In this video of Post Modern Jukebox (Burn - Ellie Goulding), you can see fire thrown from the saxophone at 2:10. I can't see how exactly they are doing this.

So, how to throw fire from a Saxophone live? What is the technique they used in the video?

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    This is not really the right place to ask this question as it has nothing to do with video production. Your best bet would be finding a Practical Effects forum or even a Pyrotechnics forum to get this answered Mar 22, 2017 at 11:59
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    The way the fire gag is handled in the video you link to is plain crazy (indoors, with a tight group of people gathered around, none of which are wearing protective gear). In other words, the gag poses a serious risk of injury to the talent and crew. Hire a professional with real bona fides. Also, this is not the forum to ask for help on such practical effect. Mar 22, 2017 at 16:21
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    @AdamMannPro - personally (mod hat off) I disagree with that assessment. I don't think we should be answering beyond the level of explaining that why you need a pyrotechnics guy to do it live and how to find one and maybe some basic details that would be relevant to a video producer, but effects work for video is certainly part of video production and we have many, many other effects related questions. This also doesn't appear to have been a practical (live) effect from what I can see in the video.
    – AJ Henderson
    Mar 23, 2017 at 13:23
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    If someone is about to engage in some potentially very dangerous (if not lethal) activity, they need to be warned about it, whatever rules this forum has. I've seen too many accidents on sets to let that pass. Also, this gag, as seen in the video, was definitely an on-set gag: there's smoke, there's the other musician's surprised/fearful reaction, the light changes in the room. Real and really dangerous. Mar 24, 2017 at 10:19

2 Answers 2


A tube is clipped to the side of the sax. At one end of the tube is the little flame. At the other end, off frame, a technician holds a small canister of gas equipped with a valve. The valve helps the technician control the amount of gas that gets in the tube. When s/he gets the signal, s/he opens the valve and lets more gas in the tube, which makes the flame go up. It's a very simple and a very common technique.

That's how it's done. The question is, should it be done?

Good luck.


It honestly appears like that was added in post. I see nothing in the sax itself the lighting effect from it seems like a general effect, not actual fire (way too bright for such a small flame).

This could be done using a mix of motion tracking the sax, placing a special effects fire video at the center and then using either a pre-made lighting effect or just boosting the redish orange luminance around portions of the image that would be expected to be impacted.

It would also require some matte work to ensure that the lighting effect doesn't impact things it shouldn't, though a similar effect could be achieved by having an orange/red light hidden on set and controlling it's brightness to match the flame that will be added in post.

Looking more closely, I'm increasingly confident that the light trick is exactly what they did. There is an unexplained extension cord coming in to the shot and disappearing behind the center singer. My guess is that they have a light source there to emulate the light of the fire and then simply matched it up with the artificially added flame. There is no ignition of the flame, it just appears and the behavior of the flame in relation to the angular movement of the sax doesn't appear correct. If it was a fixed emitter, the base of the flame should rotate as the fuel would take time to heat and move vertically after exiting the source (turn a stick lighter and see how it behaves for yourself). This isn't a real flame.

As others have mentioned in comments, as far as doing something like this as a practical effect (practical effects mean they are done for real), it really isn't practical or safe. The fuel source and emitter would make the sax unplayable for any live audience and even still it would not be safe for the player or anyone in the immediate vicinity. This is an effect better done in post production with some on set lighting tricks.

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