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Blood Packs

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by dvsDave, Apr 29, 2003.

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  1. dvsDave

    dvsDave Benevolent Dictator Administrator Senior Team CB Mods Fight Leukemia

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    I was wondering if anybody has had any experience with using blood packs onstage? We are staging an outdoor event and there is a gunshot into a chest... I wanted to experiment with different brands and dtyles of blood packs and I've got the $ to play with. Does anybody have a favorite brand?
     
  2. delnor

    delnor Active Member

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    That is somthing I have always wanted to try, I have never worked with a costumer that was willing to let me try it. I have done Oklahoma about a million times. I wana see some blood!!! Anyway I also would be interested to know anything about them.
     
  3. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    I'm kind of interested myself. Did you try a websearch on blood packs or special effects?

    of my sources I might look into http://www.citytheatrical.com/ http://www.designlab-chicago.com/ http://www.interesting-products.com/ http://www.grandstage.com/ http://magicgadgets.com/index.htm http://www.proadv.com/ http://www.rosebrand.com/ http://www.norcostco.com/ ) http://www.rosco-ca.com/intl/index.html http://www.starmgc.com/ http://www.theatrefx.com/ http://www.wildfirefx.com/

    Don't know where any of these sources would lead but you might get a few good hits. At least one of them would probably otherwise know of a source.
     
  4. TechDirector

    TechDirector Active Member

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    yeah i should think about using blood for act two in the last scenes. but the show is may 8th and 9th. so i won't have time to order them and figure out how to use them all correctly. but i'll keep that in mind for the next show we do.
     
  5. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    For what its worth (since I have been away for a while and just an NOW catching up on things--geez I need a vacation), Bloodpacks are easily homemade. Most movie effects are of the home made type made by the FX artists. Would you like me to post the step=by=step instructions (or not--given the whole hub-bub regarding people getting ideas off the internet and doing STUPID things with such info =) )? Bloodpacks can be done cheaply, with the only real expense being in the squib charges which cannot be homemade.

    -wolf
     
  6. dvsDave

    dvsDave Benevolent Dictator Administrator Senior Team CB Mods Fight Leukemia

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    It would be okay if you posted step-by-step instructions. I doubt anyone would sue such a small site... and if they do... it would be great advertizing! :wink:
     
  7. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Hehe..well that was why I asked--you are the admin. Ok well here is the instructions, use at your own risk:

    Movie-style Bloodpacks:

    Ingredients needed are:
    Stage Blood (preferrably Karo Syrup based and not the glycerine based as the latter can deteriorate the latex quicker.) If you need instructions on how to make stage blood, just ask.

    Condoms. UN-lubricated--the kind you use for Mic belt packs is fine. You CAN use latex gloves however note the talc in the gloves can "pepper" and alter the blood quality. Of course--you could also wash out a glove and use it. Just tie off the fingers before you fill it (i.e. no blood into the fingers--tie and cut them off.)

    Duct tape: better then gaffers because of the fibers and strength.
    Small square of leather, foam or thick cloth for comfort, size of the steel plate.


    Steel plate: ( a heavy double gang box cover plate works well--do NOT use the thin aluminum cover that would house a outlet but the heavy thick galvanized steel wall plate that covers an unused gang box. The plate can be attached or mounted to a "sport bra" or similar velcro thick belt that the person wears.

    Squibs: professional "body hit" type prefferred, but the kind purchased from model shops for rocket launcher engines etc will work too but would need modification. Some vary on the voltage needed to fire--match these with your battery source. Do NOT use AC voltage to fire (duh).
    14guage wire and a lantern battery.

    Instructions:
    Open the condom and unroll it. Fill the condom with 1/2 - 3/4 cup of stage blood. More if you want a lot of blood or a bigger effect. Tie the end with little air in the condom. Basically--you are making a water balloon. (why not use balloons? 2 reasons: 1) its hard to find a flesh colored balloon--and 2) they tend to stretch too much under pressure and will not "pop" as nicely.
    Once you have filled the condom and tied it, you should have a small "ball" of blood the size of your fist, like a water balloon. This is your bloodpack. Take your squib and tape it in place on the steel plate in the center. Tape this below, onto the wires (don't put tape over the squib charge itself) to the steel plate to hold the squib in place. NOTE: some professional body-hit style squibs can be directional in their charge--IOW when they go off they only go off in one direction and the rear side of the charge has little or no impact force. Make SURE if you are using these types that you get the direction correct, and facing outward--not UP towards the face, and not backwards to the actor (or that would really hurt). Be VERY sepcific and CAREFUL about this step. If the squib is non-directional, then any way you put it will work. Next, Place the bloodpack on top of the squib on the steel plate. Next using duct tape begin to tape down the blood pack flat on to the steel plate. Tape the bloodpack until flattened well, and you have made a small "opening" in the taped area. IOW, tape the top, bottom and sides several times square until you have a small area in the center that has NO tape on it. You should tape the bloodpack down with some pressure to flatten it some--IOW you want to press the tape firmly down to squeeze the blood pack. That way--when it bursts it will shoot better out the shot hole. Make sure you leave the center part of the bloodpack (right under the squib area) UN-taped. You want about a 1"-2" center area of untaped bloodpack in the center. When you press down the bloodpack should "bulge" from the untaped area. If its under enough pressure, it should take little pressure to make it bulge. Be careful not to press too hard or you may tear the bloodpack and then you have to start over. This small area opening in the center is where the charge "bursts" out of. Basic law of physics--any force will follow the path of least resisitance. The idea here is to tape down around the squib and the rest of the bloodpack to make the center hole the path of least resistance. You do not want any untaped areas around the edges or the force could go that direction. Center is the only open area. Gives more "burst".. You can never use too much duct tape to do this, but if you have used the whole roll--you have gone a bit overboard<g>.

    Next after you have made your bloodpack, turn it over and look at the steel plate--place a piece of cloth or leather on the back of the steel plate and tape into place. This does two things: it helps to lessen the steel against a persons skin when the squib charge goes off, and prevents any steel from burning the persons skin if it gets hot from multiple shots. It doesn't happen that often, but it can get warm if the charge is high enough. The leather, foam or cloth will help lessen that. I have seen, for some FX uses, special holders made into velcro bands that use fire/heat resistant pads below the squib charge. Since asbestos and fire retardant heavy cloth can be hard to come by, I choose leather cause everyone has an old wallet lying around they can cut up. Do NOT use NYLON for this type of insulation. Nylon is heat sensitive and It can melt onto skin. FOAM is also a plus to use as well instead of leather. NOTE: Adding the backing is a precautionary measure and adds comfort to the wearer, and should not be ignored. In use USUALLY there is not enough heat or force transfer to the steel to be a bother. BUT whenever dealing with special effects, it is always a plus to be safe then sorry.

    How to PREP Clothes for the "shot": To make the "burst" happen from clothes there are a few things to do. First and most common way is to "score" the backside of the material with a razor blade at the point where the hole or body shot is to happen. Match this up with the squib charge the person is wearing so you get the area precise. Overscore the area--about twice the size of the hole you want. Once you have cut and scored the material, you carefully close it back up and use small pieces of clear tape to hold it in place. If you are using a double--a shirt that is exactly the same as the costume only it has been scored for having holes shot into it, then you don't need to pay much attention to this detail as the FX camera shot is filmed with the body shot in mind and none of the other acting or moving about is of concern. A second method is to make a shirt "face" from thin paper. This can go over or be a piece that looks like a shirt that is worn for the effect only. Careful not to sweat or get these wet. This type of paper shirt is easily passed if the shirt worn is a simple white shirt. Some industrial supply places have similar types of overgarments of paper clothing that you could purchase. If not, usually the disposable paper table cloths with or withoutu the plastic wrap backing work well for this. You simply cut out a shirt front that fits the actor, and do a small amount of scoring on the pastic backing and violla--the shirt will rip open when the bloodpack goes off. Drawback to these types of shirt faces is they are delicate and can tear easily if care is not taken while wearing or putting them on. also if they get wet they can rip easy too.

    Always make your bloodpack fresh--a few hours of using if possible. The longer the latex is filled and under pressure the less "pop" it will do as the latex will stretch out. So if you make them one weekend and go to use them a few days or more later, they may not be as snappy to pop, and the stage blood you use may thin out.

    IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT SQUIBS and ALTERNATIVES to squibs:
    Body-hit style squibs are a complete effect on their own. If you purchase some they will say specifically that they are for use on a body-hit effect and can be worn. If they do NOT say this--they are NOT the correct ones. There are many types of squibs--balloon squibs, microdets and bullit hit squibs for body's. If you are purchasing these, make sure you get the correct ones. Squibs are a type of explosive and contain powders that can burn. They ARE DANGEROUS and should not be used by careless or stupid people. To dispel a common misjudgement: Body-hit squibs are NOT exclusively electric matches that you would get to fire another explosive--those types of electric matches alone does a completely different thing. Electric matches produce a small flame/heat burst to ingnite another primary explosive or component, while a body-hit squib is a self contained unit (yes an electric match is usually part of the device--but it is not the entire device). Those I mentioned you could get from a model shop (electric matches) need modification and other ingredients to work correctly. They will NOT WORK without those modifications. Body hit squibs can be purchased--and in some states only a pyrotechnician can obtain them, so I offer info on a SAFE ALTERNATIVE to using an explosive on a person. Compressed Air. These are used on head and close to face "shots" in some movies, and do work well. Air tubes replace the electric wire needs and can be easier to hide. With the correct set up, they wil do the exact same effect, only MUCH safer and cheaper to do many times. You'll need a type of air-compressor--a hand-pumped insecticide or paint sprayer works, or so does those small glove-compartment tire inflators. You need some hose, plugs, some sponges and stage blood. There is a website that offer's pictures and quicktime movies on use of the air-compression method and IMO a picture is worth a thousand words in explanation. So I will pass that along rather then try to explain it too in depth.

    www.exposure.co.uk/eejit/blood/

    They also have a few comments of what can go wrong if you decide to use the squib method and are unfamiliar with using those products.

    Well thats my diatribe on how that effect is done. Hope that answers the questions and curiosities.. Feel free to ask any questions and I'll be glad to try to answer.
    -wolf
     
  8. Jo-JotheSoundDog

    Jo-JotheSoundDog Active Member

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    "why not use balloons? 2 reasons: 1) its hard to find a flesh colored balloon"

    Um why does it need to be flesh colored? First off condoms are more transparent than flesh colored. And than there is the old crayola controversy, flesh colored, how do you define flesh color? I have only been able to find one color of reliable nonlubed condoms. And it is no where near my flesh color. I think the argument on how they pop should have sufficed. Not to mention when you fill the condoms with blood they are more red than "caucasion New Yorker in December"Flesh color.
     
  9. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Flesh colored is Flesh colored--it is not racially related in any way to skin tone. Flesh IS neutral in color. If this was an effect that occurred on top of someones skin, in full view of the camera, then I would have suggested that folks use make-up to have the condoms surface adjusted to match the actor's skin tone--but this isn't needed or of concern in this kind of effect. Flesh is flesh--its a meaty opaque material that is spongy and contains bloodvessels & capillaries. Flesh is immediately BELOW the skin and has no real pigment to it. FWIW, when human skin--any color skin mind you, is cut into a thin shred that pulls flesh up--a skin tear that pulls away flesh chunks from a body as in a bullet bursting, the flesh and skin that flys off is a whitish-opaque shard that is neutral of any coloring whatsoever--its colored only by blood.

    My point being in my original statement is that if you used a neon colored balloon or a regular party balloon of ANY color(never seen an opaque balloon...), then you would see strips of that neon colored rubber, or whatever color latex that wasn't opaque, fly off--or worse you risk seeing it (the balloon) thru the clothing before the shot. Figured that was obvious and I didn't need to go into too much detail about "balloons"...but to appease I could also go into detail about the type of rubber used in balloons varies greatly and is inconsistant, and is routinely poured unevenly in manufacturing (blow up a balloon and you will see differeing thicknesses in the latex--those are weakspots that tend to break first or fragment) and that can also cause the body hit effect, if you were to use a balloon, to maybe be smaller in effect or fall into itself or fail completely. A Condom is evenly thick thruout--its designed to be that way to prevent tearing from a weak spot...when it works..heh. Additionally a balloon fragments a lot more when it is burst--and thus you risk having these shards of latex fly everywhere and be seen. Its bad for condom business to have a condom break into many fragments that could lodge themselves..oh..say anywhere...

    I've seen this happen a few times--but there is nothing dumber then seeing a movie effect and watching a bright yellow strip of rubber, with partial words from Happy Birthday on it that broke free from the balloon used in a squib-effect, pop off and land next to the bullet wound on the clothes...duh--KINDA looks really unnatural and ruins the film take for use except in the outtake reel. :D

    Hope that cleared up things...
    -wolf
     
  10. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Bump for nostalgia's sake! I wonder if Wolf got any ribbons for this post....
     
  11. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    LOL I thought this topic seemed familiar.

    Wow this one was many arguments ago...right when CB first started up.... :)


    -w
     
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