Gunfire flashes

Hey guys, I’m not sure whether or not I’m posting in the right category but I think this fits under animation because I’m wondering how to animate muzzle flashes.

The look I want to go for is the muzzle flashes that are coming from the turret on the warthog jeep in this video - (2:59 and 3:15 are good examples of what I’m trying to achieve)

What I’m thinking, is I need to model maybe 3 cone shaped “flashes” and parent them to the tip of the barrel and then animate when they’re visible or not and maybe cycle them for some variety. Then maybe also add a light source so that the flashes actually cast light on the surroundings.

My question to you animation experts, am I thinking in the right direction? Is this the proper approach? Or is there a simpler way?

Also, if I AM thinking in the right direction, any tips on how to model such a muzzle flash?

Check out Andrew Price’s tutorial at Blenderguru :