theatrical Smoke VS. Theatrical Fog????? - Page 2 at
DV Info Net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Techniques for Independent Production

Techniques for Independent Production
The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old March 5th, 2006, 10:24 AM   #16
Regular Crew
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 59
Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault
Are you sure you weren't using a mineral-oil based "haze" machine?
I wish I had a hazer. It was a Rosco 1700. Ordinarily I'd think it was me because my sense of smell isn't that great but when a dozen crew complain then I know it's real.

Problem with foggers is that they're not designed for the effect I was going for - visible beam of light (e.g. the shot on the "Ray" DVD cover). A hazer would have worked much better.

For future reference, anybody know of any NYC rental places that have these and about how much they cost per day? TIA
Chien Huey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 5th, 2006, 10:39 AM   #17
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mays Landing, NJ
Posts: 11,688
If the space you're using isn't too large (like my 3,000 seat theatre :-) you might try "haze in a can." It's a pretty nice low-cost alternative to renting a machine, and is made by the same company as the DF-50 hazer:

Available from theatrical supplies, such as Production Advantage, for under $10 (scroll down the following page a bit):

Boyd Ostroff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 21st, 2016, 03:13 AM   #18
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 1,149
Re: theatrical Smoke VS. Theatrical Fog?????

Sorry to necro this thread, but it ranked as one of the top hits on Google, so I wanted to add some more info.

This "atmosphere in a can" has been getting some publicity lately: Atmosphere Aerosol - Fog for Photographers

Film Riot talks about it here:
Adrian Tan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 25th, 2016, 10:27 AM   #19
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Sydney Australia
Posts: 1,182
Re: theatrical Smoke VS. Theatrical Fog?????

Originally Posted by Ronald Beal View Post
Glycol fog will not have a smoke smell, but it does have a detectable scent. In fact I believe rosco used to have specially scented fluids such as citrus etc... to mask the "fog" smell.
For the original posters desired "film noir" look, and to address his health and safety issues, I would without hesitation recomend the DF-50 hazer made by reelfx. The DF-50 is the standard hazer in live production. (from the Grammys, to the Rolling Stones, and almost everything in between. It has been tested by Cal-OSHA. Their results can be found here:

It has been approved by Actors Equity, and The League of American Theaters.
The MSDS can be found here:

I do not work for ReelFX, or any of their distrubitors. However I have used their machines on almost every show I have done since 1994.

The machines are noisy, but the haze usually hangs for a long time. So run it until you have the look you want. Turn it off when you are ready to shoot.

They can be found at most major live production lighting companies. Your post indicates you are in KY. I know PRG (PRG Worldwide Entertainment Technology Solutions) and Bandit Lites (Bandit Lites - Your GRN Solution!) both in Nashville, TN carry DF-50's.
+1 on this suggestion. By far the best I have seen as it is a proper 'Haze' unit, not fog or smoke, and it produces a fine haze perfect for filming. The haze the DF-50 produces will hang around for ages. The haze also meets most OH&S safety requirements. If you are introducing haze, smoke or fog on your shoot the onus is on you to ensure it meets the safety requirements of any authority that governs the the location of the shoot. Be careful using around people with Asthma or other chest ailments.

Rosco, LeMaitre and Antari also make various 'Hazers' and all can be found on the web and at B&H. Prices vary greatly so do your homework.

Chris Young
CYV Productions
Christopher Young is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 26th, 2016, 12:53 PM   #20
Inner Circle
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Lowestoft - UK
Posts: 3,165
Re: theatrical Smoke VS. Theatrical Fog?????

In the UK we have VERY strict legal frameworks on substances with the potential to cause injury or illhealth.

As a result part of my job is to collate the safety paperwork for everything I use in productions.

Theatrical style smoke is extremely well documented now and none of the major players now make any equipment that uses anything other that harmless fluids. Have a look at the stack of material on the web sites of the manufacturers like Le-Maitre and GEM. Some of my shows use so much that the floor gets slippery, and everything is covered in a film.

There are three primarily different kinds of effects.
Smoke - pretty much what it says, a burst of generally white smoke, that dissipates quite quickly, and is able to be pointed. The effect can come and go quite quickly.
Haze - much, much smaller particles that hang in the air much better, and have the benefit of being mainly transparent, but they pick up beams of light, so you get shafts in the air. Static, for effects like windows and streaming pretend daylight through, or the usual moving light beams that every event now has.

Low smoke. The usual smoke is easily blown away, and if squirted in on the floor, soon rises. Low smoke is a carpet of thick smoke that sits on the floor, hopefully maybe a foot or two thick. It billows like waves in water - a really great effect for graveyards - you know the look.

There are a few ways to achieve this effect, and temperature is a critical element. Hot air rises, cold air sinks. CO2 - as mentioned above is a simple way to do it. Two types of machine. The clever sort, that uses gas bottles similar to those found in the coolers in bars. The gas escape on cue, and creates a dense low lying fog on the floor. If disturbed by people, it tends to settle back down. Once it warms up, it dispurses upwards. As a result you need to keep pumping. The machines eat the gas and make lots of noise - as they are, after all, glorified fire extinguishers. Older types of machine are very simple and use dry ice (COs) in pellet or chunk form. You stick the CO2 into a basket, that hovers over a gallon or two of boiling water. You lower the dry ice into the water and it sublimates - converts from solid to gas, and squirts out the front.

The quality of the low lying fog is the best - but there are real disadvantages. CO2 pellets need to be kept in a special storage unit, and after a few days you have an empty one - it just vanishes. It's also damn dangerous stuff. It will burn your skin if you touch it - so gloves and proper precautions moving it around are essential. Leaving it in a bucket ready to recharge the machine will seriously injure anyone who looks at it and prods it. It is also problematic having a huge gadget full of boiling water just sitting there - however, because they're very good, they are still popular. Google peasouper fog machine.

Last type of machine is a smoke machine that has a built in cooler - a refrigerant plant with a matrix that the hot smoke is pumped through. It cools the smoke, which then clings to the floor. Google Gladiator smoke machine. Damn big and noisy, and need quite a bit of power - and for what it is worth, quite unreliable. I've lost count of the number I have used where the cooler fails flooding a stage with ordinary smoke that makes the people on it invisible!

You will find many performers who swear that the smoke impacts on their voice in a bad way. There is no medical evidence to support it, the fluids having nothing in them that can do it - but you hear it frequently and many names have it in their contracts - absolutely no smoke or haze. Their shows look very thin and lacking as a result. It has absolutely no effect on my voice at all - but there is a phenomenon where people start to cough at the first suck in of the haze. Probably a reflex, but nobody has a medical cause for this. You will NEVER win the argument, so don't try. If they say no smoke, they will mean it and you cannot convince them, as they have already convinced themselves.
Paul R Johnson is offline   Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY USA

Scan Computers Int. Ltd.
+44 0871-472-4747
Bolton, Lancashire UK

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Techniques for Independent Production

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:14 PM.

DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2020 The Digital Video Information Network