Filming in Fire: 3 Things I’ve Learned

Every kid dreams about being a firefighter, but not everyone dreams about being a firefilmer… I guess that’s just me. But today, I’m going to talk about just that: filming in fire.

A few years ago, I contacted my buddy who happened to the fire instructor at our local fire department. I told him I could make a sick promo video IF he would let me film inside a burning building. 

So after one training day, me and my DP at Filmpac ran into a burning building like a blockbuster movie star to get some video for our stock footage library. It was quite the adrenaline rush, and we were able to grab some great footage.  

Here are 3 things I learned about fire and filming:

1. Don’t. Mess. Around.

Whether you’re just lighting some prop on fire for a dramatic effect, or getting a cool close shot of a firework, or literally walking into a burning building, like I did, don’t mess around.

This seems obvious. But when you’re focused on getting a shot you have in mind, your judgment can lack a few frames behind, trust me. Speaking of frames…

2. Get Slow motion

Capturing footage at a high frame rate almost always wins when you’re getting fire shots. It is just so cool and dramatic, and you see detailed motion characteristics of flames that the naked eye just misses. 120fps is what I recommend.

3. Bring Water

Bring water. And there are 2 reasons for this:

#1 if something goes south, you need to be able to put out that flame, fast.

#2. Its hot. I’ve never sweat more than I did that day in that burning building. You’re going to sweat a lot. Stay hydrated.

Be safe.

That’s it, I hope this was helpful.

As always, all the footage you see is available to license at Filmpac. See you next time!

Caleb is the founder and lead cinematographer at Filmpac.

Notice: Filming with fire of any kind should be accompanied and supervised by a fire safety professional

FILMPAC Filmpac is a premium stock footage + music membership library.