New Explosion & Fire effects [stock footage] on the way soon!

Pyrotechnic Effects collection preview

I’m pretty sure you’ll be happy with this video content once I release it.

These are random still frames from the first 14 of the clips I recorded, and there are a few more clips not included in this promo image at all because I’m still adjusting the rotoscoping / masking on the last handful of elements to clear out any remaining random background junk the keying process failed to clean out.

These effects are not flawless – the camera equipment wasn’t ideal, nor the black backing, nor the telephoto lenses that allowed me to get closer views of the effects while the cameras were far enough back to be safe.

But just keep in mind that I did the best I was able to both with the effects shoot and the postprocessing given my available resources. I took reasonable safety precautions and did the best I could given that the entire project was done for under $300.

I’ve stated here my intent to extend the video collection over time with new ‘versions’ – starting with version 2, which is pretty much guaranteed to happen, as an update 2-3 months from now. As for additions beyond that, it kind of depends on how well the product line is selling.

I figure this stock footage DVD needs to sell dozens of copies to keep the releases of new stock media flowing, and hundreds* if the aim is to fund not only more stock video but also massive improvement and progress on my narrative video and video game projects. The good news is that that’s pretty likely to work out given the fact that over 500 people have viewed my stock footage pages & posts in the past two months. If enough of those visitors buy the collection it’ll be good news for me but also for my audiences, and for any indie video & VFX artists who would be getting a fantastic bargain on the new stock video content.

Version #1 has about 20 real clips of explosions, would be more but there were some effects that didn’t turn out at all well or did but were not recorded correctly – maybe they were almost entirely outside the bounds of camera view, or the camera ran out of storage space or battery partway through recording, whatever. Things like that killed about 6-7 shots which I’d meant to capture. It was frustrating but it’s hard to do anything about it now that these mistakes have happened. At least the critical, highest-priority parts of the process – not burning myself and not setting any parts of the house/garage on fire – worked out perfectly. I was focused on safety so much so that the technical [camera work] aspects of the effort were at times overlooked. I think that is as it should be!

So yeah – version 1 has about 20 real-world effects clips against black, varying quality, plus about a dozen digital fire simulation elements.

Version 2 will add an additional 10-15 real-world explosion and fire effects clips, and it should be released in a couple months or so, as a free update to buyers of version 1. Note that the update is, for early customers, digital, and not on the first round of DVDs, but instead will be sent to the email address you used when ordering on eBay or HornbostelProductions.com. In other words, your PayPal email address.

Please buy this collection when it launches; it’s not flawless, I realize that, but even so it is still an outstanding value for any VFX artist wanting real explosion clips on the cheap, and your purchase will help me to continue updating the collection with even more content, so even if you find yourself buying this early and being not all that impressed initially… just wait for the updates, the long term value of your order will wind up being amazing.

 

Stock Footage VFX Collection (New)

Still frame from one of the pyro effects in the new royalty-free stock footage collection.

I am aiming for some really epic effects in the new collection but that said, the mirror material I used did not work anywhere near as well as planned.

The result is some of the cooler physical effects concepts simply won’t be in the collection as real pyro because they did not turn out well. The mirror surface was only partially reflective and it also tended to wrinkle in complicated ways and distort the image no matter what I tried to do to fix it. I basically gave up on it pretty quickly.

Still, despite a course correction there is absolutely a lot of great material on the way, and the effects which didn’t work well will be simulated with a few variations in setup so for those specific effects types (zero gravity and rolling fire towards camera) you’ll have to accept high-end digital gas simulations.

There are over a half dozen aerial explosion effects (like for a shot of an aircraft exploding, you could position an airplane in frame and then layer over it with the explosion effect, usually the sort with a big fireball and smoke and sometimes sparks bursting out from a central point and bursting outward, then falling to the ground.) and numerous – more than 15 – ground explosions, and those turned out great too.

More material will be displayed at launch, but until then look at the still frame (top of this post) from the later stages of one of the explosion effects as an indication of how impressive these pyrotechnic FX elements will generally look.

Note how fragments of burning debris have gone flying out from the explosion source. Not an accident – the debris was included in many of the detonations intentionally to make it seem more chaotic, more dynamic and more, well, realistic.

I know my digital elements look nice too but they are a bit limited nonetheless in that they seem like the stereotypical gas fireballs always seen in Hollywood flicks. I wanted much of the real stuff to look different than that. More sparks, smoke, random burning debris, and chunks of stuff.

I think there will be between 30 and 40 different video elements in the final version of the collection, more than 20 of them real-world physical FX, and it’s all HD at 120fps. This stuff is all royalty free – buy the collection, all the firey stuff I have been shooting, at a price under $20, or under a dollar per clip, and you can use the effects in your own video projects without limitations. You don’t even need to credit me for them!)

Just because it is recorded in HD does not always mean the effect itself will always be gigantic, filling the frame. Often only 40-75% of the area of the HD video clips have things happening in them, with the remaining areas simply black. I typically opted to get close enough to get a good view of the effect but far back enough to avoid the risk of being too close in and losing some of the firey elements off beyond the edge of the recorded area. Tradeoffs are necessary at times and I did the best I could to get as much of the effects in the frame as possible without making said elements seem small either.

Remember, these will be released on February 20th, 2018 and sold on both my eBay store and the Hornbostel Productions shop. Keep an eye out for that!

Still Frame [cropped] of explosion effect in HD, typical of the quality of the collection in HD.
The same subset of the effect in the SD version. Not too bad, but not as clear as the HD equivalent.
The above explosion in motion, as a .gif animation.

 

 

New VFX stock footage .GIFs!

All of the video archives in the ‘Stock Footage’ section of TriumphantArtists.com, now have little .GIF previews so you can see what you’re downloading before downloading it.

Here are some great examples of this, in the ‘pyrotechnic’ category:

 

HD pyrotechnic stock footage

All of this is free and royalty-free and you can use it in your own video projects.  Please, however, don’t try to sell the content or pass it off as your own work.  You can, however, redistribute it for free by sharing links to TriumphantArtists.com.  Okay?

I have ordered a video camera capable of recording 720p HD video at 120fps.  That is, when played back at 30 fps, it’s 1/4 speed, slow motion footage.  So the blasts of fire and sparks will look HUGE but they’re really quite small – the nature of high-speed video means that at this framerate everything should move as if it were 16x larger.

The collection will be a modest batch of ‘zero-gravity’ pyrotechnics elements for all your indie sci-fi blockbusters.  These are also great for exploding aircraft shots and other explosions that are in the air.

I’m shooting these essentially the same way Hollywood would, but with somewhat cheaper supplies on a smaller scale, and no salary involved.

There’s a little remotely triggered bundle of explosive material, ignited electrically from a switch & radio setup – when the switch is flipped, the radio signal activates an electrical charge and that ignites/blows apart the rest of the materials like coffee creamer, debris chunks, etc.  The whole explosive rig is hanging beneath a fireproof black backdrop [Duvetyne cloth] and the surrounding area is sprayed in advance with Fire Gard, a fireproofing liquid, to minimize risk of other things catching on fire.  I’ll also have two fire extinguishers on hand, and three containers of water, two of them with spray nozzles, one is basically a large bucket.

I’ll be triggering this from a safe distance wearing a protective mask/goggles.  I’ve read up on relevant precautions and will do this as safely as I am able.

The ‘zero gravity’ recording will be captured with an HD camera and telephoto lens; these won’t be under the explosion for obvious reasons, so I’ll be using an acrylic reflecting surface [like a big cheapo mirror] positioned at a 45-degree angle directly under the blast, with the camera viewing and recording the reflection of the explosion off the surface.

I’ve plugged in the physics numbers for the sequences and can say fairly confidently that the main portion of each fire burst effect will last about 2.5-3.6 seconds when played back at 30fps.  Maybe some drifting smoke and haze after that but not much else.  There may be about seven or eight of them in all.  They’re, as I’ve said, small effects by necessity, but the high speed photography will help with that.

This recording effort may occur within 2-3 months, and other supplemental effects for a few of my video projects, a few months after that.  If the idea of highly affordable pyrotechnic and other useful video effects elements at under $1 per clip, sounds great, then by all means keep an eye on the TriumphantArtists.com stock media page.