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How to make it "rain" flowers?

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by DancingKatie, Dec 10, 2009.

  1. DancingKatie

    DancingKatie New Member

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    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    We are needing to make it "rain" flower petals for a part of our show. Can we use a snow bag for this? Will silk flower petals drop out of the snow bag well? Does anyone know about how many flower petals we might need? When working with fake snow, is it measured by weight? We have found silk flower petals in bulk of 3000 petals. Would that be enough for a 40ft wide stage?

    Thanks for your tips.

    -Katie
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Full stage or just one area?

    If its full stage, a modified snow bag or snow drum might work. The holes would have to be larger but it would work.

    For a show awhile back we used a par can shell with a projector douser taped to it. We made the "flap" of the douser bigger using foamcore. It was an ugly thing, but it worked.
  3. MrsFooter

    MrsFooter CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    For one of our shows last summer (Kiss Me Kate, maybe?) we made a contraption that was essentially a 5 gallon bucket with 2 inch holes cut in the sides and a small fan zip-tied to the top. The idea is that the bucket is hung up-side-down, and on cue, the fan would turn on, mixing up the petals, which would fly out of the holes.
    I vaguely remember having to finagle with the design a little, possibly adding a layer of tulle stapled to the inside, for reasons I can't remember. But once we got it working, it did so beautifully.
  4. MillburyAuditorium

    MillburyAuditorium Member

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    I went to a show at a 'low budget' high school theatre and they had it snowing, and all they did was make the animation on a computer, and put it on a projector they controlled from the booth, worked fine. ;)
  5. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    One of the Directors I work with is a fan of dropping all sorts of things. In Death of a Salesman it was leaves. In the Seagull it was flower petals. I built 3 little machines that have worked for dropping both of thes as well as snow flakes. I don't have the drawing here at home, I'll check the 'puter at work tomorrow. The boxes I built were for a relativly tight area, but I think you could modify them to cover a larger one. 'course you could just build a chicken wire snow machine too.
    As far as coverage, well that's really up to the look you want while falling, and the build up you want on the floor. I wish I had found you resource for individual petal, I had to buy tons of silk flowers and take them apart.
    Standard cautions for effects such as this;
    Normally I never reccomend reusing anything you have dropped. this is especially true for snow as the plastic bits tend to pick up a ton of dust through static. I have found that flower petals can be re-used but it is very important that you throughly "clean" them between uses. it's imperative that you clean any and all dust/dirt/ stage floor detrius off the petals for the safety of you actors eyes. I've found putting the petals in a 5 gallon bucket and blowing a lot of air into them is an effective process, or just have a good old threshing party on a clean drop cloth in the shop. Another important safety tip is "watch where you drop". If this is for a dance company You really need to be careful not to dop the petal directly on the dancers as silk petal build up on the stage floor can be really slick.
    Hope that helps a bit. I'll see if I have some drawing of my little machines at work and post them tomorrow.
  6. FatherMurphy

    FatherMurphy Active Member

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    We've done 1 1/2" to 2" mylar 'coins' in a snow bag for a musical revue that included the 'Pennies from Heaven' song, as long as the slits in the bag are large enough, it works just fine.

    I once worked a touring production of "Tommy" where the 'Smash the Mirror' mylar shreds were simply poured onto stage from a five gallon bucket, by a technician on a truss midstage (they had a full catwalk built atop that truss for use with several effects).

    The same "Tommy" show cleaned the mylar by putting it into a chicken wire cage that was slowly rotated for a couple hours, allowing the dust to drop out as the mylar tumbled. The drive motor I think was from a barbecue grill rotisserie.

    One thought on using flower petals - will they be seen closely enough by the audience that they need to be actual (well, fake) flower petals? Paper confetti might be an alternative, although no less mess than the petals. Rate of fall might be something to consider, too - paper tends to float longer, another material might drop faster.
  7. MNBallet

    MNBallet Active Member

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    Yes you can use a snow bag. Don't use real silk pedals though. They will fall too fast and they are too expensive. For our production of Sleeping Beauty we have it rain down rose pedals at the end. We found just using 1" square paper confetti worked the best, both for looks and cost. You can get the confetti flame redardant.

    Kenneth Pogin
    Production / Tour Manager
    Minnesota Ballet
  8. jhdesynz

    jhdesynz Member

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    Occupation:
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    Slight Hijack, You can safely reuse plastic snow with a little TLC between uses. When we were doing The Nutcracker three shows a day, we would sweep all the snow into a 50 gallon drum with a drain valve and fill it up with water. Snow floats, dirt and unsafe bits sink. Scoop out the snow and let it sit on terrycloth or the like till dry and your good to go.

    I would agree with the pink confetti on a snow drop for a petal effect, it will look the same unless you have a very small stage or the dancers/actors need to pick up the petals and interact with them. It will save you quite a bit of money also.
  9. nquinn2

    nquinn2 New Member

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    This is really late, but for future reference....

    At Utah Shakes for a production with falling leaves they built a mechanically powered machine with two rollers and a long length of fabric. The leaves were spread out on the fabric and rolled up onto the first roller. As the fabric transferred to the second roller, the leaves would simply fall off. This was beneficial to the show because they could put less leaves on the front of the fabric and more on the back end, slowly building up the amount of leaves that fell. You can literally have five leaves fall, wait three seconds, then two leaves.....
    BrockTucker and (deleted user) like this.
  10. hobbsies

    hobbsies Member

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    I'm sure people will find this stuff useful even though this thread was started 11 months ago.

    We had a rose petal drop for a show here in Chicago, and basically the way the TD set it up was he made a wood frame w/ 1x4 or some other scrap, and used plastic fencing to cover one side. Then he took a small motor with an off balance weight attached to the rotating rod, so when it was activated the off balance weight would shake the drop and petals would sift out. You can buy super cheap motors in Chicago from a store called "American Science and Surplus". We had it circuited to a dimmer and just programmed it into a cue. That was the best petal/snow drop I've seen.
  11. n1ghtmar3

    n1ghtmar3 New Member

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    In the past three years i have had 3 shows where we needed to drop leaves/ petals.

    Sleepy hollow where we made a few modified snow bags that where attached to pipes one pipe secured and the other movable with larger slits for the leaves to fall. worked fairly well for us. Main issue we had was our proscenium opening was at 52' and quite deep. I had ordered 10,000 silk fall leaves and was quit surprised when a 1' cubic box showed up ( they did fluff up to be a decent amount). we ended up having interns cut leaves out of old scrap fall colored fabrics to help us get to the desired amount needed.

    The other 2 shows had almost identical rigs that were simple and low cost and for isolated drops. Hinged little boxes that were mounted in the air that had a guide rope that would tilt the box for the drop. For the first show we used little round pieces tissue paper and with them being so light they floated down great for a really nice effect. For the second show was dracula where right after he was "blown up" we tripped the box that was loaded with black tissue paper and it gave a nice look of ash coming down.
  12. Pk5

    Pk5 New Member

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    Confetti Spreader or other alternative?

    Hi everyone I am trying to setup a confetti spreader for a friend wedding and so far I have not been able to find anything that can create a falling leaves effect (using 1" confetti petal from artistry in motion). All the confetti spreader that we have here locally can only handle snow size confetti or they suggest confetti canon (which I cannot use due to the noise). Is there any other alternative available in the US that I can purchase and mount on a truss system? The blower available from Artistry is 125lb so most of the company around here doesn't want to mount it on the truss for liability reason. I found a few confetti spreader on youtube but they seem to be from China or other countries. Do I have any other option? The ceiling is 15' high and the truss system is about 13' high. This effect is only for the couple's first dance. Thanks

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