There are various ready made dust applicator available from the special effects rental houses. Most work quite well. The Penberthy steam ejector works very well in the 1" x 1" x 1/2" size. It will work well with various pressures and needs a large supply pipe. 1" works well. (Available from Mc Masters-Carr)

Gloves should be used as the CO2 tanks, valves etc. get cold. Ski goggles and dust masks are necessary. When dealing with high pressure hoses you must relieve the hose pressure before making any changes. The quick couplings will not disconnect under pressure and are dangerous if released without releasing the pressure.

The wind often shifts direction constantly and having the ability to move the compressors or tanks is useful. Long hoses are quite helpful. Having extension hoses with quick couplings of the right type also helps. There are many different types of couplers. Make sure that all couplers are compatible. If you have different types label them and make adapters is necessary. When using equipment that you have not yet seen, bring extra couplers, reducers, nipples, wrenches, teflon tape and hose.

For fog and dust

For communications, stereo head phones, the big muff kind, wired mono, with a radio or monitor are absolutely necessary. The high noise and distance make any other means of communication impossible. When giving instructions think about where the person is and how he sees things. His left, toward camera, toward the trees, east (if he knows directions).

Getting the feel of how to lay down the dust or smoke takes time and knowing when to call "action". While getting the feel of the situation it's better to modify procedures if they seems to be working rather that starting all over. Finding the parameters is most important. A tell-tale strip of rag on a C stand is helpful to judge the wind, both for direction and velocity. The wind can be entirely different at camera and out there.

When dealing with moving vehicles in dust or smoke there is danger to everyone. The frustration of dealing with shifting wind cannot interfere with safety procedures.

© Copyright 1999-2004 Ron Dexter. All Rights Reserved.