Creating a Smoke Screen for a New Look

Fog, smoke, mist and haze effects have been incorporated into productions of all types and sizes to evoke an emotional response from the viewer. In some cases, the fog is actually a central character to the action. For example, the 2005 remake of “The Fog” made its smoky mist an antagonist that the other characters had to avoid, which created suspense and fear in the viewer.

Smoke has also been used on stage and on screen to evoke a sense of place & time – such as catching beams of light in the scene to add an abandoned feel to a location.

When Australian photographer and filmmaker William Davidson took on the challenge of directing a music video for the band New Look’s single “The Ballad,” he envisioned the smoke becoming a character in the piece as “an abstract physical state that falls in line with the song” while at the same time creating a sense of mystery and anticipation.

Davidson used the ambiance of the smoke to add the scene’s mystery and anticipation. Davidson: “We don’t know the smoke’s origin – is she creating it or is it emanating from some outside source?” The smoke is used to shroud Sarah Ruba, the band’s lead singer, in a mysterious haze and there are also several shots where the smoke is traveling in unconventional directions – such as into the car as it’s turning sharply, that we see at the beginning of the video:

The fog transports the viewer into the abstract while at the same time becoming a character in the video when Davidson projects imagery of Ruba singing onto the haze in the scene. When the projection hits the smoke, it becomes Ruba’s alter-ego. The effect is implemented around the 1:05 mark and Davidson repeats it throughout the video to enhance moments of crescendo or high drama in the music.

The part of the production that impressed me most was the fact that the video was shot outside. Creating fog effects outdoors can be tricky, especially when atmospheric conditions like an arid, windy evening can take your smoke away almost immediately. Davidson turned to his trusty Rosco 1700 Fog Machine and Rosco Fog Fluid for this outdoor shoot. Having used the machine in his studio in the past, he was confident that his Rosco Fog System would be able to produce enough smoke, with enough density for an image to be projected onto it without breaking up – even outdoors.

Filmmakers have been relying on Rosco’s Academy Award Winning system of Rosco Fog Machines and Fog Fluids for over thirty years. Whether you need to create creepy Low-Lying Fog, mood setting Haze or create a projection surface with the fog like William Davidson did – Rosco’s fog systems can provide the smoke solution for your next production.

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Joel Svendsen

About Joel Svendsen

Content Marketing Manager: Joel's Rosco career began in Rosco's Hollywood office in 1999 – first in sales covering the Western US and the Los Angeles Film & Television market, and then as Product Manager for Rosco's Film & Television Products. In that time, his knowledge of Rosco's products and how they're used in each of our marketplaces makes him well suited for bringing the stories in Spectrum to life.