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fog machine for mid-day exteriors


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#1 Robert Lucas

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 01:27 PM

Hi there,

Recently on a shoot, I've been beat up badly by the sun. I was shooting exteriors from around 9am to 3pm, I had no silks or any other practical way of shading of areas and/or softening shadows and sunlight. It was a brutal day, but I figured I might just re-shoot it. I was thinking that a fog-machine would be great for this, which brings me to my question. Would a fog-machine be a practical device to help lower the contrasty lighting for an exterior shot on a bright sunny day? I don't plan to use any lights, but just bounce sunlight. If I can't drop the sunlight down a few stops, then I figured a fog machine would help a bit. Thanks alot.

Robert Lucas
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#2 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 01:32 PM

Would it work? Probably it would, at least for a few seconds until the smoke dissipated/ thined.

Is it practical? Of course not. It would be a lot simpler (and in the long run cheaper) to just rent some basic proper grip equipment.
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#3 Robert Lucas

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 01:42 PM

Would it work? Probably it would, at least for a few seconds until the smoke dissipated/ thined.

Is it practical? Of course not. It would be a lot simpler (and in the long run cheaper) to just rent some basic proper grip equipment.


Thanks Kevin,

I found a fog machine at Alan Gordon for $25 a day and fog juice which is $15 that brings me up to about $40 a day or for a weekend. I am shooting a no-budget feature on the XL2 and don't have too much money for stuff. I also don't have a lot of room for equipment other than the essentials as I carry my stuff in my little car(2002 Galant) so I don't know if renting some silks ect... would be a good idea. Though I would like to. Can you think of any other efficient way? Thanks and hope to hear from you and others soon.

Robert Lucas
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#4 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 01:49 PM

Wooden Nickel (from memory, may be off):
6x6 Grid cloth $12
6x6 frame $8
(2) C-stands $4 or (2) Hi-Rollers $6
(4) Sand bags $8
All for the weekend

Grip stuff is really not very much money. You could rent a 20x20 for around $60 a weekend (complete).
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#5 Robert Lucas

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 01:59 PM

Wooden Nickel (from memory, may be off):
6x6 Grid cloth $12
6x6 frame $8
(2) C-stands $4 or (2) Hi-Rollers $6
(4) Sand bags $8
All for the weekend

Grip stuff is really not very much money. You could rent a 20x20 for around $60 a weekend (complete).



The only problem that I find with using some big diffusion material is that I can't cover all that much, especially in the background and I figured that if I used a fog machine, it would cover everything in frame because it would be in the foreground which should soften/lower contrast of everything behind it. I know you might be thinking, then why not use a fog filter? Well because it would also add an unwanted softness to everything else, rather than just using the fog machine which would lower the lighting contrast and not so much affect the blacks and whites of the characters ect... This has been stressing me out so much lately, I literally get headaches just thinking about it.
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#6 Jeff Webster

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 02:16 PM

Wooden Nickel has some great stuff, we used it on the last short I was on.

But I have another question:

I hear the Hazemaker machine is good for adding a nice overall mist to the scene to reallly accentuate the shafts of light.

First, I am wondering if this would be useful for a scene where a man is trying to commit suicide by having his car on in the garage. Realistic fumes with this machine?

Second, where is this machine available for rent?

Thanks,
Jeff
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#7 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 02:23 PM

Wooden Nickel rents Haze machines. It's called the DF50 and is around $90 a day I think.

Well the problem you are facing is an issue regardless of budget. Unless you can pull a Dean Semler and fly 200x200 silks from construction cranes over your set, you have the problem of softening a big area.

The best thing to do is use maybe light grid and stage your scene against a background that is darker. That, or schedule your wide shots for a time that the light is better, and then diffuse the close ups.
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#8 Robert Lucas

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 02:28 PM

Thanks Kevin.
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#9 John Hall

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 02:30 PM

The only problem that I find with using some big diffusion material is that I can't cover all that much, especially in the background and I figured that if I used a fog machine, it would cover everything in frame because it would be in the foreground which should soften/lower contrast of everything behind it. I know you might be thinking, then why not use a fog filter? Well because it would also add an unwanted softness to everything else, rather than just using the fog machine which would lower the lighting contrast and not so much affect the blacks and whites of the characters ect... This has been stressing me out so much lately, I literally get headaches just thinking about it.
You will be really in for a headache with this fog machine plan. Even if you get a nice level, one small gust of wind in the middle of the take and its ruined.


As Kevin pointed out, grip equipment is not that expensive.
And I've seen people get a decent result using just a 4x4 frame with 250 and bounces.
Now that's not a lot of coverage, but if you have to be more discriminating in your choice of location & most importantly, what is in the background of your shot.
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#10 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 02 May 2007 - 03:56 AM

A pro-mist filter and a lower-con film stock would be ideal for getting what you're trying to get.

Outdoors, smoke from fog machines dissipates so quickly, it can be frustrating and impractical most the time...unless you got a couple guys on hand to blast in some smoke and the time to wait until the smoke is even enough to not be visibly blowing around in your shot.
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