Post Production: How To Create Bullet Effects

All bullet effects are added in post production because guns in films will contain gun powder but no bullets. Therefore the actual bullet and bullet holes need to be added in later on. All video editing software will have the capacity to add bullet effects. A great example of these bullet effects are from the Matrix movies. It is possible to see the bullet as it movies as it is a type of slow motion effect. To achieve this effect when shooting is very expensive and video editing is a much easier and affordable way to achieve this effect.

Step 1. The Images

It is important to have the different images needed in the bullet effect. If the bullet is going through a machine then it will be necessary not to have an image of the outside of the machine but also in the inside as a bullet will blast the machine apart. Normally shooting bullets through humans is easier as there is only blood splatter and bullet holes to deal with. The process can be made easier if the video clip has the action of being hit by a bullet.

Step 2. Items that Move

It is necessary to select the items that will fly off when the bullet is hit. With editing it is possible to draw the path of where each of the sections moves over the course of the bullet hit. Save these paths onto a different layer as you want them out of the way until later.

Step 3. Sections

The easiest way to achieve a bullet effect is to split the item that is being shot into different sections. In this way it is easy to manipulate the motion as desired for the effect. Once the sections have been created move them along the path to their ending spot once they have been shot. Part of the object will have moved but a section of it will stay in place. This entirely depends on your film.

Step 4. The Interior

Create an additional layer and draw sections and the path with the interior of the object. With electronics this normally includes some type of circuit board. As with the outer layers the inner layers will break up and shoot off so sections will follow paths. Additionally, a part of the interior will remain in place but completely ruined. It is easiest to use free transform features to achieve this.

Step 5. Building the Item

Much of this effect requires the computer person to build the object from the inside out. This is also done when building humans as well. If you already have an item then it may be easier to completely replace it with a digital image.

Step 6. The Bullet

It is necessary to build the bullet. It is possible to input the entire path of the bullet or if necessary you can have it exiting the object it is shot into. This will depend on the type of bullet shot in your video.

Step 7. Masks

The final steps include masking and splitting parts of the item apart. Take all your layers of the item and start splitting and rotating them so the object moves and explodes.  Feather and soften edges so the image really looks like it is being shot. Do this for all of the different layers and include shadows for all of the layers as well.

Step 8. The Details

Making this effect look great is in the details. However, details take time as there will need shadows, air paths, small particles and much more.