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Burning down the house (well hopefully not)!

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by jonh, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. jonh

    jonh New Member

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    Hi All,

    I need some help with some very low tech stage pyrotechnics. I need to have a smallish cauldron on stage that is burning, and then which flares up when an actress throws something into it. The flare up also needs to last for a fixed amount of time. Any suggestions? I am particularly looking for some old school ideas as the theatre is really just a hall (in an Indian temple In Singapore - long story) and thus I have limited technology available. As an aside my day job is a science teacher so I have access to a fairly wide selection of chemicals, so if anyone knows what sorts of things are used for fire-eating or the like I would love to give it a try. Cheers. Jon.
  2. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    This is probably a huge leap across TOS bounds, and the thread may or may not be closed and/or deleted in short order.

    Pyro on stage is something that ONLY professional pyrotechnicians should do, and no one else. If you don't know how to do it, there's a much bigger chance of doing it wrong. Leave pyro to the professionals, folks.
  3. jonh

    jonh New Member

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    A fair point well taken. I fully agree. However my main problem out here in Singapore is a lack of people to bounce ideas off, so at the moment I am just looking for some ideas.
  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    In the proper application, the Le Maitre Le Flame units can look remarkably realistic.
    [​IMG]
    Le Maitre Le Flame simulated flame effect
    jonh and (deleted member) like this.
  5. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    +1 to what soundlight said.

    Alternatives to pyro exist. One common practice is a pencil fogger and some lighting.
  6. jonh

    jonh New Member

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    Both ideas are good. I was actually considering a lighting effect as an option. Thanks.
  7. fredthe

    fredthe Active Member

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    Using lighting effects will also avoid any issues with Singapore regulations on the use of pyro. I don't know the laws, but just because you can do it in your classroom doesn't mean you can do it in your "theater".

    The flame effect Derek linked to is basically a couple of flame-shaped pieces of silk, with a fan and a light under them. Combining that with the pencil fogger, and perhaps an appropriate sound effect for the flare-up might be a way to go.

    (An an aside, I was talking to my daughter's chemistry teacher. Post 9/11, there are many things he can no longer do in his class :()
  8. Studio

    Studio Member

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    Unless you have proper licenses and training the best you can do is a fan some fabric and a light.
  9. jamesarnold140

    jamesarnold140 New Member

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    Why not two fans and two sets of "flames"? I had to build a free standing firepit for a center stage piece this spring.Since the LeMaitre units were all 120v for the size needed I had to change fans to 12v from the discount suppliers,and buy extra replacement fabric. Using the controls from a broken remote toy car I was able to rig up a fairly decent looking "fire" that flared with a wave of the actor's hand.Be sure to use "sealed" batteries onstage,somehow "car" batteries always leak something nasty.
    jonh and (deleted member) like this.
  10. jonh

    jonh New Member

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    Thanks for some really good ideas. You will probably all be pleased to know that the pyro's have been vetoed. I would like to say that I will use electrics instead (and may still do) but the old Indian temple we are using has questionable electricity and the moment there is an interesting debate going on as to whether the lighting technicians will burn the place down with their lights. So if you see any reports of expat. burns down National Heritage Site, it was not me!
  11. AdamBair

    AdamBair New Member

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    Yes stay away from real pyro.

    Tapered white silk strips, some upward pointed fans and red and yellow lights shining from underneath can make for some very good flame effects. The "Le Flame" effect is really just that. It's not tough to replicate on a larger scale.
  12. laserguy216

    laserguy216 New Member

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    I can understand not wanting to be held accountable for someone doing somehting WRONG and then gettting blamed for bad infomation, but not pointing people to the correct RESOURCES on the web to LEARN about how to do something is just BAD..... and in most cases I beleive its not wanting other people to have the KNOW HOW of things work, so that maybe you can be the ONLY pro.... I think that knowledge is power and thats why this forum doesnt tell you the things you need to know... as you want to be the ONLY few to do what ever it is that you do..

    (I push buttons too for a living)

    I think that the OLDER members that know how to do things should tell some of use the things we need to know, how else are we going to learn? by a injuring ourself? Way to go! thats smart.. you would think that you would want to HELP people not HARM them. besides someone taught you what you needed to know, right?

    And if someone or a stage tech or who ever makes their way on to this website looking for information is going to do whatever it is that their looking to do, correctley or incorrectley. they are going to do it anyways and that means the public could be in danger and even more now as the PRO's would rather sit back and not worry....... well that doesn't look like a pro to me, but only a simpleton would think that way!! anyways

    Thanks for the help!!! NOT:twisted:
  13. laserguy216

    laserguy216 New Member

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    my friend google is GOD!!!!! if you google Fire-Eating or Professional Pyrotechnics along with these words first " HOW TO" you will find what you need! here are a few websites I found helpful: links deleted, as per the CB TOS:

    Just a tag "This is only information" use it at your own risk!
    Be safe & consult a pro before you do ANYTHING.:twisted:
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2009
  14. Les

    Les Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    You are absolutely and completely WRONG.

    Pyro/Laser/Rigging PROFESSIONALS learn by getting the proper education and licenses/certifications. NOT by reading "how-to's" on the internet. They withhold critical information as a safety precaution. Not to remain the "top dogs".

    This website exists as a resource and education forum, not a one-stop, learn everything there is to learn entity. Those don't exist. There are some things that you need to learn the proper way - not by reading how some guy did it back in 1992 over the internet.

    Furthermore, Controlbooth.com cannot be put in a position of liability should someone kill or mame themselves or others by something they read here, or were linked to by a member of this website.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2009
  15. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Here is the other fundamental issue with your argument. At least in the USA, you need to be licensed in order to work with pyrotechnic effects. This includes both proximate (theatre and concert applications) and display (like on the 4th of July). So telling someone that they can just google a how-to and then shoot their own Pyro is about the most ridiculous thing that I have ever heard. If the local AHJ got wind of that kind of situation the operator would probably be fined, if not thrown in jail. At worst, people could be seriously injured or killed.

    I certainly cannot speak for all the CB staff, but our goal is not to hoard information. I am not pyro certified so telling people that they should seek a professional does not benefit me at all. Will everyone take our advice? No, but at least some of them might, and that is better than nothing. We don't sit back and not worry, one of our main goals is teaching how to go about things safely. Topics like Pyro cannot be taught online, so the only way that it can be done safely is by licensed professionals!

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