It’s important for special effects operators, set decorators, and make-up artists to know when to use Fuller’s Earth, a Fuller’s Earth substitute, or an alternative dust/dirt product. Fuller’s Earth is a general term for any fine powder used for dust effects in photography.
Actual Fuller's Earth is most frequently used to simulate background dust. Fuller’s earth is a generic term for this type of dust or dirt. It can be spread on roads so a car driving over it will “kick up” dust. Another great way of creating the appearance of dust being kicked up by a car is to fill a gunny sack with Fuller’s Earth and drag it behind the car.
Fuller’s Earth also can simulate the look of a car coated with road dust, dirt, mud, grime…. Just spray the vehicle with water then use a dust gun or a Dustin-Mizer filled with Fuller’s Earth to apply as much powder as desired.
You can even make non-pyrotechnic explosions look very realistic with Fuller’s Earth. If you load a little into an air mortar along with other debris (like cork and vermiculite), the explosion looks fantastic on camera.
If the explosion is fired near talent, use FX Dirt. When you’re using Fuller’s Earth around talent it’s best to use the lowest crystalline silicate possible, which is why we recommend FX Dirt. (For more information read the awareness sheet for Photographic Dust.)
Fuller’s Earth applied to wardrobe creates the appearance of the talent having crawled through dirt. We carry specially made Schmere brand dust, which is designed specifically for application to costuming. Shmere even comes in a range of colors—rottenstone, raw umber, burnt umber, and black.
A dusting of one of our Fuller’s Earth substitutes—Movie Dirt, FX Dirt—to any set can make it look abandoned, unoccupied, even haunted. For even greater realism, add cobwebs with our Cobweb Gun, then spray the artificial cobwebs with Fuller’s Earth—your set will look amazingly old.
We offer Fuller's Earth in one gallon buckets, five gallon buckets, and fifty pound bags, and we can fill orders of any size.
Want great looking bullet hits? Try our Fuller's Earth Dust Hits. These dust-filled plastic balls are designed to be fired from a paintball gun to simulate realistic dust clouds on impact with walls or ground.