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Old July 24th, 2007, 04:54 PM   #1
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Wind-blown Dust Effect

I'm going to be doing a shoot-out scene for a Western-type film and wanted to add an effect of wind blowing dust through the area.

I was going to use a leaf blower for the wind, but was wondering what the best thing to use for dust would be. I was thinking flour would be good for a nice fine dust, but this lacks the tan color. Maybe add some sand? Or perhaps try whole wheat flour? Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 06:35 PM   #2
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Cocoa powder? Don't use actual dust as it may be hazardous to your health. It seems sensible to use something edible that can be broken down by the body. Silica and other inert ingredients can clog the lungs permanently. Make sure your actors are also not allergic to your "dust".

I read this article:

I will never take special effects for granted. The John Wayne movie, "The Conqueror", about Ghengis Khan was shot near a former atomic test site in Utah. I believe Mythbusters did an episode about this movie to find if there is a link between the location and numerous cancer deaths of the cast and crew. Even though the findings make it seem unlikely that radiation killed John Wayne, you still don't want to put yourself in a difficult situation.

As it seems that even big-budget movies still haven't completely worked out healthy alternatives to dust, you are a bit of a pioneer. If you figure something out, let us know.



I just went out and did a test and I came up with two ingredients that look like dust and sand that shouldn't kill most people.

Cocoa powder
Powdered Iced Tea mix

Cocoa powder in the palm of my hand makes nice puffs when I blow on it. Powdered iced tea mix used in the same manner looks and blows just like fine beach sand. It is just dark enough and the right grain size. The good news is that neither product is incredibly expensive. The iced tea mix is $4 at Costco for a huge can. Cocoa is going to be more expensive, but I would rather use that than risk people's lungs. Be careful since some people are allergic to chocolate. It also did make me cough once, as I would expect from powder entering my breathing passages. If my posts on dvinfo drop off immediately after today, don't use cocoa powder. :)
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Old August 4th, 2007, 04:37 AM   #3
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i am not sure that from a logical point of view any mix you can build is better than sand.
After all , sand is everywhere, is natural, and fly with wind naturally.
If you make any mix using whatever you think safe, there will always be somebody to complain about an ingredient that could damage eyes or lungs.
(after all cocoa and ice tea is supposed to be ingested in your stomach, not your lung).
Ok, sand is not supposed to be ingested at all, but at least nobody can complain about you using it, since everybody of us is exposed everyday, on the road, on the beach etc...
You better make sure that people (including technical team) are protected as much as possible.
Giroud Francois is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2007, 10:02 AM   #4
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also, consider just blowing wind, and adding the dust in something like After Effects. Or even using the iced tea mix to have some on camera dust, and use After Effects to add more. Just a thought.
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