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Damien Kazan

Simulating fire lighting

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Hello everyone!

 

I'm back on this Forum with another question! Hopefully some of you will be able to help me out, it'll possibly seem like a very simple thing to do but I have no idea how to!

 

I'm about to shoot a trailer next month and I got shots that takes place at night, a character is standing a few feet away from a long fire line, and I'd like the entire scene to be lit by the fire light, the thing is, I doubt the actual fire will be enough to lit the character as much as I'd like to, he'll be a bit too far from the fire. Any idea of how I could simulate the light of flames?

 

Thanks a lot in advance guys! This would save my a** !

 

A very nice day to all of you day! :)

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A suitable coloured filter on the light plus wiggling fingers or similar random strands waving in the beam for the flickering effect works quite well.

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At its simplest, you're talking about an orange light with some random flicker. In film school, to simulate a flickering torch, I used a 2K zip with Full CTO on it and then waved my fingers and hands around the light in a random pattern to get a flicker effect of dancing flames.

 

A bigger fire that is spread over a greater distance would flicker less strongly, less highs and lows -- you could create an soft light that is gelled orange and then have someone take a small flags and wave it around between the diffusion frame and the source to get a flicker.

 

Or use a couple of tungsten lights gelled orange through a thin diffusion frame and have some fading up & down on a dimmer randomly. I sometimes use three lights through a diffusion frame and have one steady and two dimming up and down randomly on separate dimmers or flicker boxes (Magic Gadgets). But the truth is that often just waving your hands and arms randomly in front of the soft light produces a convincing effect as long as it doesn't distract your actors.

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If you're renting lighting gear, just ask for a "flicker box." Or you can flicker the light manually, and make sure you've got some CTO since firelight is very warm.

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If you're up for a quick build, you can put fluorescent tube starters in series with some mains lightbulbs. I did this with 50W GU10 bulbs and conventional fluorescent starters.

 

Add a triac dimmer for some degree of control over (simultaneously) brightness and flicker rate. Add one bulb without the fluorescent starter, otherwise the dimmer will misbehave on such a randomly varying load.

 

This involves mains wiring. Obviously, be suitably careful and ensure you know what you're doing, or terrible things may happen to parts of your body that you're quite keen on keeping intact.

 

P

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If you are really new to this, you may forget the importance of the direction of the light and where it's coming from. Firelight is often coming from the ground. So you want to make sure you have grip gear to properly and safely rig that light or bounce card etc. on or near the ground. A pidgeon plate bolted to a pancake is a good method. You can also rig right to a duckbill clamp and bag that although I think it's better to use a pidgeon plate.

 

Given the distance you mentioned, the light will seem less low the further away the subject gets so you may be okay in this instance with a coleman stand but it will be below the eyeline in most cases. I have no idea if your fire is on a distant hill. In which case key it at traditional height. Just keep that direction of the fire and where it is in relation to the subject in mind.

 

If the film terms (pidgeon plate, etc.) don't make sense google any of these terms and you'll get images of what I'm talking about.

Edited by Michael LaVoie

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If you are going to use a flicker box, it helps to get two or three and use multiple lights blended together -- often if you just put one light on a flicker box, you sometimes don't get enough randomness and it feels like disco lighting in a club pulsing in rhythm.

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Thanks a lot for all your answers guys! They're really helpful! I really appeciate! I'll definitely use orange gel and as for the flickers I'll be going to the rental store wednesday to try out their stuff, so I'll ask if they got a flicker box, and I'll try waving stuff in front of the lights see the results, I might also try to play with led panels! I do have a bunch of props etc to build for that trailer so I rather avoid any extra build

 

It was way more simple that I thought haha!

 

Thanks again to all of you!

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I think David is right one the money suggesting several flicker boxes for the variety one gets from a fire. But Magic Gadget makes a terrific device called a Shadowmaker. It has three 20 amp circuits (provided you supply it with 3-20 amp circuit power supply). It has quite a few preprogramed effects depending on the position of the 4 programming switches. Its a great tool for small films that don't have a dimmer board and a programmer. It also works for TV and club/music flicker effects.

 

Best

 

Tim

 

PS make sure you plug in the first circuit or it won't work at all.

 

Oooops. I didn't see the previous post before I posted ....

 

 

At its simplest, you're talking about an orange light with some random flicker. In film school, to simulate a flickering torch, I used a 2K zip with Full CTO on it and then waved my fingers and hands around the light in a random pattern to get a flicker effect of dancing flames.

 

A bigger fire that is spread over a greater distance would flicker less strongly, less highs and lows -- you could create an soft light that is gelled orange and then have someone take a small flags and wave it around between the diffusion frame and the source to get a flicker.

 

Or use a couple of tungsten lights gelled orange through a thin diffusion frame and have some fading up & down on a dimmer randomly. I sometimes use three lights through a diffusion frame and have one steady and two dimming up and down randomly on separate dimmers or flicker boxes (Magic Gadgets). But the truth is that often just waving your hands and arms randomly in front of the soft light produces a convincing effect as long as it doesn't distract your actors.

Edited by timHealy

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