Smoke Rings

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License: Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike Smoke Rings Visualise / Science Made Simple
Views: 1367
22 Jun, 2007


Dramatically lit giant smoke rings drift across a large stage.

Director's Notes:

Sometimes, you point a camera at something and it all looks lovely. Then there are situations like this, where we spent hours tweaking lighting and camera settings to extract as much detail as we could, and more hours getting the smoke rings to drift in exactly the right way. I’m quite pleased with the results, though of the thirty-eight minutes of recording we made, this film uses practically every decent shot.

The key when filming this sort of thing is to light very strongly, from the side - you’re after as much contrast as you can get, but with the light scattered by the smoke rather than bouncing straight back at you.

SciCast Notes:

This film was made in a circus space in Cardiff, during a week playing around with demonstrations for a theatrical show called ‘Visualise: The Beauty of Science.’ Between blowing up loudspeakers and covering ourselves in an explosive mix of cola and wallpaper paste, it was an eventful week - but this is the best film we got out of it.

Look carefully at the structure of the smoke rings - if you step through one of the close-ups frame-by-frame, you can see the smoke swirling around, peeling off the leading edge of the ring as the toroidal vortex drifts through the hall.

‘Toroidal vortex’ - there’s a phrase you don’t hear often.

— Jonathan