Interesting Question

Kim Welch

Senior Member
Staff member
One of our members has a question in the networking section. His page is http://networking.studentfilmmakers.com/neopixel/

Here is his question, "Any suggestions about shooting a rock band with a huge fire behind them when there're playing?!!!!"

I sent you an email but thought i would post it here. It is an interesting question. Sounds like he might need the fire marshal in on this one.
 

Laurent

New member
Thanks Kim!
Hi David,

Yes I'll have to shoot in few days a music video for a rock band in south of France; the thing is I never experienced shooting with fire!
The band will be playing and a hut will be on fire just behind them. Have you got any advices regarding shooting in that conditions?

Thanks a lot for your help!

Laurent
 
The only thing about fire is that it gets bright, so the more overexposed it gets, the less color you will see in the flames (as opposed to the color of the light it shines on the subjects, which is less bright than the flames themselves.) Think of the flames as the light bulb inside a lamp.

Therefore the more you stop down and underexpose the fire, the more color you will see in the flames, but also, the less exposure you will get on anything the fire is lighting, just as when you stop down to see the filament inside a light bulb.

There's no right or wrong stop to shoot at. The general approach is to simply light the scene to the highest light level you can practically achieve in order to stop down the lens and hold more color in the fire. For the exploding building in "Terminator 2" for example, they lit the night exterior up to f/5.6 on 500 ASA film so that the explosion would not get too overexposed. Or think of the burning wall collapsing in the Atlanta scene in "Gone with the Wind" -- it is very red because the 3-strip Technicolor process was very slow back then (and daylight-balanced). Imagine shooting a fire on 10 ASA film at f/2.8. for example, to get an idea of how much exposure a fire would get back then. "Backdraft" shot most of its fire scenes on 250 ASA daylight film and used daylight carbon arcs to get the shooting stop higher so that the flames would expose more like a deep orange rather than an overexposed white.

If you are shooting video, a camera with better dynamic range shooting in Log or RAW mode will hold super-bright details better than a standard Rec.709 broadcast camera would.
 
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garychencool

New member
I'm going to assume that you will film this at night.

Don't overexpose and plan the shots wisely, you can only blast that fire so many times. I'd probably shoot several MCU or CU of the band members while the fire blast happens, followed by a 150 or so degree fast pan from left (or right) to right (or left) where the blast of fire happens in the middle of the shot.
 

Laurent

New member
Hi David and Gary!

I had the opportunity yesterday to test what you said to me into a small festival in a village. The aim of this festival was to show how life was in the XX century. So imagine the all town desguise with old clothes, old stores, old cars etc...
So I went there with a HDSLR (which I will probably use to shot my music video), and one of the act of the festival was to set on fire a fake small house and then, an old firemen's truck come to "stop the disaster".
I shot this sequence at different stops and with different exposures too; you were right that's amazing the differences we can find! overexposed the flames lost of their colors but on the other hand, if I go too underexposed they looks fake to me; too much orange. My cousin was with me and I ask him to do the same experience with his reflex camera; same result of course.
So I think I just have to find the right balance between my stops and the exposure; but lucky me this will be shot during daylight!
The MCU idea of Gary is great, I thought about it too and I think I'll go with it.

Well, thank you a lot to both of you for your help and support; it mean a lot to me. Be sure I'll send you a link of the video when I'll be done with it!

All the best to both of you and I hope we'll talk again soon.

Take care

Laurent
 

Kim Welch

Senior Member
Staff member
I look forward to seeing your video

I look forward to seeing your video

I am looking forward to seeing your video of the fire. and, looking forward to seeing all of the work of the people posting here. I invite you to our next workshop this weekend. and, please post visuals when you can!
 

Laurent

New member
Thanks Kim for the invitation! You can count on me for sharing this video and experience on the SF site ;)
 

Laurent

New member
:rolleyes: it looks like the video will be shot this winter due to a fight into the band... Thanks anyone I won't forget to post this video if I ever shot it..!
 
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