View Full Version : Making something look charred...

Mark Harris
10-20-2010, 03:16 PM
I don't mean actually burnt, but I would like to coat something with like black soot. I guess I could use some black soot...if I could find some. Seems like there have to be some good alternate ways of doing this...

Any thoughts or recipes for this kind of thing?


10-21-2010, 06:01 AM
If it's small try some graphite from a pencil.
Split the pencil open crush the center graphite piece into dust. Apply as needed.

Mark Harris
10-21-2010, 08:08 AM
Nice, thanks! Will experiment with that tonight.

10-21-2010, 09:17 AM
grill charcoal? that stuff will ruin clothes if it gets on them, definitely worth looking in to

Mark Harris
10-21-2010, 09:44 AM
ah nice, that actually gives me the idea to use some grill ash. Have some friends with BBQs and will hit them up. I will document this when I do it this weekend, with some photos in case it's a help to other people.

Michael Carter
10-22-2010, 11:32 AM
Flat black spray paint can work wonders too. When I was a kid, my mom went ape-sh*t on us for "burning up our army toys" - but it was just flat black paint.

Mark Harris
10-23-2010, 01:31 PM
Here's what I wound up going with. Ash from a BBQ over Karo syrup. This is in progress. When it dries, it gives a very creepy vibe. Mixed with the fog machine and the fact that the entire scene will only be lit by flashlights, I'm pretty happy with how it's coming out. The skulls are actually grey, but once finished with the treatment, that shouldn't matter.

I ran with the Karo's because I can just wash all of these when done and re-use them, loan them to other filmmakers, whatever.

Click on the image for a full sized JPEG.

http://desperatecomfort.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/skulls_good-150x150.jpg (http://desperatecomfort.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/skulls_good.jpg)

Michael Carter
10-26-2010, 08:15 AM
The Karo syrup is a long-time still shooter standard - thin it a bit and put it in a spray bottle for "wet" beverage shots, etc - I had completely forgotten about that stuff!

Mark Harris
10-26-2010, 10:12 AM
Yeah, it's the gaff tape of art direction! :)

The whole scene is lit with flashlights and an on camera light, so it's easy to get away with stuff.

Here is a final photo from set. Click to enlarge:
http://desperatecomfort.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/IMG_3708-150x150.jpg (http://desperatecomfort.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/IMG_3708.jpg)

11-10-2010, 09:18 AM
they do make powdered charcoal (graphite as well), available at art supply stores.. Don't know if its more cost effective than what you've been doing.