In this video, I’ll share my top tips for using a smoke machine in a small home studio! Hello I’m Gavin Hoey and you’re watching Adoramatv. Brought to you by Adorama. The camera store that’s got everything for us photographers. And in this video I’ll share my top tips for using a smoke machine in a small home studio. Along the way, we’ll take some great pictures too. Now I’ve tried all sorts of smoke machines over the years and this is my firm favorite, this is the CHAUVET Hurrican 1200! It’s a really small, light weight, smoke machine that packs a lot of punch. Great in a small studio space, but the best bit is the remote control! Whatever smoke machine you get, look for one that has a variable output. That allows me to control the amount of smoke from a tiny amount, to a huge amount, just by turning the dial, and it’s that level of control that really makes a big difference in a small studio! Now I’m going to try three different types of smoke, we’ve got CO2, light, and thick smoke fluid. Each one will have its own amount of texture, and take a different amount of time to dissipate into the atmosphere. All of them have got some of this added this is Fog Scent, and if you’re spending a day in a room full of
smoke, having a little bit of an aroma can make a big difference. Today we have tutti frutti. Just make sure you get the stuff that is actually compatible with a smoke machine! So with that in mind, let’s get our lights set, let’s get a model in, let’s get shooting. So to help me with today’s shoot. I’ve got the incredible Meg Biffin. Meg’s going to be the model, and before I fill the room with smoke I’m actually going to set the lights, and that might seem like the wrong way round, but trust me, once you’ve got a room full of smoke, you’ve got to work really fast. So the lights. I’ve got an eVOLV 200, which is the key light in a glow softbox, that’s going to light Meg, but I’ve also got a second light, another eVOLV 200, and this one is only going to light the smoke. Now the best way to light smoke is from behind. So I’m going to put this behind Meg pointing at her back like that. So let’s take a picture like this before we put any smoke in the room, and see how it looks! Okay, here we go! Smoke shows up best against a dark background, and as you can see, those pictures have a basically black background. So what we’re going to do now is, to apply a bit of smoke to the room. I’m not going to change the position of the lights. We’re merely going to add some smoke into the atmosphere, and I’m going to use the CO2 effect smoke. Now according to the description, this smoke should give a dense cloud that very quickly dissipates. You’ll find the same smoke with various names. Have a look in the description for anything that’s described as quick dispersing, or special effects smoke. So the brightness of the smoke in the background can actually be controlled, by adjusting the power of the background light. If your smokes too bright just reduce the power of that light down. If you want to change the color of the smoke just add a gel to the background light. It disappears really fast, which means you have to keep topping it up in the room. And of course that means you get through lots of the fluid the CO2 effect does what it says! It gives a bit of texture, and then very quickly dissipates. Which in a small home studio, is a really good thing. So this time we’re going to use the light smoke fluid, and that should give a different look. It should give a little bit of texture. That quickly dispersed into a a bit of a haze, rather than actual smoke, so to light the smoke this time, I’m going to do something different, such as the specular LED system here. So we’re going to use that behind Meg, here’s how it looks without the smoke. Here we go. Oh it looks perfectly fine, let’s add some smoke into the scene and see how that looks! So Meg are you ready? Sam ready? Okay here we go. This stuff is great for a small home studio. it starts with some texture, and then after a minute or two, it’s just a haze. I had to keep topping up the room with smoke a little bit. But we actually got through fairly small amounts of fluid. Once we finish the haze disappears in around about five to ten minutes. So the final smoke is going to be the thick fluid, and this should give a really textured smoke. Something that hangs in the air for a very long time. So with that in mind, there’s a few things I’m going to do. The first one is we’re going to use this slowly, build the effect up! We’re also going to make sure it starts behind Meg, because once it’s in front well, we won’t see her anymore. So let’s take a picture now with this current lighting setup. I’ve still got the eVOLV 200 lighting Meg, but behind I’ve changed out the light for a different one. Again just to mix it up, we’ve gone with the light blaster. Have a look at this. Here we go, so you can get an idea of how the light blaster is going to work, because although the room is fairly clear of smoke, there’s a little bit left in the air from the light fluid. It’s been about 10 15 minutes, so you get an idea of how quickly that dissipated. Okay, let’s start with a little bit of smoke, just behind me. The thick fluid gives really dense smoke with loads of texture, so when it gets to this stage, and the room is basically filled with smoke, it’s getting really hard for the camera to focus. Now it would be an ideal time to empty the room of smoke, but if you need to keep on shooting. Here’s a quick tip, go closer to your model, the closer you are, the less smoke there is between you and the subject, and you should be able to keep on shooting. So let’s do that, here we go! The only downside is.. it’s very hard to control because once it’s in the room it’s difficult to get rid of. In fact I only use two short bursts of smoke throughout this entire session. So there we go, we’ve got to the point really where it’s getting very hard to focus, so we’re going to call that a wrap. We’re going to clear the room of smoke, and we’ll see what pictures we’ve got. So great work Meg. Smoke can make your small home studio seem enormous, but it’s definitely something you want to do right at the end of the session. Getting the smoke out of your studio, well there’s a few ways you can do that. You can try of course, the old trusty flap it around with a reflector, but if you have a large studio fan, these are the things that are fantastic for blowing smoke out of a door or window. Now if you’ve enjoyed this video, and you want to see more, don’t forget to leave me a comment below, and of course the best thing you can do is of course… Subscribe to AdoramaTV. I’m Gavin Hoey. Thanks for watching.