December 10, 2013

How to Get the Under-the-Door Fire Effect from 'Backdraft'

This is part of our behind-the-scenes series on a slow-motion, live-burn fire shoot shot on a Phantom Flex4K.

If there's one indelible image from 1991's firefighting actioner Backdraft, it's the sight of flames licking out menacingly from underneath a door. It may be that the folks on Backdraft staged and filmed the effect as it happened for real, but on the short Phantom Flex4K promo Let Me Know When You See Fire, director Brendan Bellomo and DP Greg Wilson came up with a creative way of achieving the same effect without actually setting a room on fire -- or being in a room at all. Check out this ingenious way of achieving the effect:

And for reference, here's the best clip I could find of it happening similarly in Backdraft (if memory serves me correctly, there are other instances, but this is the one that's available online):

Next time you need this particular shot for your own film -- now you know how, without burning down your house!

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Your Comment

12 Comments

Awesome!

December 10, 2013 at 9:44AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Dave N.

Now I just need a Phanton 4k camera!

December 10, 2013 at 9:58AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Nelson

I believe this is also how they did the elevator explosion in The Matrix.
http://www.anyclip.com/movies/the-matrix/blowing-up-the-elevator/#!quotes/

December 10, 2013 at 10:29AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Dan

M... I believe the smock should go the other direction.

December 10, 2013 at 11:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Edgar

Well, that's just clever right there.

December 10, 2013 at 12:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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alex

At first I thought this was an After Effects tutorial.

December 10, 2013 at 5:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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moebius22

Cool!

December 13, 2013 at 12:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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DT

Now i want to watch the whole movie

December 13, 2013 at 3:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

4
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Hah! Me too.

December 14, 2013 at 12:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

love this, thanks for sharing this - so damn cool to think that way about shot construction.

December 16, 2013 at 1:48AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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dosxdos

Fantastic to see practical effects again. Bravo guys. Got my start years ago in this world. Much like touching film, practical effects teach you - literally hands on. And by the way - all the fire in in Backdraft is real.

December 18, 2013 at 11:06AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Beautifull, but I thing it looks different in reality.

January 22, 2014 at 8:46AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Kuk