So you want to add some atmosphere to location photo shoots. The usual way of having smoke effects on location means taking a smoke machine and fluid and this needs mains power! So you need to then add a generator to your kit, these are not light and small if you add it to the lightstands and lighting, camera, lenses etc. The ground will be bumpy and uneven with maybe no vehicular access. Well what do you do?
Take smoke pellets of course, the kind sold in DIY and trade stores like www.screwfix.com for packs of 10 or 50 pellets. retail outlets across the country or online with postal delivery.
I bought a tub of ten encapsulated pellets that burn for 30 seconds and producing 15 cubic metres of smoke. To be honest the encasulated pellets produce a smoke tainted with plastic fumes, so the normal type will be better. The smoke itself is white and needs to be lit either by flash or shooting into the sun.
Pellets come in diiferent burn tmes and smoke output. Getting a balance of smoke and burn time for the right effect will need to be a personal test and may vary from shoot to shoot. The largest I have found burn for 90 seconds and produce 300 cubic metres of smoke!
So what do they actually look like, this is a single pellet:
You may not be able to tell from the picture on the right but the pellet’s size is 15mm X 35mm. Don’t forget your lighter though and much easier than trying to use matches.
I found it is best to back light the smoke with a flashgun, though this was a little too late in the day and too low on pellets to get properly set for this.
So here are some resulting images from the test shoot.
As you can see the added effect is eye catching and adds some considerable interest to the image.