The Official Blog for David Whittet's Motion Picture Trilogy

Filming the Fire Sequences


A house fire was central to my last major film, The Best Place for Joe. At that time, I had to create the fire without any of thee benefits of new technology, backwinding the film in the camera for double exposure, to create the effect of the actors escaping from the fire. Nonetheless, I believe I achieved a believable fire scene which added dramatic impact to the film.

However, as I was developing the script for Amiri & Aroha, I was really excited about a fire sequence using the technology available to the independent film maker today.

I used many different elements in the fire sequence. I went out with fire brigades over many months to get the fire shots I wanted. I combined these shot of real fires with special effects shots using compositing and chroma key techniques possible in editing software like Apple’s Final Cut Pro.

Tonight we shot the green screen work of Amiri and Aroha escaping from the fire and Hunapo’s rescue of Aroha. WIth budgetary constraints, the independent film maker has to do all their own behind the scenes work, and I have spent the last week immersing myself in instructional videos on making realistic burn scars with latex. I practiced on myself and I knew I had succeeded when I my wife Ooy came into the room and was shocked thinking I was really burnt!

The make up on Amiri as he met his untimely end looked really amazing!

Amiri's Demise
Digital compositing to achieve effects which I could only dream about when I made The Best Place for Joe in 1991!
Fire Shot
I have started post production work on the fire scenes whilst we have been shooting to ensure that it is achieving the desired effect. With fast cutting, sound effects and music it is shaping up to be a powerful and dramatic sequence!