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#1 Aage Hollander

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 06:51 AM

Hi,

I am shooting a drama serie in a kitchen.
It has to look very busy and chaotic. Therefore we see a lot of people cooking in the background.
The problem is to create smoke and steam without any sound.

Richt now we put in some smoke at the beginning of the shot, but it will not always last till the end. Also we use pans with boiling water for smoke.
It would be nice to see clouds of steam/smoke setting free in the background during the shot.

Any ideas or suggestions?
Of course we are on a lowbudget.

Aage

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#2 David Auner aac

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 07:02 AM

In the normal busy kitchen you should see steam only, unless something is very wrong! :D
Steam et al needs to be front lit to show up well on film or video, take that into consideration. Having any problems by using water? Maybe use a hazer to create some lingering haze? And the sound of boiling water should be a welcome addition to atmosphere, IMO.

Cheers, Dave
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#3 Aage Hollander

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 08:11 AM

Thanks for the advice on lightning the steam.
In our kitchen everything goes wrong :D , so we need a lot of smoke clouds.
But I do not like a haze atmosphere.
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#4 David Auner aac

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 08:13 AM

Oh, and please change your username to your first & last name as per forum rules.

Thanks, Dave
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#5 Frank Barrera

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 07:58 PM

Steam et al needs to be front lit to show up well on film or video

I've never had any success lighting steam or smoke from the front. The more you back light it the more you will see it.

f
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#6 David Auner aac

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 12:35 AM

I've never had any success lighting steam or smoke from the front. The more you back light it the more you will see it.


Hm, I've seen the advice to light smoke from the front a number of times in my books on lighting. E.g. John Alton talks about the difference between lighting rain and smoke IIRC. And the couple of times I used smoke on the set it worked quite well. But I never did try a comparison by lighting in from the front and then the back to see what the difference was. Anyone ever do that?

Regards, Dave
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#7 Aage Hollander

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 01:55 AM

Thanks,

I think smoke is always better lit from behind.
specialy when you have a hazy smoke.
Big smoke clouds like from a train you will always see, but even beter when lit from behind.

But my problem is not how to light it, but how to make it without any sound.

Thanks anyway,
Aage
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#8 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 02:03 AM

Sounds like a job for SFX! :)

If I had to do it and had some money and some time, I consider some kind of elaborate system of small piping that could feed steam into small holes in the bottoms or sides of the pans.

Otherwise, if you have someone to babysit the set dressing, maybe experiment with dry ice.

Of course, though, I'd shoot some tests with real water/steam first before going to great lengths to fake the real thing. :)
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#9 Frank Barrera

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 08:43 AM

Hm, I've seen the advice to light smoke from the front a number of times in my books on lighting. E.g. John Alton talks about the difference between lighting rain and smoke IIRC. And the couple of times I used smoke on the set it worked quite well. But I never did try a comparison by lighting in from the front and then the back to see what the difference was. Anyone ever do that?

Regards, Dave

I will re-read that section in "Painting With Light". If it's good enough for Alton then it's good enough for me. But logic would dictate that lighting smoke or steam from the front versus the back would have two entirely different effects. This calls for a test indeed.

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#10 David Auner aac

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 11:05 AM

I will re-read that section in "Painting With Light". If it's good enough for Alton then it's good enough for me. But logic would dictate that lighting smoke or steam from the front versus the back would have two entirely different effects. This calls for a test indeed.


Yep, it does indeed. I can't really remember where I got the bit about front lighting smoke. I seemed to remember it was painting with light but I can't find it in there...hm... I read so many books on lighting I can hardly tell which one tells you what!

Cheers, Dave
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#11 Alex Scroggins

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 11:30 PM

If I remember right, fog machines heat up a glycol based thing to make the thick fog/steam. Not sure if you could rig a pan to heat fog juice or not. But you could try. Should make a nice little effect.
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#12 Branko Pasic

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 05:26 PM

there is no smoke or rain in the picture if you are not using back light and try to find or make dark background. :ph34r:
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#13 Ira Ratner

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 06:13 PM

So Branko, you should always use backlighting against a dark background to capture rain and smoke? I don't know anything about this stuff.

This is an interesting thread!!!
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#14 Alex de Campi

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 09:23 AM

OK, this is easy to do in camera. And cheap!

First, go to your local plumber's supply store (or hardware store). Buy two things.

A set of matches that smoke - they are like normal kitchen matches but with fat heads. They smoke for about 10 seconds. (These are also really good for using for muzzle smoke on replica guns - just drop em down the barrel, roll camera, and then the actor can blow the smoke from the muzzle of the gun like in every old western evar)

The other are small pills, also used for detecting leaks in pipes. They smoke like a motherf*er for about 20 seconds and can totally fill a room with white smoke. You light them and step away. TEST THIS FIRST, as you may only want to use half a pill due to WOW SMOKY.

Voila! Total cost, less than $10. Make sure you have several lighters on the day, especially those extended fireplace lighters as the pills are kind of a b*tch to light and some poor runner is going to burn their fingers a lot otherwise.

Oh, and turn off any smoke detectors in your shooting location.

Also, smoke/fog continuity? It's about as much fun as candle continuity, eg a total nightmare. Really, have someone standing around making sure that you have a consistent level of smoke / fog throughout takes of contiguous shots, otherwise you will be an unhappy bunny in the edit.

Lastly, it is not good for camera team/actors to be standing around in this poop all day; you may want to warn your guys/gals and suggest they bring filter masks - be aware of anyone with asthma or allergies - and make sure everyone gets lots of breaks outdoors or in a clean, well-ventilated space (and have things to drink on hand, people get hella thirsty standing in a smoky room all day)

We used the matches in my "Jilted" video and the pills in the "Stucklike" video (both actually smoke a LOT more than shown, the takes I used were 3rd or 4th takes from a single match/pill) so I am speaking from direct experience on these items.
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#15 Branko Pasic

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Posted 23 August 2008 - 02:39 PM

So Branko, you should always use backlighting against a dark background to capture rain and smoke? I don't know anything about this stuff.

This is an interesting thread!!!

it is very simple, backlight is making a highlight on the, for example, rain drop. that highlight is the whitest part of the drop.try to imagine how the drop highlight looks in front of the much lighter background, you dont get the 3d space witch is needed for the picture, this kind of the revers tonal levels you can use for some dream scene, but if you are shooting reality try to look real.
so, my aswer is, you must control every part of your frame. it depends of the budget, so sometimes there is no money for the the light crew, but if you have good crew of enthusiasts, who are no matter what trying to get great picture, you should find the natural location where you can have sun in the backlight position(covered with silk frames for close-ups), and then cold the picture a little bit, make it a little bit darker and desaturated, and of course be able to control how light is the background that is very important for the final mood of the scene or the whole movie(seven-fincher-kondji, watch that movie).
smoke is very similar to rain it is transparent and behind is the background.

enjoy!
branko
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#16 Ramesh Jai

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 05:26 PM

I also use pellets of dry ice to get the steaming effect.
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#17 Daniel Sheehy

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 06:06 PM

..Steam et al needs to be front lit to show up well on film or video..

The whole point is to pass light through the steam / vapour / smoke... and keep it from washing all over elements behind.
It's easiest done using a back light.. given that you have less worry with where spill ends up, as it usually isn't visible to the camera. Front lighting it would be a whole lot trickier since you have to consider what the light passing through the steam etc will also hit.

Either way, the greater the contrast between the steam / smoke and whatever is behind it, the clearer the effect.
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#18 wolfgang haak

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 07:44 PM

Hi, interesting thread.

I'm not not gonna spoil the party, but if you choose to use some DIY fog, it's a good idea to read up about how they work and be on the cautious side using them.

The cheapest and most effective smogcomes from zinc-chloride based chemicals, and using them requires taking out an indemnity insurance that covers you for negligent homicide. :(

Most plumbing smoke is rated non-toxic, which relates to the typical concentration to which a worker may be exposed doing plumbing. That's no the same as "safe to inhale for hours" on set! The Smoke may be non-toxic, but the displacement of O2 in the breathing air is not!

Never mind, actors could scald themselves on water steam...
Have you considered taking apart cheap irons? Or even hiring steam machines? There are tons of them, ironing, steam cleaning...

regards,
Wolfgang
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