5 Tips for Using Fog in Your Film or Video Project

Adding fog to a scene is a cinematographer’s best kept secret. Fog, and all it’s variation, haze, smoke, or whatever, helps to create the ultimate mood. You can do so much with it and create stunning effects. You can create diffused lighting for that traditional horror sequence, have footage look more dramatic and stylish by creating careful light beams using haze.

If you want to inject a bit of creativity and depth into your homemade film or high-end video production project, then at least consider where you can insert fog or use it stylishly in your sequences. Here are some great tips you can note.

  • Go for a Haze Machine Instead of an Actual Fog Machine

While a fog machine can be cheap and work great for low end video productions or film projects, the professionals prefer to use a haze machine instead. Haze machines are expensive but they are extremely useful. If you don’t have the backing of a large video production company to spend money, then renting one can be an option. It’s great for short term projects since these rent for approximately $150 to $200 each week. However, if you’re looking at future projects and thinking of it as a must have, it’s best to just fork up the cash and invest in it.

The cool thing is that haze machines can do a whole lot for your video or film. Steven Spielberg likes to use these in his films too. When used right, a haze machine can make scenes atmospheric. They can create depth and give your shots a unique, cinematic look.

  • Carry and Use a Great Camera

This might seem impractical but let’s face it, more expensive and newer camera models have better sensors and resolution. This means they will capture smoke, haze and fog so much better than older cameras. Sure, you don’t need to go out and buy a new camera but hey, if you can afford it (and want to do it!) then why not.

  • Make Sure the Fog is in the Right Place

If you intend to add smoke, fog or haze to your shot, it’s best to know beforehand where they go. You need to envision where these will be placed in your scene. This is where your creativity comes in. To get the smoke to go where you want to, you can use an electric fan on a low setting so the smoke heads towards the area where you need. It’s also fine if you use the ventilation already present in your room instead. It depends on what you’re trying to achieve. The placement of your camera in relation to your camera will also matter.

  • A little Bit Can Go a Long Way

Unless you were going for an over-the-top look, a little fog, smoke and haze is more than enough. Watching the machine churn out smoke or fog can be fascinating but do all you can to restrain it. You don’t want to fight it off all along the set. This will not only stall your production but give you a ton of headache as well. Resist the urge. You can always add more smoke if needed but it’s difficult (and it takes time) to ventilate or get rid of them.

  • Make Use of Stock Footage

Okay, so you’re at post production, maybe editing your work or looking back at everything you’ve shot. Then you realize, one or a couple of scenes would have looked amazing had you added some fog or smoke on there. Is it too late? Not necessarily. You can make use of stock footage instead. Most stock image sites have great assets you can use to increase the beauty of your composition. Be subtle with its use though. People know what fog looks like and if you aren’t careful, they’ll be able to tell it’s not real fog you used in the scene.

Adding fog or haze to your video production helps you create unique scenes, add depth, achieve great light diffusion and of course, incorporate atmosphere and drama. Test it out and give it a shot. Whether you’re doing a homemade film project or a more ambitious film production, you’ll definitely have fun using them.