How to Realistically ‘Murder’ Someone on Camera

Initially, I had no idea where to begin with filming this type of scene. I did some research on YouTube and came across this video by Film Riot:

After a rather graphic start with tips on how to fake vomit, the film actually got to some useful advice which answered my troubles with how to realistically hit someone without hurting them. This video suggests several ways I could pull this off:

  • Firstly, I could film the shot twice. Once with the person hitting a wooden pole in place of the person, and a second time where the person reacts to being hit without the bat going anywhere near them. This can then be edited in post production by merging the two scenes together to make it look like the person was being directly hit.
  • Secondly, the actor could be stood several steps to the side of the person being hit so that they appear to be behind one another. Then, by using different lenses, when the bat is swung it will look like the person is being hit even though they are stood quite far apart.
  • Finally, the one that seemed most achievable, where the actor places the bat on the persons head and swings it viciously backwards. This is then reversed in post production making it look like the person it being hit directly with the bat.

The first two attempts are how I initially imagined how I’d pull this scene off, but once I came to film it I quickly realised that these wouldn’t do the job. Although I found it helpful to shoot these so I could visually understand why they weren’t effective. I feel like although my third attempt doesn’t look all that effective, I think that with a couple of takes it could look very realistic. I should have done it in three shots from different angles. Firstly, walking towards the victim with the bat over the shoulder. Then, the reversed shot of the bat being placed on the victims head and then swung quickly back onto the shoulder in the same position and then thirdly the victim falling in pain due to the beating. If I do this when I come to film, I feel like this scene will look very authentic.

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