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Shooting visible breath


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#1 Holger Seidel

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Posted 10 May 2006 - 06:42 AM

For an image film coming up we want to shoot a runner in a cold, arctic environment. CGI backgrounds inspired from the Caspar David Friedrich painting 'The Polar Sea'. The runner will be shot as bluescreen element.

What is the best way to achieve visible breath in a studio environment. Any tricks?
Or shoot the breath separately in a cold room in front of black and composite it in.

Many thanks.

Holger Seidel
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#2 Mike Kaminski

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Posted 10 May 2006 - 09:52 AM

As far as i know the only way is to simply cool down the room and get the real thing. Other than that CG breath is the only option, or maybe as you suggested, comping in some.
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#3 Sean Curt

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Posted 10 May 2006 - 10:22 AM

better yet if there are overthe counter asthma pumps, buy one of those....I remember way back when I was younger I had a friend show me a neat trick when you pump the asthma pump in your mouth and blow it out..that might be he easiest way to similate a breathing
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 May 2006 - 10:33 AM

Whether you shoot them against black (and comp them in) or on the set, you'd need a refridgerated set with the humidity raised. And the breath needs to be backlit as much as possible, like with a snooted Tweenie or Dedolight.
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#5 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 10 May 2006 - 06:04 PM

I worked on a commercial years ago that we shot in a commercial storage freezer for the same reason. It wasn't huge, but it was big enough to shoot in. Just an idea....
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#6 Adam White

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 12:20 PM

Another way to increase effectiveness of breath is to have a hot drink for the subject to gulp before the shot. Works only for the first exhale or so but great for quick close-ups.

I managed to get a band into the back of a chilled van that usualy transported meat. Pretty horrific. One problem of note is that, when using Tungsten/HMI lights, you are going to be adding a lot of bulb heat. If your chilled stage is small then you may want to limit light units or consider low heat units like kinos. Otherwise your chiller turns to sauna. .
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#7 Holger Seidel

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 08:53 AM

Thanks to all for the answers.
We decided to add the breath digitally in post.
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#8 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 10:13 AM

The Exorcist was shot in a huge refrigerated warehouse. Apparently the production had to stop frequently because the lights heated up the atmosphere too much.
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#9 Adam White

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 11:49 AM

Thanks to all for the answers.
We decided to add the breath digitally in post.


hope it works out well. Let us see some stills when its all done :)
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