VW Golf MK4 – Fire Rain
Van Elder Photography is all about finding new way to capture images, especially when it has to deal with fire. He has recently sent us tutorials on how to create a firewall and how to photograph a firewall. Now, he has sent us a tutorial on how to create and capture fire rain from his blog (Van Elder Photography). Check out the tutorial below that he has provided, and always remember to stay safe!
I spent some time in Google and learnt that this effect was called a Sparkle Poi, which uses charcoal as a fuel, instead of wire wool which is what i originally thought.
After watching the Youtube Sparkle Poi tutorials by Tamed Fire I set about creating my first Sparkle Poi.
The Sparkle Poi was an instant success however, the effect wasn’t what i was looking for, it had to look more like Fire Rain, the design had to change!
With this in mind I set about creating a different design and method, in this blog will discuss my approach to the following topics.
- “Fire Rain Device” Design
- Preparing fuel
- On location
- The Video!
Please note: the FRD is far more dangerous that the firewall, I urge you to think twice before reading on, it’s not for the faint hearted.
Before we dive into creating and using the Fire Rain Device (FRD), we must ensure that you have the correct clothing, this is for your personal safety.
Without these items you should not even consider starting this project, your safety is paramount and you must ensure you are safe from harm before you go anywhere near the shops!
Items that you will require are.
- Forearm Length Fire Safe gloves – Purchase Fire Gloves from http://quinceliving.co.uk.
- Eye protection – Best with goggles that fit to face.
- Nomex/Kevlar face mask – To protect nose, mouth and chin.
- Fire safe hooded top which can zip or fasten right up to your chin..
- Ankle high boots.
- Keval overalls which can go over the boots, ensuring no embers go down into your shoe – trust me, this hurts!
- ATLEAST 2 Spotters – your spotters are responsible for keeping an eye on your clothing and where the embers are landing – shouting STOP if trouble arises.
At this point you should be covered head to toe in fire safe material.
As with the firewall we must bring along the following items.
- Fire extinguishers.
- first aid kit.
- Wet Towels/blankets.
- Metal Bucket (to extinguish FHD)
- Location must have a tarmac or concrete surface.
- Mobile phone (and reception on location) to call for help.
Making the “Fire Rain Device”
Now that you are safe(r), let’s head to the shops and get the following items.
- Chicken wire, 1cm Gap.
- 2mm Wire
- 1mm Wire
- 0.5mm Wire
- Metal Pole(s) – I use old tent poles which can be extended as required.
- Jubilee clips
- 8mm drill
- 8mm Nuts, bolts and washers.
- Needle nose pliers
- Drill with 8mm bit
I’m not going to show you step by step how to make the cage, instead I have provided a blue print and images for version 4, this should give you a good idea of how it’s constructed.
- Use the 2mm wire and place diagonally through the cage, this helps disturb the coals giving more rain effect.
- This design is not to be hit of the ground, it will dent and potentially collapse – This design is specifically designed to create a Rain Effect, anything else and you will have to make a stronger cage.
- Use strong jubilee clips to attach cage to pole, weak will fail – failure is not an option when playing with fire.
- Don’t make it to big, start small and work your way up.
- For better rain effect, find a location where you able to get up high, a container or a brick wall would be ideal.
I am currently using BBQ Charcoal as my fuel, it’s heavier and falls straighter, there are many other types of charcoal used. A couple examples would be “devils dust” which is made from wood shavings or Hardwood Charcoal. The downside of these is that they are too light, embers will float around like little fairies, which doesn’t give the effect of “fire rain”.
Please note: At time of writing this blog the Sparkle Poi has been around for only a number of months, people are still learning what’s best to use. I will of course update this page when new fuels and methods have been tested.
Once you have your Charcoal you need to cut them down to size, to large and they take to long to burn, to small and they will just fall through – as our mesh has gaps of about 0.5 CM we are looking for the majority size ranging from 1CM to 2CM.
- Place your charcoals on a sheet.
- Fold over sheet and hit with hammer.
- Load into a sieve and create 1 pile of charcoal smaller that 1cm.
- Remove charcoal larger than 2cm and place remained in a second pile.
- Repeat steps 2 + 4 until you have enough.
- From your small pile grab a handful and place in the FRD.
- From the larger pile take 2 handfuls and place in the FRD.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 until the cage is full.
- Attach the lid.
- Loop wire around the lid and cage until it is secure.
Place your FRD into a strong plastic bag, this will catch any charcoal that tries to escape.
Before you go, you will require these items.
- All your protective clothing
- Fire Rain Device
- At the very least 10 Liters water, more advised!
- Wet Towels
- Fire extinguishers
- First aid kit
- Metal bucket
- Road sweeping brush & Shovel
- Location with concrete or tarmac ground.
- At least 2 Spotters
- At least 1 Camera person
- Method to light Device, I used a disposable BBQ for the tutorial.
Big thank you to Neil for assisting with the on location footage!
- Think Safety first, never do this near anything which can burn easy, grass, trees, plastic, cars and humans are but a few examples – Fire Rain is dangerous!.
- If you have any doubt, do not do it!
- Listen to your spotters they can see the Fire Rain better than you.
- When leaving use the brush and shovel to clean up after yourself, respect the planet.
The following image was taken whilst spinning the coals, once they start popping and sparking it’s ready to start making Fire Rain.
Spinning the Cage
Have fun and stay safe people!
(Content provided by: Van Elder Photography)