Say what you will about Shane Hurlbut, but there aren't too many professional Directors of Photography who take the time out of their crazy schedules to try to give back to the community. Shane's most recent work that we've covered here was the Canon-sponsored film "The Ticket," shot in 4K on the Canon 1D C. While I saw that film at NAB (and wasn't too crazy about the quality of the footage coming out of that camera), it doesn't take away from the fact that he's a professional DP who knows a thing or two about lighting. In his newest blog post, he gives a good run-down on how to use smoke to achieve different lighting goals.

1. Encapsulate a Time Period:

2. Impose a Mood:

3. Create a Style

4. Smooth a Woman's Skin

I had the chance a few months ago to help out on reshoots for a short film. A particularly tough establishing shot took place in a warehouse, and the first time the scene was shot, it felt like something was missing. When we came back to reshoot the scene, we smoked up the room before shooting, and there was a wonderful texture to the light that was being pumped into the room from the windows. The resulting footage popped a lot more, and it helped set the right mood for the following scene.

Something as simple as smoke can completely change the mood of a scene, and affect the way the audience perceives it. You should go check out the Hurlbut Visuals blog for Shane's full thoughts on each of the points above, as well as his recommendation for a SAG-approved smoke machine, which is the Roscoe model pictured above.

Do any of you like using smoke in your shoots? If so, what purpose was it serving in the scene?

[via Hurlbut Visuals]