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Creating atmosphere/shafts of light in a scene


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#1 Ashley Barron

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 02:54 AM

Hello,
Has anyone ever used incense smoke to create atmosphere in a scene through which shafts of light can be seen? I know that most people use a fog machine, but I have been recently advised to try out incense..has anyone tried this principle before?
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#2 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 03:04 AM

I've seen people try it, unsuccessfully. Depending on the size of the room, you'd have to light various incents and let them go for a while before you get any kind of consistent mist in the room.

Best to just go with a fog machine. And with Halloween coming up, you should be able to get one for real cheap. I got mine last year at Target for $20.
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#3 Chris Schlaghecke

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 03:10 AM

Hello,
Has anyone ever used incense smoke to create atmosphere in a scene through which shafts of light can be seen? I know that most people use a fog machine, but I have been recently advised to try out incense..has anyone tried this principle before?

Never heard of anyone trying the incense thing, so I cant say. I have always used oil based hazers.
Perhaps try renting a Hazer for a day and try that. Something like a DF-50 or a Swefog. They are an oil cracker and give you more of an atmospheric look than a smoke machine.
Cheers
Chris
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#4 Ashley Barron

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 03:27 AM

Would dust work? Like using chalk dust or something?
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#5 Chris Schlaghecke

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 05:26 AM

Would dust work? Like using chalk dust or something?

Possibly, but its a bit hard to control, and your sound recordist is going to be quite annoyed at everyone sneezing and coughing....
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#6 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 05:33 AM

Anything that puts particles that catch light in the air will work, its really a question of how well/ how safe/ how much trouble it is.

I HATE using smoke machines for shafts of light, I always use a haze machine (DF50) for the job, the results are much better.
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#7 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 11:03 AM

I have used bee smokers for small areas and/or light smoking enough to see shafts of light.
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#8 Hal Smith

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 11:28 AM

There are some people with pretty severe allergic reactions to incense.
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#9 Douglas Sunlin

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 11:57 AM

I have used bee smokers for small areas and/or light smoking enough to see shafts of light.

In the extra segments that came with the Letters from Iwojima DVD, an assistant is clearly seen using a bee smoker.
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#10 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 03:02 PM

I HATE using smoke machines for shafts of light, I always use a haze machine (DF50) for the job, the results are much better.


I've never used one myself, but I hope to sometime soon. Just the stats on the smoke's hangtime makes me wanna give it a shot. With the store bought heated glycol foggers, the smoke dissipates rather quickly. It does its job on a limited budget though.
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#11 Chris Schlaghecke

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 05:30 PM

I've never used one myself, but I hope to sometime soon. Just the stats on the smoke's hangtime makes me wanna give it a shot. With the store bought heated glycol foggers, the smoke dissipates rather quickly. It does its job on a limited budget though.

Oil Based hazers such as the DF-50 will always provide a longer hang time than smokers, but be warned, in very large extended doses you can end up with residue on equipment, not very cool for lenses. I have seen equipment come in from niteclubs and the like where some internals were caked withoily residue. Once again that is in a large volume of constant exposure.

Chris
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#12 JD Hartman

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 01:13 PM

Would dust work? Like using chalk dust or something?


If you didn't care about your lungs or those of your cast and crew, you could also use DE, Diatomaceous earth or Fullers earth. Any fine particles suspended in the air are going to find their way into the lungs. That can be the start of any number or respritory diseases like: Black Lung, Red lung, silicosis, etc.

I have used bee smokers for small areas and/or light smoking enough to see shafts of light.


If I recall correctly bee smokers aren't permitted on set in the U.S.A. It would be best, even with a limited budget to do things safely and correctly. Even using a hazer or fogger, it's common courtesy to provide dust masks for the crew.
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#13 David Eger

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 02:16 PM

Ive used fog machines and oil based ones and the oil ones are pretty good you can DIY it if you search the net.. I think they run on mineral oil... I would not use Incense or real smoke or chalk or whatever all the dust is not cool... and nothing is worth a health risk..
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#14 Michael Nash

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 08:06 PM

Foggers have been discussed here many, many times, so check the archives.

Don't use real smoke or any kind of dust in an indoor set. Having cast and crew breath something like chalk dust would be downright irresponsible.

Party foggers like the one Jonathan mentioned are generally the cheapest and easiest (without health risks) for a no-budget production. The fog is designed to be billowy and not a haze, so you have to let is dissipate to the right density and then shoot. You have to overdo the amount at first, so that it takes longer to dissipate once it's the right level. And then you have to keep re-fogging between setups.

A proper hazer like a DF-50 is really the best tool. They work great.
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#15 robert duke

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 08:38 PM

The base substance in fog fluid in most cases, (martin, rosco, and others) is glycerine. It is commonly used for cough medicines and other liquid medicines as well. there have been several studies about exposure of fog fluid. Briefly SAG and Actors Equity had a Hazard pay clause in regards to fog. I Believe it has been proven wrong and lifted.

you can find the Material safety data sheet at the manufacturer's websites or by searching the web.

MDG makes a really nice fogger, as does LeMaitre and Martin. You can typically rent these really cheap, or you can BUY a CHEAP one at Walgreens and Kmart for like $20 ( the rental is about the same). expect to get one or two uses out of it.

Atmospheric effects are extremely difficult to deal with and control. A/c, drafts, open doors, fans, people moving effect these as does temperature and humidity levels. the more humid the longer the hang time. If you mist the ground with water, the fog will hang longer. However this becomes dangerous around electrics.

Assign ONE and only one person to operate and take care of the fog levels. It will take a while to get the fog right. Plan for things to take longer.
also some fire alarms are sensitive to particulate in the atmosphere. Esp. colleges and offices. they can go off from the fog. you might have need of a fire marshal and building manager to turn off the alarm.\
\\

Fog is fun, play around while you have it. It sometimes helps to have plate shots of fog shot infront of a black background. fog should be side lit for translucency, front lit for opacity. Also some fog can effect color temperature or be very revealing of a lamps color. test with the specific machine and fog.
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#16 Kevin Riley

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 11:13 PM

Fog is fun, play around while you have it. It sometimes helps to have plate shots of fog shot infront of a black background. fog should be side lit for translucency, front lit for opacity. Also some fog can effect color temperature or be very revealing of a lamps color. test with the specific machine and fog.
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Defined Shafts of light can hard to achieve when using HMI or Tungsten units direct. Pointing those same light sources at mirrors and using the reflected beam gives a much harder edge to the Shaft of light. Use a larger mirror than you need and mask off the desired area of reflection with cinefoil directly on to the mirror surface. I have 4 foot and 2 foot mirrors in yokes designed to go straight into lighting stands or grid clamps. Another favourite tool is a "Medusa Mirror" which is a large yoke with 6 small mirrors mounted on there own little ball joint mounts. By pointing one lamp unit straight up into this rig you get 6 shafts that can be splayed out in any pattern to produce "fingers of light".
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#17 Tom Banks

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 01:24 AM

Fog is fun, play around while you have it. It sometimes helps to have plate shots of fog shot infront of a black background. fog should be side lit for translucency, front lit for opacity. Also some fog can effect color temperature or be very revealing of a lamps color. test with the specific machine and fog.
Defined Shafts of light can hard to achieve when using HMI or Tungsten units direct. Pointing those same light sources at mirrors and using the reflected beam gives a much harder edge to the Shaft of light. Use a larger mirror than you need and mask off the desired area of reflection with cinefoil directly on to the mirror surface. I have 4 foot and 2 foot mirrors in yokes designed to go straight into lighting stands or grid clamps. Another favourite tool is a "Medusa Mirror" which is a large yoke with 6 small mirrors mounted on there own little ball joint mounts. By pointing one lamp unit straight up into this rig you get 6 shafts that can be splayed out in any pattern to produce "fingers of light".


Kevin,
is the Medusa Mirror something you custom made? Or is it a specialty item that some G&E rental houses have? I'm also curious as to if rental houses stock mirrors on their trucks or again if that item needs special requests.
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#18 Kevin Riley

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 07:38 PM

Kevin,
is the Medusa Mirror something you custom made? Or is it a specialty item that some G&E rental houses have? I'm also curious as to if rental houses stock mirrors on their trucks or again if that item needs special requests.


My rental company is in New Zealand and we have made them up for both rental's and sales locally. You can see a picture of one here http://homepage.mac....hotoAlbum8.html
The real trick with them is that the top row of mirrors are slightly proud of the bottom row so a light source will hit all of them without shading the top row. We stock mirrors of all sizes in yokes down here in NZ and I'm sure thats true in the US.they may not know it by the name "Medusa" as I'm pretty sure that phrase was used by a local DOP shooting Hercules and Xena for the first time. If anyone tries to make one be aware of the weight involved and make sure the mirrors are glued to a backing as well as being held in place by a frame. Therefore if the mirror breaks then individual shards cannot fall down.
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#19 Kevin Riley

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 08:03 PM

You can see a picture of one here http://homepage.mac....hotoAlbum8.html

Sorry it should be here: http://homepage.mac....hotoAlbum8.htmlMedusa
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