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No smoke machine? No Problem.

Ashes to Ashes

We didn't have a real budget for this shoot, but I still wanted to generate a real atmosphere.We did it using a £1.50 buy from the local builders yard. More after the jump.



I found this location a few months ago shooting a local band, and really wanted to try something atmospheric, and with a sense of movement. The room is fantastic; a double height ceiling and two rows of south facing windows. Perfect for making rays of sunlight. But how to capture that? The obvious answer is a smoke machine, but they're not cheap enough for a no budget shoot.

Ashes to Ashes

The solution is line chalk. You can buy bottles from most builders yards, and they come in several colours. To add weight to the dancers movements, we poured chalk into their hair and onto their clothing, which is why you'll see it flying off them in a couple of shots on the set.

A couple of thoughts;
  • Unlike smoke machine smoke, the dust is going to get everywhere. Don't keep any spare equipment in the same space if possible
  • Likewise, you'll want to clean your camera and lens thoroughly after shooting
  • Also unlike smoke, the chalk will begin to colour the floor where it settles (you can see the effect of red and blue chalk in the above photo)
  • it isn't fun being covered in chalk, so you'll want to have water and towels around. Also - as pointed out in the comments - prolonged exposure can be bad for your health (although this seems to be generally regarded as years of exposure).
If you like any of the photos in this set you can buy prints from Etsy.


Ashes to Ashes

I know Kung Fu...

4 comments:

tomas adison said...

Glad to help, good luck with the site. Thanks for a very informative post.
http://www.smokemachine.co.uk

tomas adison said...

I am very glad to see your post. For this reason i back again.
Read more at smokemachine.co.uk

Elizabeth J. Neal said...

We didn't have a real budget for this shoot, but I still wanted to generate a real atmosphere.We did it using a £1.50 buy from the local builders yard. More after the jump. what does a percolator do

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