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Lighing my smoke doesn't work...

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#1 Alessandro Vasapolli

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 06:21 AM

Hello,

 

I am very sorry for the banal question that I have but this problem is driving me crazy...

 

I am trying to use some smoke and I have read in many places and books that you simply have to fill the room with smoke (some even refers to room where you can barely see with your naked eye), wait for the smoke to stop flying around and then to start shooting...

 

When I try to do this "effect"I always end up with a room that turns out to be completely white when lit but I use very little smoke and I try to even it out as much as I can (I am working in a small environment).

It seems like that the smoke is always either too strong or not strong enough and it doesn't last long enought in the "good phase" when you can shoot.

Moreover I always have some swirls of smoke (visible in the camera) as if it doesn't mix well with air...

 

I am using a normal smoke machine and on the bottle of liquid there is a "B" printed as is it is a type of liquid (I don't know if that might help).

 

Thank you very much for your help and sorry for the, I guess, very banal question.

 

My best,


Ale

 

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#2 Leonardo Brocato

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 07:11 AM

Smoke machine from discos are hard smoke..... it's very blinding and fast do go away you need something more specific like Nebula, Cirrus or the F100 haze, you put a lot of smoke than wait for the right combination maybe ventiling with some flags.....
If you already do this send me a private mail in italiano così posso spiegarti più facilmente come uso la macchina del fumo senza annoiare i nostri colleghi esteri.
Ciao
 

Leonardo Brocato
Gaffer Roma Italy


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#3 Oliver Hadlow Martin

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 10:50 AM

Use a haze machine not a smoke machine. Smoke is smoke (will look like a fire on camera if there is a lot of it). Haze will give you the shafts of light you are after.


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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 11:04 AM

Smoke can work too but it takes longer to break it up and make it into an even haze, and the space has to be draft free or else the smoke will keep moving.  It's also easier to get the haze level right with a hazemaker but I've done it with smoke machines like Rosco foggers and Mole Foggers, just takes more work and running around with flags to break up the smoke and get it to fill the space evenly.

 

Once it is even, how visible it is depends on how backlit the smoke is.  So a very light amount may look almost like there is no smoke until a backlight is turned on.


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#5 Christopher M Schmidt

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 11:10 AM

I think its likely you are over lighting the space or just having trouble dialing in the subtly of the haze effect. I have done atmospheric smoke with cheap "party store" style foggers for interiors with fine results nothing special about the liquid or anything. but it does take some finesse in running around with a flag and trying to get an even spread.

 

 

I would just note that if the light isn't looking right without the haze its not going to look too much better with it unless you are doing a strong effect like stylized  heavy backlit thing. Haze spreads light so it is going to flatten the scene overall always...David mentions the backlight but even frontally lit its still going to spread the light. 


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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 11:13 AM

Smoke tends to make every off-camera light source more obvious, and every light coming from a back or kick angle can create a wash, so lighting for smoke requires simpler, stronger lighting designs, you can't just use dozens of lights everywhere for a 3-point lighting approach or else the image will just get washed out.


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#7 Christopher M Schmidt

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 11:25 AM

Yea exactly... the fact that "smoke tends to make every off-camera light source more obvious" is very important to know. 


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#8 jeff woods

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 12:35 PM

It also helps if your background is dark; white on white doesn't read too well.

 

-j


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#9 Alessandro Vasapolli

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 03:16 PM

Thank you very much for all your answers.

 

My my experiment I have tried various solutions:

- Some 1K PARs to backlight the smoke

- A big coffin (3mtx3mt)

- some other various lights from the front and from the back.

The backgrounds were always pretty dark.

 

I think my problem lies in the way the smoke is spread. I think that, from a lighting point of view, I have done everything as it was supposed to.

The thing that probably drove me off the right way was that I have read in various books that to do the right effect one should completely fill the room with smoke and wait for it to stop moving around. In this way I was led to use probably too much smoke.

 

I'll make some other tests and I'll let you know.

 

Many thanks!


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