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Fog or Smoque


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#1 Adam Paul

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 02:07 PM

I was wondering what is the difference between these two Tiffen filters?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 02:16 PM

I was wondering what is the difference between these two Tiffen filters?


Fog filters date back to the 1930's at least (I remember one scene in Hitchcock's "Rebecca" that used one); in the 1950's, "Vertigo" is famous for using a Fog filter for some scenes, as was Huston's "Moulin Rouge". And of course there are the famous movies that Geoffrey Unsworth shot with Fogs: "Cabaret", "Superman", "Bridge Too Far", "Murder on the Orient Express", etc.

Smoque only came out a few years ago.

Fog filters don't really look like natural fog -- later, Harrison developed the Double-Fog filter to improve on the idea of a fog effect, by combining Fogs and Low Cons into one filter basically. And they made graduated Fogs called "Scenic Fogs" to localize the effect better to one part of the frame.

Fog filters basically have mist particles that cause bright areas to glow into dark areas, as if you had breathed on the lens and fogged it up.

Smoque has a much finer grade of mist particles so bright areas more realistically glow into dark areas as a gradual haze, not a big halo centered around the bright area, and Smoque doesn't blur the detail, doesn't soften the focus the way that Fogs do. Smoque is almost like a heavier UltraCon but with more halation effects.
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#3 Adam Paul

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 02:32 PM

Thanks David. I'm looking for a filter to help matching close ups of master shots with smoke/fog produced by a fog machine. Normally if you just use the fog machine for the close up it doesn't work very well because the fog is either too much or too little. I heard a filter helps but I am not sure if I should I get a fog or a smoque. But given your explanation, it seems the smoque would be the one? Also what grade? Thanks again.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 06:44 PM

Thanks David. I'm looking for a filter to help matching close ups of master shots with smoke/fog produced by a fog machine. Normally if you just use the fog machine for the close up it doesn't work very well because the fog is either too much or too little. I heard a filter helps but I am not sure if I should I get a fog or a smoque. But given your explanation, it seems the smoque would be the one? Also what grade? Thanks again.


I find that I alternate between a #1 and #2 Smoque (they don't make anything lighter than a #1). Just remember that they react to the light sources in the frame and on the edges of the frame to create the smoke effect, and they won't create a shaft of light effect, and if someone blocks the light in the frame with their body, the smoke effect momentarily disappears. So it really is more of an augment to using smoke on the set. I got them for shooting inserts on a desk or wall in a smoked set when you're so close to an object that there's no haze between you and the object (and no distant background) to create an effect, so it looks too clean. I cheated by shooting some scenes with them in "Astronaut Farmer" that I couldn't smoke but were surrounded by smoked set shots. For example, I had one scene where the windows were going to be blown-out with an explosive charge and I knew that all the smoke would rush out of the set once the windows were gone, so I used the Smoque filter instead.

I recently used the Smoque #1 to give a faint haze to a scene filmed in a large church chapel that I was not allowed to smoke up.

But it's a problematic replacement for real smoke.

Shoot a test and you'll see.
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#5 Adam Paul

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 09:03 AM

Thanks again David. So I think the fog is out of question as it seems to give you a different effect. Is Tiffen the only one making Smoque filters?
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 01:00 AM

Is Tiffen the only one making Smoque filters?


Yes, it's a Tiffen product.
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#7 Adam Paul

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 09:19 AM

Yes, it's a Tiffen product.


Maybe you misunderstood me and forgive me if you didn't. But what I meant was, is there an equivalent to the Tiffen Smoque filters from another brand? I know Smoque is a Tiffen product, but maybe there is something similar in the market. I know glimmerglass has no equivalent for example, but promist and others do.
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 09:37 AM

Maybe you misunderstood me and forgive me if you didn't. But what I meant was, is there an equivalent to the Tiffen Smoque filters from another brand? I know Smoque is a Tiffen product, but maybe there is something similar in the market. I know glimmerglass has no equivalent for example, but promist and others do.


I don't know of any exact copy of what Smoque does from another filter maker. They would probably suggest you test their Fogs, Low-Cons, etc.
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#9 Adam Paul

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 05:04 PM

Thanks David.
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#10 Adam Paul

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 07:59 AM

Hey David,
I decided to bring this thread up again since I now really have to get some smoque filters.
I have a music video to shoot where I was asked to give it a foggy London kind of mood. There will be fog machines too, although just the kind you buy in party stores or Home Depot. So I thought this would be a good opportunity to finally get my smoque filters. The video is composed of night interiors and exteriors (with the foggy London effect).
Would you recommend getting a smoque 1 & 2 or rather get 2 & 3? Maybe 1&2 is not a bad idea since I can stack them up and probably get a #3 effect. I have the feeling 4 is too strong, but I may be wrong.
I suppose a stronger filter will be needed to get the foggy effect on establishing and wider shots and a weaker one for the medium and actor?s close ups?
Also, I suppose the filter will have to be lit from the edges to get the effect?
Another question is, should I use the fog machines together with the filters or will it interfere with the effect somehow?

Just remember that they react to the light sources in the frame and on the edges of the frame to create the smoke effect, and they won't create a shaft of light effect,


There will be a couple of shots where the shaft will be needed. I guess the fog machines would take care of that. But should a smoque filter be used along too?

Thanks David.
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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 10:42 AM

The more you can use real smoke, the better. When you have heavier smoke, you can use the lighter Smoque filter or pull it completely if you decide it's adding too much of an effect. When the smoke is lighter, use the heavier filter.

The filter needs to react to lights in the shot -- streetlamps, store windows, etc. You don't need to hit the filter with light from the off-camera edge, that would probably just wash-out the shot.

The Smoque #1 is very subtle but I would definitely get it. I've never used the #3 so I don't know if it's too heavy -- the #2 was always heavy enough for me. So get a #1 and #2 definitely.
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#12 Adam Paul

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 12:00 PM

Thanks David.
Yeah, I will get 1 & 2 then. If I need a stronger effect I can just stack them both up. Hopefully it won't cut too much light for the night exteriors.


On another note, since we are talking here already, I have a lighting related question and I thought I would just ask it here instead of opening a new thread for it. In case it grows too much within this thread maybe the mods can break it up.
The singer in the video has really deep eye sockets and I can see it will be a problem with the low key high contrast style we are going for. I thought of maybe using some sort of eyelight. But I don't want to flatten the shot. Reading your Cinematography by you and Kris, I seem to recall you guys recommending something like a camera light as eyelight to fill sockets. So I was thinking of suing a Paglight on the top of the camera for that. They came in 20w and 35w bulbs. But I'm afraid it may look too much like a spot on the face. Another idea is to just have a china ball bellow the singer off frame to fill the sockets, like a bottom to top light. But as it's soft light it may wash the contrast too. I'm not so worried in giving the eyes any spark or shine. More worried about not letting his eyes in the dark.
It will be shot in HD with a Mini35 by the way. Probably lit to T4.
Any advice?
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 04:08 PM

Any eyelight with a snoot to keep it contained to just the eyes would work -- a tweenie with 216 diff. on the barndoors and a blackwrap snoot extending out, for example.
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#14 Adam Paul

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 05:39 AM

Interesting you recommended a tweenie. I was afraid even a pepper could be too much and would look too much like a spot on the face. Hence why I was thinking about getting a camera light with a 35w bulb to mount on the top of the cameras. Although it would be a frontal light, 35w is not a lot when the key would be 1k or 2k and I think it could be just enough to bring the eyes out o the shadows. But then again maybe 35w wouldn't even make a difference against the 1k or 2k key. The problem is that I can't really test now because I don't have a camera light. I was going to buy one for this purpose. Do you think the 35w bulb would be enough or too less against a 1k to 2k key?
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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 11:21 AM

The advantage to a tweenie or inky or Pepper with diffusion is that you can always scrim it down to taste (or a Dedo with diffusion plus ND gel or Pepper scrims). But a bare 35w bulb would work, and you can put it on a hand dimmer. You'll want some way to control the spill, maybe with blackwrap.

ANY light will work basically as long as you control the intensity and spill.
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#16 Adam Paul

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 12:34 PM

The light I'm looking at, Paglight, is actually focusable from flood to spot and also has barndoors, a daylight filter and a frosted diffuser. So it's pretty controlable.

Here's the link: http://www.paguk.com...information.htm
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