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Recently I watched Full Metal Jacket again, and during its city attack scene I noticed something that I've been wondering about for quite some time now: how are the effects of bullet impacts in concrete walls created?

For example, in the scene I'm talking about (linked here) Adam Baldwin shoots at a building, and you can clearly see it gets ripped to shreds by bullets. In this scene, I can imagine that live bullets are used, because you can leave the building empty and actually shoot at it.

However, I just watched Equilibrium the other night, and in this movie a lot of gunfire takes place inside buildings with actors all over the place (linked here). Here, use of live ammo is ofcourse impossible.

I've been searching around for an answer, but most threads are about bullet impacts on actors (blood with squibs) or through wooden walls (also squibs). However, none talk about concrete walls. Are the holes pre-made, the squibs inserted and then covered up? If that's the case, are they remotely detonated?

Some effects seem to also involve high pressure, but I can't imagine that drilling holes and rigging every single bullet hole to a high pressure machine is very feasible (especially in the case of Equilibrium, where dozens of bullet holes are created in a matter of seconds).

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    Are you sure they're actually concrete walls....it seems unlikely that concrete would be used in set construction. – Paulie_D Nov 6 '16 at 13:28
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    Also radio detonation has been around for decades. – Paulie_D Nov 6 '16 at 13:35
  • @Paulie_D Good point, it is possible that it is just plain plaster, which would make the hiding of squibs much easier. – Kazu Nov 6 '16 at 15:03
  • "Full Metal Jacket: Between Good and Evil" was a short documentary about the film. In it one of the interviewees says that it took them a particularly long time to film a sequence, the sequence that you're referring to in fact, because they'd have to reset the bullet hits when filming, which would take a few days. He doesn't go into any further detail but I imagine this does mean they used squibs. They were concrete walls in this instance, they shot at a derelict gas works in East London which was set to be destroyed. – TJF. Nov 15 '16 at 11:19
  • Maybe not for this scene, but I've seen a behind the scenes documentary show production staff just off screen firing what looked like paintball markers at and around an actors feet (because all near misses in open ground land around the target's feet!!). they seemed to be firing balls somehow loaded with dust. – Grimm The Opiner Jan 16 '17 at 16:23
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Are the holes pre-made, the squibs inserted and then covered up? If that's the case, are they remotely detonated?

Yes, thats exactly how they are done, if done in practical effects. Three types:

  1. Concrete Panels. Thin panels of concrete either off the shelf or custom ordered to size.
  2. Concrete over Plaster. Even thinner, with a layer of real concrete.
  3. Faux Concrete. Decorated to look like concrete when it really isn't.

A thin reinforcement is used, and a directional explosive charge like a squib is set.

Some effects seem to also involve high pressure, but I can't imagine that drilling holes and rigging every single bullet hole to a high pressure machine is very feasible (especially in the case of Equilibrium, where dozens of bullet holes are created in a matter of seconds).

Of course it's not feasible, it's art! Movie budgets go into the millions for a reason. You get what you pay for, in man-hours, and for artistic reasons its done anyway. Entire companies and people make their lively hood by designing these special effect props. If that means drilling, loading, and transporting fake concrete for a sound stage, that's what they will do.

The other option is special effects. CGI has improved that digital rendering of these scenes are practical and realistic at some points.

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This video shows how small explosives are used:

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

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    Can you elaborate a little more what the video tells us in order to make this more than a mere link-only answer? – Napoleon Wilson Nov 6 '16 at 16:15
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In addition to the flats/ false walls made out of plaster/ Gypsum plaster which are pre-inserted with squibs, the squibs that give that high-impact effect come with a small pressurized CO2 canister with the magnesium/pyro cap. The squibs are remotely detonated live within the shot.

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