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fire flickering lighting effect

F Bulgarelli

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I'm looking for suggestions on how to create a lighting effect, a fire flickering effect on someone face, it could be over stylized, we dont need to see actual flames, the idea is a firefighter in front of menacing flames

I'm gonna experiment with various gels like ambers, yellow and reds crumbled together and using a light such as a mini mole shooting thru

Any ideas or suggestion are greatly accepted


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I've used covered wagon type lights (6 60W Tungsten Bulbs aligned in strip covered in 250 diffusion) Half of the bulbs running on separate dimmers.


Dimming them separately will give you alternating temperatures, sometimes I like to put 1/4 CTO on half the wagon to warm it up and create more colour contrast.


Another technique would be to bounce a few 300's off some poly and run each lamp on separate dimmers/put differing degrees of CTO on each lamp. The POLY will naturally blend the lamps together for a soft alternating source.

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Depending on desired effect and area of coverage, I've used and seen used a few methods...


-Bat strips or bat boxes with chicken wire bent around the top in a square shape, with diffusion of choice on top of the chicken wire. Wire for 3 different lines- one constant, two on dimmers. Alternate the bulb sizes within the channels, and place various degrees of cto, cts, red, or party oranges over different parts of the light. The effect is a very real simulation of firelight with wide color and intensity changes. Have the dimmer op randomize the flicker and do an occasional "bump" to create a hotter flare up. This works really well as a campfire souce, and 3-4 more would sell a big fire on a face. Also consider waving a small cutter in front of the light at random.


-For really big coverage, 1-2 mini brutes with the switches gutted and each lamp wired into three dimmer channels. Shoot through 4x or larger diff or bounce. Have the grips make a few frames with 2" vertical strips of varying degrees of cto, cts, red, diffusion, and blackwrap- then have them wag the frames side to side in front of the lights but behind the diffusion. If in a close up, use it in front of the diffusion.


-Literally a pile-o-china balls. Smaller than 24", each one on different dimmer line. It's a really ugly rig but it can work in a pinch and looks pretty good.



Whatever the method, make sure you have a constant-on source in addition to the flicker. It can be really low level to accentuate the dips in light, or higher for a rolling flame, but it really helps the effect.


I've also seen some really crazy dimmer rigs that use mercury switches, but that's a whole other topic...

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