Portable Smoker/Fogger: Bee Smokers and Disco Foggers don't cut it at DVinfo.net

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Old July 18th, 2003, 11:26 PM   #1
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Portable Smoker/Fogger: Bee Smokers and Disco Foggers don't cut it

Anyone have suggestions for a portable smoker/fogger?

The "disco" foggers are generally too expensive, but some can be had for around $300. Problem is, they're bulky and require a nearby power plug.

Bee smokers are portable, but don't really produce much smoke. They'd be okay indoors, but I'm looking for some way to smoke/fog outdoors, too.

For economic reasons, I'll probably go the "bee smoker" route unless someone has a better idea. I'd be willing to spend up to $1,000 if there is a good portable smoker/fogger out there.

I've noticed that lots of Ridley Scott films have white smoke billowing in the background... wonder how he does it?
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Old July 19th, 2003, 02:34 PM   #2
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Sparklers! I couldn't help but think during 4th of July about just how effective 3 kids with sparklers were smoking out the whole park, I even mentioned to my wife about it being a great "smoke machine" for film. They had 2 different types one smoked like crazy & the other hardly smoked at all, so you'd have to try out different ones. I've got a bee smoker (for bees) & these sparklers really put them to shame. The ones that really smoked the most were the ones encased in paper. Chris
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Old July 19th, 2003, 05:11 PM   #3
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I haven't seen (or looked for) these in years, but they used to make "smoke bombs" that were used to test air conditioning systems. Check with an HVAC supplier to see if such a thing still exists. They put out a large quantity of smoke and were inexpensive.
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Old July 19th, 2003, 05:58 PM   #4
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I've rented smokers from Production houses to use outdoors. They were much like the disco oil based versions, but you can hand carry them. They do require ac power, so an extension cord is necessary. SHouldn't be a problem if you are running lights.

A lot of the effect will depend on prevailing conditions I used one early in the morning, to put a "morning mist" in a small meadow. Worked like a charm, but the air was very still.

Dry ice and HOT water is another option, but dry ice fog dissapates very rapidly. If you are trying to fog large areas, go with the ac powered oil based foggers and rent one.
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Old July 21st, 2003, 06:27 AM   #5
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has anyone considered flares?

I know the colour might be a little different, but tht might add a lil strangeness to the shot?

im sure they make standard non red smoking flares/?? Not teh marine ones moreso the traffic ones...
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Old July 22nd, 2003, 10:07 PM   #6
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I used one a friend of mine bought for like 50 bucks off the net... it worked like a champ but I don't know about portability.


I've seen people use these 'tablets' that smoke up a storm and are ABSOLUTELY not meant for indoor use but I can't remember what the name of them are.

I guess it depends on how much and what kind of smoke you need---- I've heard of lunitics lighting tires on fire for smoke.
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Old July 29th, 2003, 07:40 AM   #7
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Thanks to an e-mail message from a member here, I was pointed toward CITC and found this "hazer" that IS portable (if you get the optional C02) and costs around $600.
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Old July 29th, 2003, 02:35 PM   #8
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In the effects industry we use Hessie foggers Or bob foggers, (Same thing) If you go to a effects supply house you can rent one for cheep. theese run off of a shure fire propaine flame and smoke fluid. All you need to do is pump up the pressure with a bike pump.
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Old July 29th, 2003, 03:04 PM   #9
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When using any sort of smoke or fog effects, you need to be aware that this is a hot topic with performers these days. As you might imagine, it's especially topical in my line of work with opera singers, but Actors Equity has also gotten very proactive and are making all sorts of regulations. I don't have personal knowledge of SAG or AFTRA, but I'd bet the same concerns exist. Recently the University of British Columbia published a study of the effects of fog/smoke/haze in the motion picture industry and it has added fuel to the controversy. See the link "Atmospheric Effects in the Entertainment Industry: Constituents, Exposures and Health Effects" at http://www.soeh.ubc.ca/research/reports.htm.

If you're doing a small independent project you may not have any union issues, but you might want to educate yourself a little as to the hazards and use common sense, especially in confined spaces or during long periods of use. ESTA, a professional organization for companies selling theatrical equipment, has established a very low cost testing program to help determine safe exposure levels.
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Old July 29th, 2003, 10:42 PM   #10
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the smoke you buy is 95% water and 5% is a vegitable oil that's not quite fit for human consumption. On set some people finde that the fog irratates them, others don't even notice it.

We use some in a lot of sceens that you wouldent thing you would want smoke in, but it make your picure look much better by softing out the image a little with the atmosphere.

If your shooting indoors I would sugest a G 300. They use this type primaly at dances and clubs. This is a standard smoke machine that we use on anything from a small short to a 10 million dollar block buster movie.
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Old July 29th, 2003, 10:56 PM   #11
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The LeMaitre G-300 is a nice machine, we own two of them. They don't hold up well however... every year something seems to fail, and both are now broken. After 5 years service, we will probably replace them with something else next season.

The G-300 is a dual function machine that can use either glycol based smoke fluid, or glycerol based haze fluid. We only use the haze fluid, which (according to the manufacturer's spec) is 80% water and 20% glycerol. We generally take this fluid and add an equal part of water to it, making the overall mix 90% water.
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