Capturing Smoke on Film?

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by Sbuxo, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. Sbuxo

    Sbuxo TPF Noob!

    Aug 29, 2008
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    :grumpy: Okay, so I'm going to be shooting portraits as my assignment for the whole semester. They're going to be indoor [bedrooms] and shot on Tri-X 400 with either my external flash, or with natural light. These portraits are going to be nude/semi-nude and with one of my models that smoke, I've decided it'd be cool to capture some of the smoke trails, but I'm confused on how to do this [successfully] on film.

    For example, if I'm taking a silhouette photo of the model in front of a lit window, will the smoke come out as well?

    Keep in mind: my lens = 50mm f/1.7

  2. molested_cow

    molested_cow No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Jul 3, 2004
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    Here N There

    My little experience with capturing smoke is you will probably need a relatively strong light source on the smoke, but the real trick is to have a dark background to offset the smoke itself. I don't think film/non-film is going to make a difference. I would say in a dark environment you will be forced to use the biggest aperture since it won't make sense for you to use long exposure. The short depth of field will also help you capture the smoke better if that's your main subject. I'd suggest that you do a few test shots to get a feel of it instead of risking it all on the day of the actual shoot.

    I can think of a film(movie) that really captures cigarette well. "In the mood for love" directed by Wong Kah Wai(not sure if the spelling is right). It's a Chinese/HK film, beautifully filmed, worth getting even if you aren't using it for reference.

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