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Ideas For Creative Movie Props?
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subego
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Mar 9, 2019, 12:46 PM
 
Without damaging the front.





Heat gun?



For the curious, I want a clock like this to be the “badge” for an agent of the “Time Bureau”. It’s one of those “slide-in” clocks for woodworking projects.



It’s too thick unless I saw off the back, during which I lose the hands.
     
reader50
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Mar 9, 2019, 01:08 PM
 
During the saw-off project. Use a hot-melt glue gun to force glue into the hands hub. Then when you saw the rest of the back off, the hands stay put. Set their position first, as you might use that for agent rank or something.

The outer ring appears to be what's holding it together. Prying it out will leave tool marks in the aluminum. Heat gun will melt the outer ring, but might get the clear plastic front also. And you'll probably never get it back together.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 9, 2019, 01:21 PM
 
Gluing the hands in is a good idea, but unfortunately the hub sticks out really far, and that needs to get sawed off, too.

I’ll probably give it a shot anyway, but I think it’ll end up sawing off the part of the glue which is holding the hands on.
( Last edited by subego; Mar 9, 2019 at 01:45 PM. )
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 9, 2019, 01:27 PM
 
My (unlikely) hope with the heat gun is it can somehow separate this black piece of plastic on the back from the gold plastic of the bezel.

     
reader50
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Mar 9, 2019, 02:27 PM
 
Bezel ring looks like anodized aluminum, same as the clock face. But the clear face cover is probably plastic too, and thinner. So it would melt sooner.

If you were really careful with a dremel, you might cut the black ring. As in, go 90% of the way through, and 90% of the way to the outer edge. Enough that you could work it the rest of the way with fingernails (no prying tools that leave marks). Not sure how you'd get it back together tight. Glue & pressure would be the only option. If they used glue already (not just a press-fit), then you're screwed.

On the gear hub, I mean forcing hot-melt in from the side. To freeze the entire assembly before cutting. You could use a dremel to trim the gear tree on the sides first, so the hot melt has a clear shot into the center shafts. Try cutting with the clock face-up, from underneath. So gravity might keep the hands in place. If you do overshoot the pre-cut glue, then you'd have a 2nd chance to glue it again.

btw, don't use a hacksaw. Too big a tool, too little control over the small clock. This is fine work, and I keep mentioning a dremel for good reason. Use an abrasive disc and go slowly.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 9, 2019, 03:31 PM
 
The Dremel is an excellent call! As is the idea to work some of this upside down.

Kudos to the manufacturers for making it convincing, but the bezel is just plastic.

I didn’t actually lose the hands through sawing. I was able to pry the back off, and started pulling off gears to see what would happen.

I mean, I knew what would happen, but I wanted to see how, so I could assess my options.

I should have pulled out a magnifying glass to try and get a better idea of how everything was attached, but I didn’t. I’ll do that next time.

However it works, these are the attachment points for the two hands.



Presumably the second hand attached to the movement with that pin. I have no idea how the minute hand attaches.

What I’m worried about is even with hot glue put in there, they’ll still be held in place by parts of the movement, which will stop holding once I cut a critical part away.
     
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Mar 9, 2019, 09:02 PM
 
You could always fake it with sneaky camera cuts. Two identical wallets - one has the bad result above. The other has the back cut out, so more of the clock is still there. Whenever the wallet is photographed open, actor is holding the one with mechanism sticking out the back. Concealing the extra mechanism of course.

Whenever the wallet is closed, it's the one with loose arms and no back. But intact wallet that can be photographed from any angle (so long as it's closed).

Benefit: the wallet-open prop has an intact clock mechanism. So you could alter the time display for story purposes.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 9, 2019, 10:05 PM
 
Honestly, it’s not as clean as I’d like, but we might do just that. Just to save time if anything.

Thanks for all the help!
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 10, 2019, 05:32 PM
 
On a completely different build, this seems to kinda sorta work.



Pellet gun filled with chalk instead of pellets. Way safer (and quieter, and cheaper) than dealing with blanks.
( Last edited by subego; Mar 10, 2019 at 05:58 PM. )
     
reader50
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Mar 10, 2019, 06:18 PM
 
Add the proper sound in post? The reduced sound on set may limit dubbing later. Capture the dialog the first time. Assuming your shooting location is quiet, and you don't have to recreate the sound track anyway.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 10, 2019, 07:04 PM
 
Yup! Even if we used blanks, we’d probably want to dub in something more “throaty” anyway.

Luckily, no dialogue with the guns.

No flash like we’d get with a blank, but I can theoretically CG something up if the smoke on its own doesn’t carrry the effect. I’ve done that before, but it was much easier job.

CG smoke that won’t look like garbage seems like more trouble than it’s worth compared to a practical effect, buuuuuut, I’m not sure if this is going to be visible enough. I’m a bit of a slave to the location, which may throw a white background at me.

Hopefully I can stuff more chalk in there. I wasn’t trying to maximize the load, just get it to work, which it didn’t for my first half-dozen tests.
     
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Mar 10, 2019, 08:20 PM
 
Too much chalk may land on things and be visible, looking unrealistic. About muzzle flash, I'd skip it during bright scenes. And use blanks if firing during dark scenes. Avoid a lot of CGI, and possibly having to 3D model the location, to simulate the flash and apply correctly to all surfaces.

Alternative: use motion capture. Leave the camera in position (or log exact position) and take a 2nd recording in complete darkness. Use a flashbulb where the muzzle is (shield behind the bulb, just as the real muzzle would have). You can use a standard 3v flashlight bulb hooked to 120v.

Use the captured frames as an overlay on the regular footage, minus the bulb hardware. Negative: you'd have to CGI the flash on anyone in the scene. But at least the background reflections would all be accurate.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 11, 2019, 01:13 PM
 
I like that idea with the bulb! One of the reasons I hate CG gun flashes is they don’t show up properly in the environment. The only reason it worked out when I did it before was lack of nearby environment which should have lit up. It is daylight though, so I’ll probably skip it.

Too much chalk shouldn’t be a problem for the shot itself, it’s only going to last a second or two. Resetting for another take may be a problem though if everything is “dusted”.

The shot is part of a gag. These Keystone-type cops try and break down a door, but can’t. Among the things they do is emptying their revolvers into the doorknob.

That’s the biggest reason I don’t want to use blanks. Real powder might damage the door, and it’s going to be not my door.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 11, 2019, 01:54 PM
 
More wacky builds...



This rotary phone, and 19 others like it, need to float, so my plan is to fill them with “Great Stuff”.

Should have been obvious, but too thick a glob won’t set properly. Needs to be done in layers.
     
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Mar 11, 2019, 02:05 PM
 
Polystyrene packing peanuts. Or bubble wrap.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 11, 2019, 02:21 PM
 
Peanuts are another great idea! Thanks for the continuing flow of them!

Peanuts would be quicker, and easier when it comes to putting the bottom back on and weighing it properly so it won’t flip.

The one thing the foam has going for it, assuming I do it properly, is I figure I can get close to total displacement.

The time savings though... just had my first “we’re shooting tomorrow instead of three months from now” anxiety dream.
     
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Mar 11, 2019, 03:31 PM
 
cutting from the door to the gun and back etc actually seems very noir now that I think about it. Possibly because they were not only solving similar technical considerations of the time, but also suspense.

for the telephones, I have tons of styrofoam sheets (from electronics etc) or your could buy from staples possibly, that could be cut to match the bottom of the phone.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 11, 2019, 04:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
cutting from the door to the gun and back etc actually seems very noir now that I think about it. Possibly because they were not only solving similar technical considerations of the time, but also suspense.
Back in the day, to get the “bullet hits the wall effect” they used to...

Wait for it...

Shoot a bullet into the wall.

I think it was Cagney who threw down and stopped the practice.


The peanuts might be better suited to filling out the odd shape, but the more solid a block I can use, the better. This is cheap plastic, but I’m sure I’ll be getting some Bakelite down the road.

What’s worse is I think I’m going to have to weight all of them at the base, or they’ll be inclined to flip. Every bit of water I can keep out will make them float higher.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 11, 2019, 04:27 PM
 


Handset didn’t really work as planned, either. Was hoping it would leak all the way down, but never got through.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Mar 11, 2019, 06:02 PM
 
Assuming you can make them buoyant enough, you could add a long 'rudder' that would extend below the water out of sight with large flat 'fins' in a cross shape at the end. To stop it flipping. Add a small weight to keep it centred. Does that make sense?
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 11, 2019, 09:44 PM
 
It does... two bisecting keels.

That’s a last ditch. They’d be seen in a lot of shots. One is actually spilt above/below water.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 11, 2019, 10:02 PM
 
Passes the first sink test!

( Last edited by subego; Mar 11, 2019 at 11:21 PM. )
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 12, 2019, 12:02 AM
 
Handset floats.



You’ll float too!

YOU’LL FLOAT TOO!
     
reader50
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Mar 12, 2019, 02:15 AM
 
The real trick is getting it to float without the water.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 12, 2019, 02:21 AM
 
Anti-grav foam would live up to the name “Great Stuff”.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 12, 2019, 03:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dog Spam
Dog spam
No dogs in this one. Cats though.

I’m not kidding.

( Last edited by subego; Mar 12, 2019 at 04:08 AM. )
     
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Mar 12, 2019, 03:59 AM
 
I had long wondered who pays the famous Cat Herders. Driving them to market never made sense. Not much beef to sell. Cat hair isn't exactly in demand either.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 12, 2019, 04:25 AM
 
There are houses which need a steady supply.

I just remembered, during the writing phase the idea of a talking dog was floated.

I don’t like saying no, but I had to kill the idea. It’s way above my own skill, and considering how many awful looking examples of talking animals there are, that’s a bajillion dollar order to get right.
     
andi*pandi
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Mar 12, 2019, 07:45 AM
 
you could have hired this guy:
https://www.animalstudio.com/downward-dog
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 12, 2019, 07:52 AM
 
They don’t look cheap.

Another strike against the Great Stuff...



Happened all of the sudden
     
andi*pandi
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Mar 12, 2019, 07:55 AM
 
tape or glue gun the inner seams before spraying insulation?
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 12, 2019, 08:25 AM
 
I did that with the obvious seams, but I figured the dial assembly would be immune.

To be fair, it was for about a day.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 15, 2019, 05:47 PM
 
Today’s eBay haul.



That’s close to half of what we plan to float.
     
reader50
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Mar 15, 2019, 08:42 PM
 
I hope you're not paying much for those.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 15, 2019, 10:46 PM
 
Way more than I wanted. Close to $30 per phone, $750 total.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 20, 2019, 05:59 PM
 
The rest of the players...



Next to them is a too big printer which fulfills my dream of printing too big props.

Say, a newspaper of the size from before they were a dead meme, of which this project needs three...



The one on top is an old prop, and is in the max range of my other printer. Underneath is a test print of 22x27, which was the late 20th century “standard” for broadsheets.
     
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Mar 20, 2019, 07:51 PM
 
run yer photos through a dot generator, and bump down the black. yes it's moody but also illegible.
     
reader50
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Mar 20, 2019, 10:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
These Keystone-type cops try and break down a door, but can’t. Among the things they do is emptying their revolvers into the doorknob.

That’s the biggest reason I don’t want to use blanks. Real powder might damage the door, and it’s going to be not my door.
Can you match the doorknob? If need be, buy two identical knobs, and swap one in for the shot.

Mount the 2nd knob in a piece of wood stained to match the color of the original door. You might adjust the tone in post, to an exact color match. Go somewhere safe for shooting and fire real bullets into the 2nd knob. For the closeup shots. Just log the angles and # of shots (12?), etc.

A bit of post work, and you won't have to explain to the audience why your guys encountered a bullet proof door knob.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 20, 2019, 11:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
run yer photos through a dot generator, and bump down the black. yes it's moody but also illegible.
You’re taking about the old one?

Oh... that has all kinds of problems. I agree the photo’s too dark, but it has actually been halftone screened.
     
andi*pandi
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Mar 20, 2019, 11:27 PM
 
oh, ok!
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 20, 2019, 11:44 PM
 
Last time I posted a pic of that prop you got up in my grille for not fill justifying the headline, which was also correct.

Henceforth, I promise I will post all upcoming newspapers for critique.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 21, 2019, 12:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Can you match the doorknob? If need be, buy two identical knobs, and swap one in for the shot.

Mount the 2nd knob in a piece of wood stained to match the color of the original door. You might adjust the tone in post, to an exact color match. Go somewhere safe for shooting and fire real bullets into the 2nd knob. For the closeup shots. Just log the angles and # of shots (12?), etc.

A bit of post work, and you won't have to explain to the audience why your guys encountered a bullet proof door knob.
If there were a closeup, that would be ideal, but the shot where they fire is from far away.

The bulletproof aspect is part of the gag. The house is sorta alive, and only lets in who it wants. The next time someone tries to get in the house, the door just opens for them.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 21, 2019, 04:50 AM
 
Wow... grody.



After feeling how f-ing heavy these phones are, I thought I had made a huge mistake testing only the reproduction and not the real thing.

I absolutely should have tested a real one before buying the whole lot, so it’s still a mistake, but I’m confident I can trim some of this weight off.

I jumped the gun because, well... 90% of the work on this particular build is going to be soul-crushingly tedious, and I want it over with as soon as possible.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 21, 2019, 05:24 AM
 
It’s already thrown me a curve.

From the “don’t build them like they used to” department, a telephone dial assembly is mounted to... mother of God... quarter-inch steel plate.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 21, 2019, 07:52 AM
 
Well, that’s a sticky wicket.

Styrofoam peanuts look to be a success, so good call on that, but the plate makes it way too nose-heavy.

So, plate’s gotta go, but that’s whats housing the spring for the dial return. I probably can’t get the thing off without it literally exploding.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 21, 2019, 08:17 AM
 
Holy shit. Spring comes off without exploding, at least on this model. That’s a considerate touch.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 21, 2019, 05:13 PM
 
I’m glad I decided to get a few extra phones so I could get the hang of this.



Didn’t center that dial very well, and now it’s epoxied. Oh well.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 21, 2019, 07:39 PM
 
Provisional success!



This is using the peanuts, so thanks again for the excellent suggestion!

These aren’t packed as aggressively as they could be. I think I can get even more buoyancy out of it.

I’m leaving the handset empty. I figure water will drain out the holes... unless it flips, but if it flips it’s failed anyway.

Seems relatively flip resistant... the base is metal.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 22, 2019, 02:35 PM
 
Phone didn’t suffer critical flotation failure overnight, so I’m considering it a full success.

There’s one small wrinkle I haven’t worked out.

On the bottom of the phones I’m making a ring of bailing wire, which I’m going to anchor to a dive weight with fishing line.

The wrinkle is how to secure the fishing line. On one side, presumably the weight, I can do it with a knot. Ideally, I want to be able to quickly and easily change the length of the line, so the side attached to the phone needs to be secured with a clip of some type.

Binder clip is the best I’ve come up with so far, but that’s not really right.

Bonus points if the idea can clip up all the slack, too.
     
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Mar 22, 2019, 04:34 PM
 
magnet with paper clip? or, hot clue binder clip flat side to magnet.

you said the bottom of these things is steel, right?

or hot glue a velcro cable strip to the bottom, just at the middle.
     
 
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