Special effects - photographic stills, not video footage?

Hi all,

There seems to be (understandably) a plethera of special effects stock footage for film creation. I’m having a hard time finding stock photos of the same ie: explosions, fire, smoke and dust. Stuff that’s been shot in a way whereby the background can be extracted – specifically for overlaying.

I have experimented with exporting frames from footage, however the result is a low res jaggy image. I’m wondering if there’s any specialised photographers that do this sort of thing – blow things up and capture the result in high-speed continuous shots?


  • transmute
    transmuteover 4 years ago

    Just checking to see if this works…

  • Why didn’t I think of asking you initally??? Yes, exactly what I’m after, but it’s very, very expensive!

    – Helen McLean

  • adrian76
    adrian76over 4 years ago

    Creative Commons is a bit hit and miss, here is a gaggle of fire stuff

    The internet really, really sucks at the hotel, so I can’t find much more at the moment. I’ll go get a hot chocolate from Starbucks in the morning, and leech their bandwidth for more info

  • There certainly is a gaggle of stuff on that page – I’ll check ’em all out properly now. Thanks AC.

    – Helen McLean

  • Ross Robinson
    Ross Robinsonover 4 years ago

    Have you tried using Photoshop brushes?
    Deviant Art also has some good resources. And StockXchange

  • Thanks Ross, I have the brushes – they’re pretty good but not of great quality. Checking out the Deviant Art explosion packs now, thanks!

    – Helen McLean

  • Deiantart expolosion packs are (excuse the pun) the bomb!! High quality – I’m sure to be able to use something from here!

    – Helen McLean

  • Ahhh, I meant to type “Deviant Art” !

    – Helen McLean

  • transmute
  • Some good ones there but $$$

    – Helen McLean

  • transmute
    transmuteover 4 years ago
  • 365 Notepads -  School of Faces
    365 Notepads -...over 4 years ago

    Have you thought about getting a fireater/twirler pyromaniaca to work with you for a day? Even if you hire them for it.

  • There’s a whole heap of stuff I’d like though including smoke and dust, so it’d be fairly costly this way. Hopefully I can get something that’s already been created. Otherwise – looks like I’ll be doing it the homegrown way!

    – Helen McLean

  • LaraLuz
    LaraLuzover 4 years ago

    these guys do footage packages. Being 4K images the resolution is much better than getting stock footage and exporting single frames.
    You’ll get much better tiff exports from these source videos. Anything video wise you download from the internet will already be compressed there by giving you your ugly jagged edges.
    The way in which you export also effects this.

  • Thanks Lara, I’ve got my eyes on another DVD but after testing the export frame method on my own footage using Premiere Pro – I learned that the quality wasn’t good at all. Maybe the camera used isn’t giving a high qual output or maybe it’s my old version of PPro (1.5)? Have you exported frames with success before?

    – Helen McLean

  • LaraLuz
    LaraLuzover 4 years ago

    I’ve done it plenty of times but for use back into video, not to use for still images.
    The first thing you should do (I’m assuming your using interlaced footage) is export to a PSD if the premiere Pro lets you (I’m a FCP user myself) otherwise as a tiff.
    Or if you have quicktime Pro 7 you can export as an image sequence, go through the extra tabs there to choose PSD or TIFF, type 1 into the box and it will give you each frame within the first second of the clip.
    open the desired image in PSD.
    Note the pixel ratio of the source image and make sure photoshop is previewing your image at that same ratio.
    Then go to your filter tab and select de-interlace.
    This should now be showing you a single field and not 1 1/2 ( PAL interlaced doesn’t ever show you one full frame at a time but a combo of lines from one frame and lines from the next) Progressive however will not need de interlacing.

    Anything from here on is pending on the quality and resolution (or frame size with video as unfortunately you’ll be stuck with a resolution of 72 regardless) of the source footage.
    Don’t even bother if your source is Standard definition video, the frame size will be too small when trying to bring it into an image you’ve shot on your SLR.

    Full HD (1080) will be OK, but RED 4K or 2K will give you the same ish scale as your digital SLR and a higher bit depth.
    I don’t have any 2K or 4K footage I test on for you though.

    You can then go to your “image size” settings and change the resolution from 72 to say 150 and that give you more play when bringing it in with other images.
    I have some tests taken from 1080i footage if you want to compare. It’s not DSLR quality but at 50% doesn’t look that bad at all.

    If you bubble mail me your email I’ll be happy to send them to you.
    Obviously nothing is better than getting stock high res photo’s but if money is a huge factor, you may be able to get away with this. Plus that one DVD give you heaps of different stock for a pretty good price considering.

  • Woah Lara!! Heaps of info – I thank you HEAPS for your time to explain it all to me. All in all – it’s promising – but definitely not on the footage on our viedo recorder as I’m pretty certain it’s standard definition. But promising for DVD stick footage. I’d love to see your image comparision – I’ll Bmail you now. Thanks again!

    – Helen McLean

  • Mark Higgins
    Mark Higginsover 4 years ago

    I use istockphoto a lot at work when i need shots i don’t have myself or need them quickly.
    Quite reasonably priced and some great vectors and photos.
    A sample:

  • Mark Higgins