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Ballet Tech

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by maxwellmom, Nov 21, 2008.

  1. maxwellmom

    maxwellmom Member

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    Hello I'm a stage manager for a couple of ballet companies in my town. I am sometimes in need to know how to build props and here I am asking for your help! Thanks.
    I need to build a fog machine that uses dry ice. you know the big trash can with the heating element and dryer hose. I hate to keep renting this when I have smart Dads that could build one if I have directions.
  2. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    New Ulm, Minnesota, United States
    Welcome to the Booth! We're here to help. Ask questions like this, answer where you can!

    Check the search function, there have been some past threads on this type of machine. Be sure to build it well, and build it safely.
  3. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    Pittsburgh, PA
    I can’t help directly with the fog machine request, but (as noted) use the “Search” function. But the last part of your post caught my attention.

    From your post, it sounds like you work with dance school companies and that you rely on a lot of volunteers. (Your duties appear similar to mine, although I’m just a volunteer for a couple shows per year.)

    Anyway, be cautious with the smart dads (I resemble that remark). Unless you are really lucky (meaning one of your volunteers actually did a lot of stagecraft work sometime in their life or is motivated to become proficient in the craft), you’ll need to provide very precise instructions/plans, otherwise you may end up with something that won’t work well because any initiatives taken by the builders may not provide the desired result because some basic concept was not understood. (About the best example that I can come up with is a couple of platforms that were built for the studio by a well-meaning father. He was given some general dimensions to meet [4’ x 4’ and about 3.5’ feet high], but they were built with 2x6s and 2x8s and I think some 2x12s. Although they are functional, they are way too heavy and difficult to move.)

    And smart isn’t necessarily the trait that you are looking for. In one of the very first years that I started helping, the project of making some of the props had been given to some of the studio’s high school-age girls. One of the tasks at hand required cutting a shape from a board, but that was beyond the girls’ abilities (or tools). The father of one of the girls was an electrical or systems engineer who had handled the sound over the years, and I suggested to the girl that her father cut the wood. Laughter ensued. (I ended up doing the work.)

  4. MNBallet

    MNBallet Active Member

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    For things like this, it really is worth it to buy. I know it's expensive but really worth it.

    Take it from a guy that often says "I can build that cheaper than buying it"
  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Las Vegas, NV, USA

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