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Haze it

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Todd Terry
Haze it
on Oct 31, 2011 at 3:38:01 pm

I'll ask this in both lighting and cinematography, as it applies to both...

So... I went in to the studio this weekend to dig out our rarely-used smoke/fog machine, for some Halloween shenanigans planned at my house tonight... when I finally found the fog machine, it was stored right next to two Chauvet haze machines that I had managed to completely forget that we even owned.

That lead me to question, "Hmmm... why don't we ever use these anymore?"

Years ago long before I was a wanna-be movie director I was a wanna-be actor. One of the gigs I regularly did was on a NBC show in the early 90s called "I'll Fly Away." I didn't know much about lighting or cinematography way back then, but it was all still fascinating to watch. Anywho, the star of the show was Sam Waterston as a southern district attorney. Anytime we would shoot a scene in Sam's DA office, the crew would always haze the set like crazy... which gave a very beautiful "thickness" to the air, nicely caught the shafts of "sunlight" coming in through the windows, and just gave the images a very nice look. I think it also helped with the period look of the scenes, which were set in the late 1950s.

I had completely forgotten about that, until I saw the haze machines yesterday. I've been on hundreds of shoots since that series, but I don't think I've ever seen anyone haze a set since then.

It just got me wondering, "Does anyone ever do that anymore? Pros? Cons?"

It's certainly one of those techniques that had completely fallen out of my head, but I was thinking of picking it back up now and then... when appropriate.

Thoughts anyone?

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Bill Davis
Re: Haze it
on Oct 31, 2011 at 9:05:00 pm

I agree it's a lovely look.

I wonder what the chemistry of the "haze juice" might have been. Maybe somebody discovered it was made of asbestos or some petroleum distillate that subsequently went on the EPA "banned substances" list?

When I worked in nightclubs in my youth, we used to use "bubble machines" which I thought were totally cool - until I realized that I was the guy who had to scrape off tons of "dried bubble goo" regularly during maintenance. Needless to say we used them a lot less when we learned this reality.

Still. Haze+light is loverly!

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Jason Jenkins
Re: Haze it
on Nov 1, 2011 at 3:58:15 pm

How is a haze machine different from a fog machine?

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!


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Todd Terry
Re: Haze it
on Nov 1, 2011 at 4:27:32 pm

Well, actually I think they are pretty similar, at least in theory. Most use the same juice, they just differ a bit on how they output the "smoke."

The fog/smoke machine we have is typical... it has an outlet nozzle on the front, and when you trigger it the smoke shoots out pretty violently... could fill a room in a matter of seconds. Ours has a remote with "off," "continuous," and "momentary" positions. You can't really control the volume that comes out, just the duration. It's pretty much "oh" or "off." I'm sure there are better and higher-end models that offer more control, but ours doesn't.

On the other hand, our particular haze machine doesn't have any kind of nozzle, per say... it just has an adjustable-size square opening in the top. When you turn the machine on, the haze just sort of slowly wafts out... very gently so it doesn't disturb the air currents in the room like a fog machine does. The amount of stuff it puts into the air is of a much lesser degree as well, whereas a fog machine just billows the stuff out. You can use it to put a very thin uniform "glaze" of haze throughout the air.

Other than that, they are pretty similar. You could probably use a fog machine as a hazer, if you had good control over it and were very judicious about it, and had time for the fog to settle throughout the air and evenly disperse. Conversely though, you could not use a hazer as a fogger. They just don't put out enough volume, or with enough gusto.

I think with some of the really higher-end haze machines, it's actually just mostly water vapor they are putting out. The one we have though just uses regular Rosco fog fluid.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Dennis Wiener
Re: Haze it
on Nov 2, 2011 at 3:24:30 am

Different machines use different fluids. The show I currently work on uses LeMaitre fog machines, that can be used for either for or haze, that use a glycol and water based fluid, though different formulations are used for fog or haze. To keep the fog low it is cooled using liquid CO2. It's safer for the actors as there is no water left on the stage as with the old dry ice fog machines. For haze we use MDG machines which use mineral oil, much like the old Mole Richardson fog machines. The haze is there to accentuate the lighting, especially the moving lights. I remember doing shoots where smoke cookies were used, till it was found out how toxic they were.


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