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Fogging up a forest?


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#1 Alexander Disenhof

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 02:25 PM

Hi everyone,

I've been searching up and down the forum but can't seem to find any straight answers about how to best fog a large outdoors area like a forest. My director is trying to achieve the effect they have in the beginning of the movie Gladiator (the big first battle scene in the woods of Germania)

Obviously I know that it will be a large undertaking, but I'm trying to figure out what machine could pump out enough fog to spread over a large area and hang there for enough time to shoot!

Thanks,
Alex

www.alexdisenhof.com
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#2 Marc Roessler

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 03:01 PM

Hi Alex,

I've seen pulse jet based foggers being used... those make quite some noise but generate really massive amounts of smoke. Those fog thermally. The principle is also used for military foggers.

Here you can see (and hear...) a DIY pulse jet fogger in action.. using diesel oil as a fogging fluid - I don't recommend this!!

the commercial ones are more efficient and a bit more civilized... they also use healthier fogging liquids!


You probably will have to wait until the wind subsides, though... no worth fighting it.

If I remember right Christopher Nolan used a portable pulse jet fogger for the fog scenes in "Insomnia". I remcommend watching the Making Of on DVD, I think they talked about the problems of fogging the woods.

Greetings,
Marc

Edited by Marc Roessler, 22 April 2010 - 03:05 PM.

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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 04:35 PM

Two common methods -- a couple of guys with these LOUD portable foggers running around before a take:
http://www.nixalite.com/Igebatf35.aspx

And what is called "The Tube of Death" -- a long plastic tube with holes poked into it hooked up to a fogger, which is quiet:
http://www.jmfx.net/products/796
You can run the tube through the woods and hide it with some greenery, etc.
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#4 Paul Bruening

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 07:06 PM

Will smoke do? Do you need a lot for cheap?
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#5 Andrew Rawson

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 10:26 AM

I agree with David, the "Tube of Death" is what I usually use and you can smoke up a very large area with it. One method I particularly like when using the "Tube" is mixing traditional fog and dry ice that way you get a nice layer that stays close to the ground as well as the fog which dissipates into the atmosphere.
Andy
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#6 Alexander Disenhof

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 02:21 PM

Thanks everyone! David, I will definitely look into the "Tube of Death" option, that seems to be the most feasible at this point.

Paul, I think smoke would actually be an interesting option, for story reasons as well as practical (money saving) reasons. Do you have any tips on how to safely create large amounts of smoke in a wooded area?
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#7 Paul Bruening

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 04:10 PM

Smoke pots. The cheapest and simplest way is to use 55 gallon, steel drums. I get them up in Memphis for $6.00 each at a container recycle place. That's for larger areas. The design can be simple using steel lid/band clamp fasteners. You can punch some vent holes in the side (cutting torch is way faster) and some holes in the lid (three times more than in the sides). Keep the holes smaller than 1/2 inch to prevent sparks from wafting out. 1/4 inch would be even better. The best smolder material in these parts is pine needles. They smolder and smoke like all get out. I don't know what would be best in your parts. You set them up wind and at sensible intervals and you can smoke up a big battle field setting. Pine needles will smolder for a couple hours to half of a day long. The down side is that they take either water or time to put them out. Plus, you can't move them until they cool off. When the production's done with them, take them out to a scrap yard and wave bye-bye to them. If you just have to and don't mind that smokey smell, you can store them somewhere for future use. I mean like on someone's land. Don't put them in a storage building because the acrid, smokey smell can get into everything. They can rust for years in a field before becoming dubious for use. I've heard of people putting squirrel cage blowers on them to get them to really pour out some serious smoke. The designs you come up with can include adjustable vent holes as well. I don't know how big you are on DIY. Maybe some of your handier crew has nothing better to do on some days. Sounds like a job for the grip crew on the grip-less days.

I'd make up at least one and see how it behaves with your smolder material. Ask a local bee keeper what's the best smoke pot material in large quantities in your parts. You want something you can rake up easy and pile into construction sized garbage bags.

Then again, if the budget can afford it, the Tube does sound pretty convenient.

EDIT: You don't have to clamp the lids during use. They're heavy enough to stay on. With utility leather gloves the crews can pop off the lid and add pine needles or whatever you're using.

DOUBLE EDIT: I just took notice that you are in California. I'm guessing that your local fire people won't green light smoke pots.
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#8 Alexander Disenhof

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Posted 13 May 2010 - 01:08 AM

Hey everyone! Thanks for the responses (and sorry for the delay in my own response!) I think we will go with the Tube of Death - it seems like the best option, as it leaves the least variables, at least to my mind!

Thanks again,
Alex
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#9 jasonknightvfx

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 03:19 PM

Hi everyone,

I've been searching up and down the forum but can't seem to find any straight answers about how to best fog a large outdoors area like a forest. My director is trying to achieve the effect they have in the beginning of the movie Gladiator (the big first battle scene in the woods of Germania)

Obviously I know that it will be a large undertaking, but I'm trying to figure out what machine could pump out enough fog to spread over a large area and hang there for enough time to shoot!

Thanks,
Alex

www.alexdisenhof.com


A post/visual effects avenue would be to shoot your actors on greenscreen and create the fog digitally. If your filming medium is not prone to good keying of greenscreen material you could rotoscope your actors to layer the fog behind them.

This VFX method was done very sucessfully in 'The Others' with Nicole Kidman (see the special features on the DVD.
jasonknightvfx.com
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#10 Zander Kroon

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 10:34 PM

Two common methods -- a couple of guys with these LOUD portable foggers running around before a take:
http://www.nixalite.com/Igebatf35.aspx

And what is called "The Tube of Death" -- a long plastic tube with holes poked into it hooked up to a fogger, which is quiet:
http://www.jmfx.net/products/796
You can run the tube through the woods and hide it with some greenery, etc.

Bumping this thread back to life.

Does anyone know if there is a place in or near Chicago where I can rent The Tube of Death or a similar device?
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Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

Opal

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

rebotnix Technologies

Ritter Battery

CineTape

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Rig Wheels Passport

The Slider

Paralinx LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Wooden Camera

Visual Products

Technodolly

Tai Audio

Abel Cine

Glidecam