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How can I make it look like someone is putting a needle in their arm? It's for a student film. Answered

I know this is weird, but in one scene of this film, there is a close-up of someone shooting up heroin. Since we don't actually have the capability (nor desire) to show someone actually doing this, how can we fabricate a device that will look like the needle is being injected in the arm and squirts a little bit of blood out when the needle is removed?

Any advice is greatly appreciated.


There is a commercially available magic trick called (oddly enough) "Needle Through Arm" that includes a blood effect. The gimmick for this trick might work for your effect with a little cosmetic modification.
Personally, I like Burf's idea, though. If you really really need to see the blood happen without a cut, you could drill a tiny hole with a Dremel in the side of the needle, just above the epoxy plug. Then before you shoot, suck a little stage blood into the needle and squirt it out when the time comes.

The other solution: Scratch the closeup. Shoot from an an angle where the injection site is not directly visible, and mime it. Assuming you've got a decent actor, that really should be just about as good unless there is some Very Specific Reason that you absolutely need to show this on camera.

The strongest special effects are the ones that happen between the audience's ears.

You could make a disappearing needle like the stage knives.  Where the needle goes up inside the syringe.

Dull the point even on this one though.


8 years ago

Use a large bore needle, and draw in a small amount of 5 minute epoxy. Let the epoxy harden and then file off the needle point and round over the edges with a piece of 400 grit wet or dry sandpaper.
To make the effect of actually penetrating the skin, hold the syringe with the blunted needle at a slight angle to the arm and gently push down and forward on the needle.
The skin will be depressed by the downward pressure and the forward pressure will cause the skin to roll over the tip of blunted needle, looking as though it has actually penetrated the skin.
Practice it on yourself a few times, there's no big trick to making it look realistic.


Answer 8 years ago

I forgot the blood effect. This is an editing trick: close-up of the needle penetrating as I described, then cut to another shot. During the cut scene,  apply a drop or two of synthetic blood on the supposed injection site, put the needle back in position, cut back to the needle. Obscure the needle being retracted with a piece of cotton or a finger, close up on the 'blood' then fade or cut to another shot.