Squib FX is a team of forward thinking special effects artists dedicated to designing and building the most innovative and dramatic air powered squib rigs in the world. Owned and operated by Steve and Erica Tolin, Squib FX is based in Pittsburgh, PA and is proud to call the Steel City home.
Each of our rigs is built by hand by Steve himself or more likely Mercedez Linke, Stuntman Mike Scheib, or the lovely Erica Tolin. And nobody uses our rigs more than we do! We’re proud to call ourselves blood slingers and have created some of the most insane blood effects moments to ever hit the stage or screen!
Steve Tolin has been exploring squibs since his first movie “Project Valkyrie” back in 2000. Steve spent many years on numerous versions of bullet hits, each getting a little more effective and more reliable, but never quite what Steve knew they could be. Then, in 2007 Steve was asked to create the special effects for Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre's (PICT) production of the ambitiously bloody “Lieutenant of Inishmore”. The dark Irish comedy demanded four actors and one cat to be shot on stage in front of a live audience. PICT required an actor/cat and audience safe, extremely reliable, and consistently beautiful bullet hits to be executed nightly for more than 20+ shows without error.
Finally, afte many prototypes, the rig design that would later become known as The Rodriguez was created and Squib FX was born. For the next 3 years Steve was invited to 16 other productions of the same play in 16 different cities, including Lima, Peru. And over the next 10 years the rigs were perfected on thousands of bullet hits on hundreds of movies, TV shows, and live productions. After many inquiries we opened our doors to begin selling to the public in 2014 and have sold hundreds of rigs to nearly every state in the union and nearly every continent on Earth.
In the entertainment industry, squibs are live practical special effects which create the illusion of bullet impact(s). Squibs are most commonly used on actors and stunt performers to give the appearance that a person is being shot, but they are also frequently placed on the set or stage, or on a prop to generate an "environment" bullet hit.
Traditionally bullet hits have been achieved using HIGH EXPLOSIVES. This means that for the past 60 years, filmmakers and special effects artists have been attaching explosives directly onto human beings as the primary method of creating a bullet hit. This is obviously a horrible idea!
There is a large concussive force generated by an explosive, there is a risk of fire, and they also create a cloud of toxic lead dust for the entire cast and crew to breathe in. Even in the most qualified hands, explosive squibs are a dangerous way to create a bullet hit. Qualified hands are also expensive. Operators of explosive squibs must be federally licensed by the BATF and carry a blasters license for the state in which they are using the explosives. And there are other costs. Using explosive squibs generally requires a fire marshall to be present, and usually demands expensive injury and liability insurance, and possibly even a permit from the city.
Squib FX rigs use AIR instead of high explosives to create a bullet hit, making our rigs safe and easy to use. Additionally, they require no licenses or special permits (saving time and money), are quick to setup and even quicker to reset, and can be reused hundreds, even thousands, of times.
Nearly two decades of bullet hits and blood slinging have grown a large knowlege base and has allowed us to perfect our techniques. In that time we have refined our techniques and polished our approach to making bullet hit rigs. Our squib rigs are not just the simplest most reliable way to make an air powered squib, but the product of hundreds of small refinements that have allowed us to create the most durable and user friendly experience possible. We have selected the best parts we can find and assembled them in the most effective configuration we know how, to optimize the bullet hits and blood effects available to you. Constructed from solid impact resistant plastics, machined aluminum and steel, and wrapped in a carbon fiber shell or rigs can take a lot of abuse and still guarantee years of loyal service. All of our rigs are hand built by professional special effects artists and each one loved from start to finish. All rigs come with everything you need to get started, including blood and instruction book. We carry many different styles of rigs to cater to many different types of demanding scenarios, and each one comes with a 6 month manufacturer defect warranty and us in your pocket to help troubleshoot and brainstorm. And if none of our rigs will cut the cake, we can design and fabricate blood effects rigs that are limited only by your imagination.
Our squib rigs are used all over the United States and worldwide. Our squibs have been used in nearly every state in the union and every major city in the US including NY, LA, Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, Dallas, Austin, Las Vegas, Washinton DC, Wilmingtion, Nashville, Cleveland, Baltimore, and more. And while we are growing our reach every day, our rigs are already used worldwide in such countries as the UK, Australia, Canada, Netherlands, Sweden, Brazil, Peru, Russia, and more. And we are focused on building creative partnerships with filmmakers and theatre artists the world over.
As public awareness increases, we believe that air powered Squib FX rigs will become the prefered method of creating bullet hits and practical in camera and live blood effects. We are constantly striving for new ways to improve our products and better serve the needs of our customers. We are tirelessly working on designs for new rigs and are excited to be constantly advancing this technology. It is our goal to always remain on the leading edge of this industry.
We can take the guesswork out of your blood effects and give you peace of mind. As easy as our rigs are to use, some productions and clients would prefer to hire the professionals to come work with them on their project. We provide the professional service of picking and tweaking the right rig for the right effect and even custom designing rigs for their needs. For some productions it is easier to hire professional blood slingers and have the peace of mind of knowing that the technicians prepping and operating the rigs are trained Squib FX technicians. We can come operate the rigs for you too!
You can have us on set with you! We'll bring all of our toys and as many Bloodslingers (blood effects technicians) as your project requires.
Need us to create the blood effects for your play and to work with your crew and actors through the entire rehearsal period? How about the whole run? No problem.
Perhaps your creativity can't be matched with one of our current rigs. We can tweak our designs in thousands of ways or even custom build new rigs just for you. New challenges require new solutions, and we love solutions.
Are you confident that your production could handle our rigs if only you had some professional guidance? Knowledge is power. If you can get to us or bring us to you, we'll spend the whole day getting you up to speed on every one of our rigs. Then you're off to the races!
Some people get so excited that they have to share our rigs with the whole school. We'll come give a blood effects demo at your school and your students will never be the same. The children are the future.
Squib FX is a division of Tolin FX. Tolin FX is an award winning Special Effects and Specialized Design & Fabrication studio. In serving the film, television, and theatre industries for more than a decade, Tolin FX has earned a reputation for outstanding professionalism, detail-oriented precision, and a passion for creation. From conceptualization to execution, Tolin FX provides superior solutions to your complex creative challenges.
Tolin FX is owned and operated by Steve Tolin. Some of Tolin's most notable film credits include work on Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, Jack Reacher, Warrior, and Adventureland. Tolin recently produced a feature film It Came from Yesterday, for which he and his team created the creature effects and Production Design.
On stage Tolin's work has been seen internationally. Some of his most marked theatre credits include the world premiere of Stephen King and John Mellencamp's Ghost Brothers of Darkland County at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, GA and Sweeney Todd at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Tolin FX has become the go-to effects studio for more than fifteen productions of Martin McDonaugh's The Lt of Inishmore, winning a Joseph Jefferson Award for work on Northlight Theatre's Chicago production in 2009.
Steve is a graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, a member of IATSE Local 489, and a certified PADI scuba diver. Based in the Steel City of Pittsburgh, PA, Tolin FX utilizes numerous local and national artists and craftsmen to meet the special demands of entertainment businesses and artistic enterprises in the Southwestern Pennsylvania area, across the United States, and world-wide.