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Guns a-Blazin': Creating a Muzzle Flash with Premiere Elements 7

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Have you ever seen a gunfight onscreen and wondered why it seemed so blah? Paul Ekert, author of Creating Hollywood-Style Movies with Adobe Premiere Elements 7, steps through the process of adding a muzzle flash to make the pop of a gun more exciting.
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A muzzle flash is the visual indication of a gun firing—although, strictly speaking, in the real world a muzzle flash doesn't occur every time a gun is fired. In the movie world, however, it happens all the time. Why? Well, partly because it adds a dramatic punch to the sound of the gun firing, but mainly because audiences have come to expect it. If you want your movies to live up to audience expectations, you should know how to do add a muzzle flash!

In this article, you'll learn how to use all the necessary tools in Premiere Elements 7 to create a cool-looking muzzle flash. No extra graphics or expensive plug-ins are required. It's just you, the Timeline, and a little imagination—the only three tools you need to create an amazing movie effect.

Filming Tips

The footage shown throughout this article was created indoors with the actor "firing" an Airsoft pistol. This footage was filmed against a green screen to allow the video editor to composite the actor into a street scene at a later point in the project (see Figure 1).

When creating a scene like this, try to make sure that the actor keeps the weapon relatively still when pulling the trigger. Once the trigger is pulled, a real gun would recoil, so get your actor to reproduce this effect by jerking the gun back slightly as each shot is taken (see Figure 2).

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