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On lens Smoque filter vs Post effect?


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#1 Adam Paul

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 05:13 AM

I have a shoot where I'm thinking about using a Tiffen Smoque filter. I want the smoqued set look but we don't have the resources to do it for real, apart from amateur fog machines which are hard to control. Also, fog on set is not a very pleasing of healthy thing. But I'm wondering if I should really use an on lens filter or if I can get the same effect in post? I've never tried to get this effect in post so I don't know if it's possible to do it convicely or as convincing as the glass Tiffen Smoque.

 

But the good thing about doing it in post is that I can control how much softnening of the image occurs etc. If I could get the same look and the post effect wouldn't look more fake, is there ar reason to go for the glass filter?

 

Thanks!


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#2 Adam Paul

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 05:43 AM

And by the way, do I have to have a light source in frame in every shot to get the smoke effect from the Smoque filter?


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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 11:10 AM

Yes, one problem with the Smoque filter is that it needs to interact with bright objects in the frame, and it doesn't create shafts of light, just a hazy glow around lights.  But I think it works better than doing a gaussian blur of the highlights in post and layering that back over the image in terms of feeling like smoke in the air.  But why not do both, shoot with the Smoque filter and then try some post work to enhance the effect?


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#4 Adam Paul

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 11:22 AM

Thanks David. Yes, doing both is of course an option if I go with the glass filter. I was more thinking in terms of being able to go back or change the mid about the smoked look. With the glass filter once is in the can there's no way back. I can do some tests but will not be able to extensively test it. I'm also sure that it wont be possible to have a light source in frame in all shots. Close ups of the actors for example will definitely not have any fixtures in frame. Unless the highlight of a kicker is already enough? Or a strong key? Because I don't how if is possible to have a light in every frame. I will have Smoque 1 and 2.


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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 12:52 PM

The Smoque #1 is pretty subtle, I don't think you'd regret using it.  Even if there isn't a bright source in the frame, it does act like a bit of an UltraCon.

 

The only problem is how the effect can come and go as someone crosses in front of some daytime windows, blocking the light momentarily.  But otherwise, it's a nice effect.

 

Real smoke is dimensional and obviously the best way to go if you want that look.  I use Smoque filters in between smoked scenes so that there is some continuity of look, or when I can't smoke a space, or when shooting an insert for a smoked scene.


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#6 Adam Paul

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 03:02 PM

The windows are pretty big as the place is a warehouse. So I don't antecipate anybody will be fully blocking a window and I can try blocking in a way that it doesn't happen. Is the Smoque 2 enough to produce the effect in brighter areas such as light hitting objects, the rim of a kicker on an actor etc, or does it absolutely need the light source itself, like a lamp to be seen in frame? Thanks.


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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 08:51 PM

If the windows are just barely out of frame, they will still glow into the frame with the Smoque unless you over-matte the matte box.  If there is no source in the frame, you just get a light haze over the image.


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#8 Adam Paul

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 10:09 PM

Ok I understand. But the same is kind of true if you trully smoke the set. The only difference would be smoke shafts, or? Thanks.


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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 01:18 AM

Real smoke is dimensional so if you are close to the subject on a wider-angle lens then most of the haze is behind them rather than between the camera and the subject.  You can have a shot where someone in the foreground is high contrast with black shadows due to the lighting and yet the background is washed out and low contrast in a room with real smoke.

 

Look at these shots from "The Fugitive":

 

fugitive2.jpg

 

fugitive3.jpg

 

fugitive4.jpg


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#10 Adam Paul

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 06:39 AM

I understand what you mean. Although I think the reason you see the smoque at all in those shots is because the light source is visible, or the light shafts.

 

Maybe I could manage to smoke the sets with consumer fog machines. Problem with fog machines is that they are not as controllable as real cinema grade smoke machines. They just blob up instead of evenely spread and it's harder to get good covererage. The warehouse is also quite big. But maybe if I place them far in the background they would hang in the air enough to give some dimension to the background and the Smoque filter would do the rest. Are there any specific tips for the use of consumer fog machines? The budget wont allow for the real thing. Thanks again David.


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#11 Adam Paul

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 06:54 AM

Thinking a little longer, like you said, the closer the subject is to the lens the less you see the smoque. But you would still see it in the background. Even if just haze in case light sources are not visible. But the subject would look cleaner. I guess I understand what you said a little better now. It makes total sense of course. I guess that's the biggest give away with the filter.


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