June 7, 2018

This $60 Household Item Will Help You Create Tons of Fog for Your Next Film Project

If you want to make thick, long-lasting fog outdoors, you might want to give this a try.

Fog, haze, smoke, atmosphere — whatever you call it, it's an essential filmmaking tool to not only give your scenes a certain mood but for also diffusing light and adding depth. However, spreading fog around when you're shooting outdoors can be incredibly tricky, especially since most smoke machines run off of AC power (and sockets, unfortunately, don't naturally grow in the woods).

But there is a way to fill your outdoor shoot with fog without needing electricity. In this video, Todd Blankenship of Shutterstock shows you how to turn an inexpensive bug fogger into a super effective and portable fog machine. Check it out below:

Bug Fogger

Just in case you skipped the video, no, you're not actually using bug repellent to create your fog, you're using mineral oil, and because the fogger eats up liquid rather quickly, you'll want to bring along plenty of it.

A few words of caution, though, before you go out and try this yourself. The bug fogger used in the video uses propane and a flame to heat the element that will turn the liquid you use into fog, which means that mfer can potentially start a fire if you're not careful. As Blankenship says, take every precaution to keep you, your crew, and everyone and everything else nearby safe. Avoid using a bug fogger in areas that are particularly dry, use only mineral oil to avoid clogging the spout, and make sure to have a fire extinguisher on hand in case a fire does break out. Remember, if in doubt, just stick with a smoke machine and a generator, or a DIY dry ice contraption to create your fog.

"Fog Tube of Death"

Blankenship also shows you how to build a handy-dandy "Fog Tube of Death", which will help spread your fog more evenly over a larger area. Making one is pretty simple, but you'll need AC power to do it. Grab a couple of squirrel cage fans, some temporary air duct tubing (it should half precut holes in it), and gaff tape. Lay out your tubing to your desired length and tape the ends around each fan, creating an air-tight seal. Then, turn your fans on, let the tubing fill up with air, and then spray your fog into the fans. Boom! Fog errywhere.

What are some other inexpensive/convenient ways to create fog outdoors? Let us know down in the comments.      

Your Comment

7 Comments

Woo, That is something interesting!
Yes, much better and powerful than a smoke machine.

June 7, 2018 at 10:16PM

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visionrouge.com
DoP freelance cameraman 4K HK & Shanghai.
94

Thanks for sharing! Definitely going to pick up one and try it on my next project.

Blessins!

June 7, 2018 at 10:49PM

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Oliver Milne
Director/Cinematographer
98

Great idea...but you've never seen a squirrel cage? I'm sure they have them in Texas!

June 8, 2018 at 11:49AM

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Lee Albright
Owner-Albright Films
205

Don't make the mistake Stanley Kubrick made when shooting Fear and Desire - he used an insecticide fogger that had been used for killing bugs, and there were traces of insecticide still in it. He apparently made some of his cast and/or crew a bit sick. So if you do this, buy a new one and use it only for fog effects.

http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article.html?id=453452%7C453531

June 8, 2018 at 7:34PM, Edited June 8, 7:34PM

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I am not sure if this was brought up and please correct me if I am in error but I am always concerned with the safety of products and exposure to actors and crew. While I did not see the specific MSDS for the manufacturer of the Food Grade Mineral Oil used in the demonstration video I did research a generic Material Safety Data Sheet for FOOD GRADE MINERAL OIL - http://www.clearcoproducts.com/pdf/msds/5/msds-f1-1.pdf
Within SECTION VI is the HEALTH HAZARD DATA
EYES: This product is non-irritating to the eyes upon direct contact.
SKIN: This product is not expected to cause any skin irritation upon direct single or repeated and prolonged contact; however, similar chemical composition products applied to the skin of laboratory animals resulted in minimal to slight dermal irritation.
INHALATION: This product has a low vapor pressure and is not expected to present an inhalation hazard at ambient conditions. Caution should be taken to prevent aerosolization or misting of this product. The threshold limit value (TLV) for this product as oil mist is 5 MG/M3. Exposures below 5 MG/M3 appear to be without significant health risk.
INGESTION: Ingestion is relatively non-toxic unless aspiration occurs. This product has laxative properties and may result in abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
My question is the specific reference to "aerosolization or misting" which might present a health hazard. MSDS's are always a good guide to check before product use. Again please correct me if I am in error with this concern.

June 10, 2018 at 9:54PM

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Never use mineral oil, it is dangerous. Use https://www.adj.com/eco-fog-g

June 11, 2018 at 11:39AM

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Bruce King
Actor, Filmmaker
6

Is that Eco Fog ok to heat up at the level of the Bug Fogger? Not saying I'm getting I was just curious because I like the idea of the Bug Fogger but it seems like it might be too dangerous.

June 13, 2018 at 1:56PM

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