Using dry ice in your photos and videos gives you a cool, dramatic effect. But it’s important to know what you’re doing to get the best results and also to avoid any incidents. In this video, Heather of Fellow Filmmaker tells you everything you need to know before using dry ice. She tells you how and where to get it, how to handle it; she shares some safety tips and techniques for shooting with dry ice.
Let’s start with finding dry ice. Heather suggests that your local supermarket or grocery store might have it, but make sure to call ahead to check it. If not, you can try specialized ice stores in your area. When you go to any of these places to pick up your ice, make sure to bring a portable cooler for storing it. As a precaution, also bring a pair of fairly thick gloves for handling the ice. Heather notes that you need to plan ahead and organize your shoot around the dry ice delivery day since it’s best to use it the day you pick it up.
Okay, now that your dry ice is ready, make sure to handle it properly. Here are some safety tips from Heather:
- The ice stays in the cooler – don’t open the lid, keep it firmly shut
- Don’t put the ice in your fridge or freezer
- Always wear gloves when you’re handing the ice directly, otherwise, it will burn your hands. It’s handy to have some tongs around to pick up the ice, too
- As the dry ice evaporates, do not inhale the vapors. It’s dangerous and as we’ve seen in a tragic accident from last year, it can even lead to death.
When using dry ice, it’s best to do it indoors, in a controlled setting. It won’t be as effective outside because even the slightest breeze will cause the smoke to dissipate. So, use it indoors, and make sure to follow all the safety precautions.
Other than dry ice, there are a few supplies you’ll need for working with it. I already mentioned gloves and tongs, but also prepare a straw, a disposable aluminum pan, and an electric water kettle. In the video, Heather shows you how she uses all these in three different techniques. You can also see the shots that she created. This way you can get a better idea of how each of the techniques works and the result it produces.
I’ve never used dry ice, but I’ve always wanted to try it. Have you used it in your shots? Do you have any tips to share?