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Lighting A Large FIRE


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#1 Jayden Woodards

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 10:55 PM

Hey there,

 

I'm gaffer for a short film coming up and the director has made me aware we don't have an SFX team to direct a large store fire. 

 

They want one wide shot of a countryside store being set up on fire and burning.  

 

Here's my current idea:

 

Pump several smoke machines inside the building to make visible windows and openings smokey, and then (somehow) find a way to create an upwards smoke stream into the sky, whether we have roof access or not hopefully large fans and smoke will be enough power to push it up. 

I would put some large lights (1k and 2ks, HMI is needed) to bounce off reflectors based on the ground to spread the light and avoid light beams in the air. Orange and Yellow gels to sell the color. 

 

I haven't done this thing before and will be commencing tests in a month time. I'm looking for some suggestions to test and even some experience to be shared so I can get a better grasp on what I'm going to need.

 

Thanks!

 

Two photo references attached as location and fire references.

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#2 Bruce Greene

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 04:05 AM

You might try using your smoke and orange light idea for the interior and then, do a digital sky replacement with smoke and flames coming from behind the house.  I think this would sell it quite well.  You can even add a little bit of digital flame to the windows if you want.


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#3 Bruce Greene

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 04:37 AM

You might try using your smoke and orange light idea for the interior and then, do a digital sky replacement with smoke and flames coming from behind the house.  I think this would sell it quite well.  You can even add a little bit of digital flame to the windows if you want.

This frame has digitally added fire above the house.  I think it would help quite a bit.

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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 05:38 AM

I wouldn't do HMIs; I'd do a lot of tungsten heads all on flicker boxes-- or quite a lot of skypanels, on fire FX.


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#5 Jayden Woodards

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 06:16 AM

This frame has digitally added fire above the house.  I think it would help quite a bit.

 

This seems like the easier option but also depends on the type of post-production budget we have. I haven't spoken to any of our editors about their own skill level with such things.

 

I wouldn't do HMIs; I'd do a lot of tungsten heads all on flicker boxes-- or quite a lot of skypanels, on fire FX.

 

HMI's were just an option for some of those higher more brighter parts of the 'flames'. Pretty sure skypanels to rent are a bit above our budget if we need multiple. I have access to quite a few 1K and 2K tungstens. CTO's on a HMI would work for the color, surely...? 

 

Have any practical suggestions for how else I could manage this?


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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 08:31 AM

I wouldn't use a daylight-balanced HMI to create orange firelight.  Use tungsten or Skypanels.


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#7 Alex Sprenger

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 05:41 AM

You would have double Full CTOs on the HMIs and at that point, you can just use tungsten, as everyone else here pointed out. What f stop and ISO do you plan on shooting at for the wide shot? Do you only have access to house power or will you have a generator on hand? If its just house power, how many circuits do you have on hand that you can draw from? With 2Ks, you are at one lamp per circuit, so keep that in mind when talking with the locations contact, especially since your store looks way bigger than Bruces house. BTW what I love about his shot is the fact, that you can see fire in the windows downstairs a bit, which interestingly enough doesnt happen in your REAL reference Jayden, but to me makes it a lot more convincing. Would probably be a question of how big the glass front of the store can be and how convincingly it could be lit from inside, otherwise I would just reside to backlighting the smoke on the roof.

 

Also: Im guessing there will be other shots in front of the store, in the parking lot? If so, might I suggest this reference from Jarhead for that:  

That movie has tons of great night fire scenes, with lots of great silhouettes.


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#8 Jayden Woodards

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 05:55 AM

You would have double Full CTOs on the HMIs and at that point, you can just use tungsten, as everyone else here pointed out. What f stop and ISO do you plan on shooting at for the wide shot? Do you only have access to house power or will you have a generator on hand? If its just house power, how many circuits do you have on hand that you can draw from? With 2Ks, you are at one lamp per circuit, so keep that in mind when talking with the locations contact, especially since your store looks way bigger than Bruces house. BTW what I love about his shot is the fact, that you can see fire in the windows downstairs a bit, which interestingly enough doesnt happen in your REAL reference Jayden, but to me makes it a lot more convincing. Would probably be a question of how big the glass front of the store can be and how convincingly it could be lit from inside, otherwise I would just reside to backlighting the smoke on the roof.

 

Also: Im guessing there will be other shots in front of the store, in the parking lot? If so, might I suggest this reference from Jarhead for that:  

That movie has tons of great night fire scenes, with lots of great silhouettes.

 

Hey hey,

 

Thank you so much for the reply. I definitely left out some information here. 

 

So we do NOT have a location as of yet, but the stores we're looking at thus far are running on a pretty standard setup for power for most stores in Australia. I expect that there will be multiple 20A circuits leaving us with 4800w per circuit. 

 

Generators are a possibility and will most likely be a strong consideration come testing and upon finding a location if we do need the extra power.

 

My concern in regards to the front of the store is the glass as well. We're pretty limited with budget and gear and the front glass of location is something I don't know as of yet to get a clearer reference. 

 

Backlighting the roof smoke was a consideration but I'm still looking at ways to convincingly spread the light enough to avoid light beams and also create that strong gradient in the orange and yellows. 

 

Have you got any tips for the front glass of a shop front in terms of creating a convincing looking fire? 

 

 

I wouldn't use a daylight-balanced HMI to create orange firelight.  Use tungsten or Skypanels.

 

You're right. Adrian also mentioned not using HMI's. My impression was that the stronger power drawing less power would make for more room on a circuit(s). I don't have huge amounts of experience with HMI's either so I'm giving a pretty unexperienced suggestion for myself. 


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#9 Christopher Vaughan

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 07:48 AM

You can have an electrician come out and do a 100+ amp tie in. Would probably be cheaper than a genny of the same size and solve your power problems.
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