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Body Squibs - what are they?

You have probably seen body squibs about a thousand times, without knowing what they were called - but that's what E2 is for, right?

When you see someone on TV or on (rarely) Theater get shot, and there is blood flying everywhere, you have seen a body squib in action.

A body squib is the techical name that pyrotechnicians call these small props. (actually, both the actual explosive charge and the whole prop are called squib)

Teach me how to put on a body squib!

Body squibs, although they are often used, can be quite dangerous, so I suggest you do not try this at home. In any case: Say you want somebody to be shot in the chest. You then would put the squib on the person's back to simulate the bullet flying through them. The reason why this can be dangerous is that you are setting off an explosive charge that is taped to someone!

On the persons back, you would put a circular rubber mat with a diameter of about 5-10 cm (2-3 in). On this, you would put something made of metal (like a large coin) to make sure no residue goes into your actor. On top of this, you place your explosive charge. This is usually an electronically ignited charge packed in cardboard (as oposed to plastic or metal, which can be very dangerous). On top of this, you place a small bag (condoms are frequently used, although they tend to be a bit bulky) of theatric blood. All this is affixed (read: taped :) to the actor's body.

With a razor, one would normally thinly slice (not all the way through) the actor's clothing, so the squib can rip a hole though the textile

So.. How is it set off?

The charge can be set of in many ways, depending on the situation. Personally, I have a weakness for radio controlling the squib, so that the person firing the weapon can sync the squib going off with the firing of the weapon. This means that both the gunman and the victim can be on camera at the same time. (note this next time you see an action movie - you usually don't see the gunman and the victim at the same time - this is the reason!)

To save money (and to make the actors response more realistic), one could let the actor set off the squib, by stepping on a switch, or by hand-holding the switch. Alternatively, there could be a count-down. The sound of the gunshot would obviously have to be edited in later.

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Please read the disclaimer. Also, make sure you have read the Pyrotechnics safety tips. SAFETY FIRST

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