last very long, and they are edited fairly quick/ carefully chosen camera angle. They also tend to be tighter type shots, either medium or close-up.

        I would suggest brainstorming ways to make her being hit interesting and brief. Editing a couple quick reaction shots as well spliced in tight also gives someone being hit a frenetic sort of feel if it's edited well. The initial "hit" can be in reverse and look incredibly violent, lasting only a second. Subsequent shots can then show the aftermath of her hitting the ground/flying through the air/ etc in forward motion and edited to match the shot. usually a carefully edited sequence of 5-7 shots can create what you want without anyone getting hurt~


        • #5
          Okay thanks. I could put the car up close to her with a camera mounted to the car and then drive away from her, and speed it up in post and reverse it. And I could also do a gimble shot of running towards her, more close up to her face, on a longer lens, and see which one looks better, or use both if they both look good, if that's a good plan.