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I'm doing the sound design for an adaptation of a Sherlock Homes novella this summer. The venue is outdoors, a raised stage in a field. The play has a number of gunshots, and Production has some reservations about the idea of firing blanks with unsuspecting people possibly walking by. There's always the option of pre-recorded shots, but we'd also like to pursue a live solution.

Have any of you guys had success with something similar?

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Please alert neighbors and businesses nearby that this will be happening. Police have been called in for far less. :-) – NoiseJockey Jun 12 '12 at 5:28

Is the problem that pre-recorded gunshots will sound too canned? Or is it that it will be too hard to synchronize them with the action going on onstage?

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I suggest bursting an inflated balloon, as long as the audience don't see you doing it, it can be surprisingly effective. The larger the balloon the bigger the gun shot.

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