ACTION MOVIE EFFECTS
Shoot a fight scene with a blood-spurting
knife wound and a head smashing through
a window. By Zack Stern
The perfect action scene needs combat, gore,
and at least one actor going through a window.
Here’s how I shot a scene with all these ingredients, from making the special effects to shooting
and editing the footage.
We wanted one actor to shove another’s head
through a kitchen window. Who wouldn’t? We
found a good location that had a single-pane
window, 30"× 26", which we could swap out for
our own fake-glass concoction. We made a harmless shattering window pane by casting sugar
glass in a wooden frame (recipe next page). If
your window is much bigger and has several
panes, you can add thin balsa divisions between
the panes. These will hold everything together
140 Make: Volume 09
until it’s shattering time.
First, glue together a rectangular frame to fit
your window, using 3 layers of thin wood. Make all
3 layers flush around the window’s outer perimeter,
but around the inner edge, sandwich the front and
back layers around a narrower middle layer. This
leaves a gap for the molten sugar to flow into.
Glue the frame together and press the corners
under weights until it dries (Figure A).
Put the frame on top of a sheet of cardboard
that’s larger than the pane, and cut more cardboard
to fit snugly in the frame and match the thickness
of the bottom layer of wood. Cover the cardboard
in the frame with aluminum foil (Figure B). Be
careful to keep the foil flat; even small wrinkles
in the foil will be cast into the sugar glass.
Cook the water, corn syrup, sugar, and coloring
Photography by Zack Stern