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Shooting a burning building

Posted: Sun, 7th Dec 2008, 8:07pm

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fxmaniac

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Hey guys,

So were having trouble trying to figure this one out. what were looking for is to film a burning building without using VFX or stock footage. but were trying to figure out how to film shots of a proper burning building safely so the fire is controld and wont do harm to the house, is the a physically possible way to do this? as i say we dont want to use vfx or stock footage.

if you have any tip please help us out

regards
Michael
Posted: Sun, 7th Dec 2008, 8:21pm

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AwesomeFist

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well it is posable [but it is hard] just have some have a fan to control it don't worry because fire acaltaily needs air but don't over do it you may need a fireman's help because they are experts at controling fire but get a house you would't risk burning or get some cardbored and paint and decrote it sorry but my spell check can't find the right words.

Last edited Sun, 7th Dec 2008, 8:23pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Sun, 7th Dec 2008, 8:22pm

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Axeman

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You want to practically burn a building without damaging the building?

There are ways to do it, yes, but not that don't involve a budget of many thousands of dollars. You build the set out of fire retardant materials, Have a trained pyro crew coat the bits that are meant to burn with a flammable substance, and/or rig fuel lines through the set to fuel the flames in pre-set locations. Then, have the fire crews on hand with extinguishers, and light it up. Film like the wind. Then they put it out, you re-coat the set for a second take, and repeat.

Without a properly trained pyro crew, don't even think of trying this yourself. Take a step back and think about this for a second. "Is there a way to light my house on fire without hurting my house?" That's just asking for trouble, and is an accident waiting to happen.
Posted: Sun, 7th Dec 2008, 8:31pm

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AwesomeFist

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Axeman wrote:

You want to practically burn a building without damaging the building?

There are ways to do it, yes, but not that don't involve a budget of many thousands of dollars. You build the set out of fire retardant materials, Have a trained pyro crew coat the bits that are meant to burn with a flammable substance, and/or rig fuel lines through the set to fuel the flames in pre-set locations. Then, have the fire crews on hand with extinguishers, and light it up. Film like the wind. Then they put it out, you re-coat the set for a second take, and repeat.

Without a properly trained pyro crew, don't even think of trying this yourself. Take a step back and think about this for a second. "Is there a way to light my house on fire without hurting my house?" That's just asking for trouble, and is an accident waiting to happen.
i agree but then you would need to spend a lot of money and it won't give the effect of it burning down you would get from decrotated cardbarod.
Posted: Sun, 7th Dec 2008, 8:32pm

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Mellifluous

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You need to ask specific professionals, not an internet forum.
Posted: Sun, 7th Dec 2008, 8:33pm

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film freak

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awesome fist productions wrote:

Axeman wrote:

You want to practically burn a building without damaging the building?

There are ways to do it, yes, but not that don't involve a budget of many thousands of dollars. You build the set out of fire retardant materials, Have a trained pyro crew coat the bits that are meant to burn with a flammable substance, and/or rig fuel lines through the set to fuel the flames in pre-set locations. Then, have the fire crews on hand with extinguishers, and light it up. Film like the wind. Then they put it out, you re-coat the set for a second take, and repeat.

Without a properly trained pyro crew, don't even think of trying this yourself. Take a step back and think about this for a second. "Is there a way to light my house on fire without hurting my house?" That's just asking for trouble, and is an accident waiting to happen.
i agree but then you would need to spend a lot of money and it won't give the effect of it burning down you would get from decrotated cardbarod.
Something tells me he's hoping it won't look like decorated cardboard. wink
Posted: Sun, 7th Dec 2008, 8:35pm

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pdrg

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0h my giddy aunt you must be crazy bonkers nuts to even think about trying this without a fireman and masses of insurance! Seriously, you can't do this on the cheap-spend money on a proper pyrotechnician or do it with VFX. Seriously!

If you do have cash to spend, burning houses are quite cheap as these things go, but you still need the right people and equipment to do this safely Just think how upset your parents would be if you burn down the family home....
Posted: Sun, 7th Dec 2008, 8:44pm

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AwesomeFist

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film freak wrote:


Something tells me he's hoping it won't look like decorated cardboard. wink
i mean really detailed and also not just a cutout
kinda like 3d [not 3d grapics] real 3d and you won't notice it too much from the fire. and oh giddy aunt?

ps:i do rellise it turns 2d when you film it.

Last edited Sun, 7th Dec 2008, 8:59pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Sun, 7th Dec 2008, 8:58pm

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FreshMentos

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I'd recommend making a model of the house and burning it instead. It's not worth the cost to make a controlled fire in a building.
Posted: Sun, 7th Dec 2008, 8:59pm

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AwesomeFist

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FreshMentos wrote:

I'd recommend making a model of the house and burning it instead. It's not worth the cost to make a controlled fire in a building.
that was my point to.
Posted: Sun, 7th Dec 2008, 9:29pm

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Sollthar

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we dont want to use vfx or stock footage.
Then there's absolutely no responsible way other then hiring a professional pyrotechnical crew, which will be very... and I mean VERY expensive.
Posted: Sun, 7th Dec 2008, 10:13pm

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fxmaniac

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so from what weve heard we figured out it will be hard to do real, so what about stock footage with a combo of on set stuff like lights with gells smoke machines and dirt on the walls, those were some suggestions from here and indy mogul mixed, would you recomend any thing else?
Posted: Sun, 7th Dec 2008, 11:16pm

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The Siege

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I've always wanted to try the "smokemachine and lights" way. I think that would look pretty realistic, especially when you would use some stock footage flames to enhance it. Good luck with burning your house down.
Posted: Mon, 8th Dec 2008, 1:15am

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Bolbi

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pdrg wrote:

0h my giddy aunt you must be crazy bonkers nuts
Goodness gracious watch your mouth good sir.
Posted: Mon, 8th Dec 2008, 1:18am

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The FE

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Good luck with finding someone who will let a fourteen year old light their house on fire. biggrin

Last edited Mon, 8th Dec 2008, 1:21am; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Mon, 8th Dec 2008, 1:21am

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Paradox Pictures

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Axeman wrote:

You want to practically burn a building without damaging the building?
erm.........................What?
Posted: Mon, 8th Dec 2008, 7:38am

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fxmaniac

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haha wellgood news is, its abandons so we can film there but, prier to what we said earlier i don't think we'll be using real fire.the smoke machine and lights is probably the safest way to go, and we'll add some stockfootage too. it came out very realistically in nightcast =D
Posted: Mon, 8th Dec 2008, 9:07am

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Axeman

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Movie Kid 4 wrote:

Axeman wrote:

You want to practically burn a building without damaging the building?
erm.........................What?
He didn't want to use stock footage or VFX, ergo, he wanted to use a practical effect. And he didn't want to damage the building, but he wanted to make it appear to be burning down, using practical effects.
Posted: Mon, 8th Dec 2008, 11:34am

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pdrg

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The smoke machine and lights sounds a better way to go!

Things to consider still are-
* Flickery lights - as opposed to switching fast (which will damage the bulbs), cut some shapes out of cardboard and wave them in front of the lights to create flicker.
* Smoke machines leave a residue, especially if you get one powerful enough to simulate a house fire - so maybe lay sheets around the room to reduce damage.
* And finally you really must let your neighbours and local fire service know what you're doing (tell them that between certain times you're going to be using a smoke machine to simulate a house fire, that you're informing the neighbours, give them a mobile number that is guaranteed to be switched on that day, and say they're free to call you to check before and scrambling to your address during these hours on these days).

Last thing you need is a bunch of volunteer firemen missing their dinner because you forgot to prepare properly, or worst case scenario if whilst dealing with a supposed fire at your place they missed a real fire elsewhere.
Posted: Mon, 8th Dec 2008, 6:52pm

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pixelboy

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Mind if I ask why you don't want to use any VFX or stock footage? Granted, CGI fire is hard to do convincingly, but with some good stock footage and proper compositing, you should be able to get something pretty realistic - especially along with lights and a smoke machine.
Posted: Mon, 8th Dec 2008, 7:21pm

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fxmaniac

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yeah thats what we have deiced to do now, were going with dirt on the walls, smoke machines lights and gells and stock footage thanks for the help guys, also pdrg - thats a good point about letting people know, thanks =D
Posted: Mon, 8th Dec 2008, 8:57pm

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pdrg

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No worries smile It could save everyone a lot of stress all round!

In fact that's what a producer's job really is - thinking ahead and heading problems off before they manifest wink
Posted: Mon, 8th Dec 2008, 9:28pm

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fxmaniac

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yup =D well hopefully ill be doing a production diary of this whole production, which ill post updates on so you can see ho this scene works out razz its the first time weve done bigger scale stuff like this smile
Posted: Mon, 8th Dec 2008, 9:45pm

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The Siege

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By the way, Detonation Films has an awesome collection that would be well suited for this project. It's called Square Flames and it's basically the frame of a window set on fire.

http://www.detfilmshd.com/Collections_HDSquareFlames_01.html
Posted: Mon, 8th Dec 2008, 10:15pm

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fxmaniac

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oh cool thanks, ive used the free stuff from det films before but havent seen there HD stuff, thanks smile
Posted: Mon, 8th Dec 2008, 11:25pm

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Bryan M Block

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Not to belabor the point, but at this level of filmmaking, you want to use VFX and stock footage. The thing is that you can do ALOT with editing. Show the wide shot with VFX, cut to closeups of your actors with REAL smoke from a smoke machine and lights as someone suggested, (or if you have a place where you have a campfire or some other safe OUTDOOR place that has a place for a fire and you have proper adult supervision to have a campfire, then you might be able to shoot your actors through the real flames to provide the proper effect) then back to wider shots with VFX. We don't want to get into encouraging people to use real fire on this forum because it is dangerous, plain and simple There is something distasteful to me that so many people think creating a film is a "which button do I push to make this happen" kind of thing- it takes creative thinking with regard to available resources, framing, lighting, FX (practical and digital) to achieve the looks and scenes you want to achieve, But I will tell you that an old trick in Hollywood disaster films was to have a small fire closer to the camera and you would shoot THROUGH it to the scene on the other side- making the fire appear much larger because of SCALE. But this still requires proper professional staff. I would suggest using a smoke machine, VFX, stock footage, and lighting to achieve your looks.
Posted: Tue, 9th Dec 2008, 7:56am

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fxmaniac

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Bryan M Block -yeah thanks, we have dieicded that this would be the safest and easist way to do this, also the idea about the close up flame was quite good. but we probably wont be able to get a professional to help us, but if we can we'll try this, thanks smile
Posted: Wed, 10th Dec 2008, 1:31am

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NitroBob

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Something else to consider:

If you lock down your camera on a good sturdy tripod, you can do a lot more with your equipment. First shoot the house all illuminated, even in daytime if that is what is called for in your film. Then wait until dark and use your lights and smoke effects. You readjust your camera settings so that the lights simulating fire are practically blown out and pushing zebra, and hit the smoke with indirect light as much as possible. Leave the house itself dark. Then in post you can screen the one shot of effects on top of the house plate and it will match perfectly, and the glare from the inside and the smoke will be far more malevolent than if you tried to find a camera setting that would show both the house and the "fire" at the same time. Since the camera was locked down the smoke will curl perfectly around the shape of the building and the reflections and highlights from the "fire" will be perfect as well.
Posted: Wed, 10th Dec 2008, 5:17pm

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fxmaniac

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thats a good idea thanks, hopefully with this load of info the scene will work quite well, thanks guys
Posted: Thu, 11th Dec 2008, 12:17am

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Bryan M Block

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Like such:
Posted: Thu, 11th Dec 2008, 2:14am

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FreshMentos

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That's a great idea Bryan! thanks!
Posted: Thu, 11th Dec 2008, 7:48am

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fxmaniac

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oh cool, thanks =D we will try that razz
Posted: Thu, 11th Dec 2008, 9:17pm

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Paradox Pictures

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Axeman wrote:

Movie Kid 4 wrote:

Axeman wrote:

You want to practically burn a building without damaging the building?
erm.........................What?
He didn't want to use stock footage or VFX, ergo, he wanted to use a practical effect. And he didn't want to damage the building, but he wanted to make it appear to be burning down, using practical effects.
Oh it looked like he wants to light a building on fire but not burn it.