Campfire Scene... without a campfire...

HeySiri Posts: 386 Just Starting Out*

So in a short film I'm making, there's a scene my producer wanted me to include where the six characters sit around a campfire to discuss the day's events. The scene is supposed to be at night in the middle of a forest. However, shooting at night was a no-can-do for us because we only have access to the location until late evening. So, we'll shoot the scene relatively late, and grade it to look a bit darker, but there's still the issue about the fire. We can't have an actual campfire (fire hazard). So, how can I digitally put in a fire? Film a campfire elsewhere and somehow overlay it? I can't find any good stock footage. Any suggestions?




  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,288 Power User is THE best source for fire footage. 

    Don't overlook Hitfilm's built in Fire effects. There's a campfire preset in the Effects list. A single instance will look terrible and fake. Layer up two instances with different settings and the top copy in ADD or SCREEN blend mode and some glow and it looks pretty good! And it's free! 

    There's also a full fire generator. Again  a single instance looks fake  Layer it up and it looks really good. 

  • triforcefx
    triforcefx United StatesPosts: 1,641 Moderator
    edited March 2019

    Taking a slightly different approach, you don't actually need to show the fire in most of the shots. In a lot of the shots, you could simply show the people with an orange or orange gel light flickering (passing an object in front of the light). This would be especially helpful if you end up needing to purchase an asset, but only have the budget for one or two clips. Use them mostly in the establishing shots, then shoot most of it close up. Also, don't underestimate layering effects. Some smoke, sparks (particle sim?), and heat distortion would go a long way towards selling the shot.

  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,221 Expert
    edited March 2019

    @HeySiri To add to the the excellent suggestions you already have, don't forget about Blender.  This was a project for a Smoke & Fire Udemy class I'm taking.  I found a free campfire model on the web and retextured the rocks and wood and added the fire (which was the assignment) and layered it on a nice PNG image very, very quickly and easily.  So if you absolutely got to show flames, it can be done. 4 Ch 22.mp4?dl=0