One thing about fires – they are never just a steady red glow – to look realistic, they need to waver and flicker. For a major conflagration like the one above we did for Sunset Song, our lighting designer programmed several luminaires with varying shades of reds, yellows and orange in a random chase, smothered with plenty of smoke, and the effect was stunning.

However, this is probably overkill for small domestic hearths and the like, so in those cases we usually wire up a trio of 60W GLS fireglow bulbs in circuit with fluorescent-tube starters, as per the diagram. The starter holders are salvaged from disused fluorescent fittings. The starters make the bulbs flicker randomly (and independently of each other) in a most satisfactory manner. You’ll note that one bulb is wired directly so that it maintains a constant red glow.

The mediaeval brazier shows how they can be positioned, or the lampholders can be mounted on a base and placed under a plastic coal-effect cover from a discarded electric fire. The great thing is that they can then be run from a single circuit, or even just a switch, with no requirement for chases or anything more elaborate.

Category: Special Effects

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