Today on The Slanted Lens I am sharing a QuickTip about how to get your fog to stay on the ground. Smoke and fog machines normally send fog up into the air and create really hazy looking stills, so I’m going to show you how to use a chill box to keep the fog low and keep your stills looking fantastic!
The Problem with Fog Machines
I love using smoke and fog machines. I think they are fantastic and I think they add a layer of interest to both stills and video. In general I just think they look cool! However, one big problem tends to arise when you try to use one- the smoke quickly takes flight. As soon as the machine is turned on you smoke ends up in your face instead of on the ground.
The Solution: A Chill Box
The solution to this smoky conundrum is incredibly simple. I use a chill box to cool the smoke so that it hangs on the ground instead of floating up into the air. A chill box is simply a cooler with holes cut in either end. I like to put dryer vents over the holes to give it a cleaner look, but that’s up to you.
The interior setup of your chill box will vary slightly depending on the ice you use. If you wish to use dry ice, you need to put 4 small blocks of wood in each corner to act as legs. You then need to put some sort of grate, like one used on a barbecue, on top of those wooden blocks. You can then set your block of dry ice on top of that grate and you will be ready to go!
If, however, you want to use a normal block of ice, then the smoke needs to flow over the ice block. In that case, all you need to do is place the block of ice directly into the bottom of the cooler.
Once your chill box is ready, you just feed the smoke into the cooler. Your smoke will then hang on the ground beautifully like it did in the Day of the Dead Shoot and this lesson on making smoke lay on water.
This is a beautiful effect you can create yourself for the price of a cooler and a block of ice! Try it out for yourself and let me know how it goes!
Keep those cameras rollin’ and keep on clickin’!
P.S. Don’t forget to check out the B&H deals of the week! It’s a great way to find discounts on the products you love!