Fog, Smoke, & Haze: The Swiss Army Knives of Cinematography Tools

Contrary to popular belief, fog machines are not just helpful tools used to set the mood at awkward middle school dances. In fact, as many of you might know, fog (or haze, but we’ll get to that later) is widely used on film sets for a number of reasons, one of which is, yes, to set a specific tone, but it can also be used to pull off many different stylistic, technical, and aesthetic effects. In this helpful video, Film Riot’s Ryan Connolly shows us how using fog can help you add depth to your shots, diffuse light, or simply create a creepy atmosphere befitting of a slasher film. Also, learn how to get the most out of your fog machines with a couple of cheap, DIY tricks.

The first time I ever rented a fog machine was for a B-movie style monster movie I was shooting in college. My thought was, of course, “There’s a monster on the loose stalking innocent teenagers. Of course there’s fog.” However, it never occurred to me that using fog could’ve helped that production, as well as countless others by diffusing light, softening shadows and highlights, and adding depth to my shots.

Again, there are many different ways fog can help create a specific look and set a tone for your film, but it also helps to give your scene, as Connolly says in the video, a ”Spielbergian vibe”, because it not only diffuses light, but it carries the color of the light throughout the space you’re using for your scene…

Check out all the videos of Fog, Smoke, & Haze: The Swiss Army Knives of Cinematography Tools, originally found on nofilmschool’s site.