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Recreating Lighting effect of sparks from electrical equipment


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#1 Matthew Wilson

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 11:40 AM

I'm gaffering a 2nd unit for a feature and one of the scenes we're shooting is of a fire in which the practical lamps above the set begin to malfunction and shower sparks. I'm hoping that the actual sparks provided by special defects will give out enough light but have been asked to prepare an alternative to enhance these sparks.
Wondering if anyone had any bright ideas/tried and tested methods...have a few ideas myself but as usual time/money means there isnt really much opportunity to test.
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#2 K Borowski

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 11:56 AM

This is definitely not the politically correct thing to say, but, ever try the real thing? The brighter the bulb, the better the sparkle shower! Also, a penny in an electrical outlet also makes for a nice sparkle shower, or directly connecting a positive and negative electrical wire across a gigantic voltage gap.

I'm sure there are formulae out there that can relate voltage and wattage to the luminous intensity of the resulting sparks.

On a more serious note, with added effects you could almost-certainly measure these with a light meter set to still photo flash (aptly labeled with a lightning bolt). Of course, if this is a single-use only type of effect, involving pyrotechnics, you'll have to sacrifice some to do the test.

As an aside, my favorite "exploding lightbulb" effect shot of all time has to be the home-run shot at the end of "The Natural". Does anyone know how this was accomplished?
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