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How to Make DIY Squibs

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DIY Squibs are an essential part of indie action filmmaking, used by thousands of films all over the world. They allow you to give the effect of a bullet hit or expulsion of blood from the body of an actor. But if you’re a smaller production, how can you achieve this effect on a limited budget? Director Gareth Evans has you covered.

Gareth, director of action hits Merantau and The Raid: Redemption, took time out of filming The Raid 2: Berandal to share the following information on his Twitter.

It started with this, later adding that they pulled off “100 squibs, 1 shot”:

And showing the preparations:

He then outlines the following steps:

Step 1) buy lots of condoms.
Step 2) wash the lubricant off them in a bucket of water and soap (see previous twitpic)
Step 3) tie a knot in one end (not the opening)
Step 4) using a syringe pour blood into the condom.
Step 5) tie a knot at the top end – make it tight so there is some air pressure in the body of the condom.
Step 6) put a spot of superglue on the surface of the condom to make it harden.
Step 7) cut a square of bandage tape
Step 8) thread black fishing wire through the small square of bandage tape – leave at least 2 meters of wire spare.
Step 9) Superglue the bandage tape to the hardened spot of the condom.
Step 10) strap a bandage around the actor in the position of the wound.
Step 11) using the spare ends of the condom (those knots) attach the condom to the bandage.
Step 12) cut an X shaped hole in the clothing.
Step 13) feed the black fishing wire through the hole.

He finishes the instructions with:
Finally, when the moment comes for the squib to burst either have someone off camera pull the string (it will burst beautifully)… Or have the string tight and have the actor fall, twist or fall so the timing of the burst matches with the reaction of the performer. Also works for knife slashes (attach the string to the handle of the swinging knife). More importantly it allows the camera to stay wide and for actors to move freely with no tubing.

And then remembers to give credit to his crew member who came up with the process:

Finally, he shares two examples of the DIY squibs in action:

And there you have it! What do you think? What ways have you come up with to accomplish the squib effect? Share your ideas, resources, or questions in the comments below.

  • Dzhershk

    That’s great, I’ve been looking for a convincing way to fake my own death with witnesses present.