Beauty and the Beast Transformation White-out

CynicWhisper

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Jan 28, 2008
So my school is doing Beauty for our next musical and we've devised this for the transformation scene. I heard of using white-outs from a las vegas LD but I've never tried it myself. Just looking for some critiques or perspective on our idea. Any suggestions?

What our plan is to get a certain pyrotechnic effect for a shielf of sparks to go off. Immediately afterward, we flash lights aimed at the audience, giving a "white-out" effect along with some sort of loud noise.

We don't have the means to try it yet and my concern is that too many of our lights will be used just for the flash and that it may not work in blinding the audience long enough to do the change. We may build a trap-door to do the change itself.

Any suggestions/advice? Thanks!
 

derekleffew

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Being a Las Vegas LD, I'll answer. Your instincts are very good--it may not be worth it. And you would need one or most likely several fixtures that can, temporarily "blind" every member of the audience for the effect to work. See the thread on "audience blinders," but be aware that you would need to be much more precise, to cover ALL the seating area. Overlap is fine, though. An <un-named> magic act, currently uses a Lightning Strikes!, I believe 20K strobe to achieve this. Way out of your budget, and don't even think of trying little disco-type strobes, though 10 or so Martin Atomic 3000 strobes could work, but still beyond your means, I suspect.
 

CynicWhisper

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Jan 28, 2008
We have found a way to hit every part of the house with lights from various vantage points. Do you think the effect of S4 pars, fresnels and scoops would give us enough of the effect along with the pyro and possible fog for the trick to work?
 

soundlight

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If you need extra lights, Lowes' sells 1200W T-3 halogen worklights for a decent price, way less than any 1200W theatrical fixture. And those things are BRIGHT.
 

bobgaggle

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If the audience blinders are too costly, you could use your foggers to achieve a similar effect. When the transformation takes place, flood the area with fog then blast it with light. Dense fog will mask the transformation from the audience's sight and bright white light can add more glare to obscure their view.(like when Michael Flatley is resurrected in Lord of the Dance) A downer to this plan is getting the fog onstage rapidly, and getting it off stage before the audience starts gagging on vaporized glycol. Maybe some big fans on one side of the stage, blowing it across to an outlet somewhere (assuming it doesn't ruin the aesthetic quality).

I saw a production of "Starmites" once where they used a curved, clear plastic tube to keep for contained. They only needed a "pillar" of fog and used the tube to channel it upwards. they flew it in during a blackout and kept it in dark until the fog was released. Not sure what/how it was made, and I don't know if you can use the idea or not, just throwing it out there.
 

icewolf08

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Just looking for some critiques or perspective on our idea. Any suggestions?
What our plan is to get a certain pyrotechnic effect for a shielf of sparks to go off. Immediately afterward, we flash lights aimed at the audience, giving a "white-out" effect along with some sort of loud noise.
We don't have the means to try it yet and my concern is that too many of our lights will be used just for the flash and that it may not work in blinding the audience long enough to do the change. We may build a trap-door to do the change itself.
Any suggestions/advice? Thanks!
Well, first off, YOU MUST HAVE A LICENSED PYRO BEFORE YOU ATTEMPT ANY PYRO EFFECTS!!! That and the use of any open flames on stage generally require permission from the local fire marshall. One other thing to take into account is that use of PYRO has strict regulations on how close to an audience and actors effects can be. After that, PYRO is a restricted topic here on CB. Point being that unless you have someone certified to do it, DON'T!

Another way to attack this effect is fog. You can get quick dissipating fog fluids and use multiple foggers to create a smoke screen for the transformation. I have also seen the transformation done through a trap in the stage such that the actor could duck down into the trap, behind some fog and then come up after the quick change.
 

SHARYNF

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I vote for fog, light with strobes etc the fog which as said before will mask the transformation,aim the fogger from the side or away from the audience then use fans to clear the fog,

Sharyn
 

avkid

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If you want sparks get a bunch of tiny strobes.
Much Safer.
 
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Leesburg Virginia
You can use bags for holding your fog untill release time, like Bobgaggle suggested. The problem is, you cannot use quick dissapating fog, because it will cool and condense on the plastic. This gives you the problem of venting, our stage has ventillation system and a smoke vent above it that is operated by a switch both on a Fire Alarm Control Pannel, which you should never mess with and a switch in the electrical room next to our stage. You should check with the building engineer, because your stage might have something similar. Then you can open it and vent the fog.
 
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cvanp

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You need to talk to your Fire Marshal before hand about fog. Our school wouldn't let us use fog because it meant turning off fire alarms, and obviously they need to be off for such an effect.
 

bobgaggle

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You need to talk to your Fire Marshal before hand about fog. Our school wouldn't let us use fog because it meant turning off fire alarms, and obviously they need to be off for such an effect.
I think thats a load of BS...my school maintenance guy said the same thing, fog will set off smoke detectors. Now I'm not an expert on fire alarms, (wikipedia could change that :)) but I know for a fact that fog doesn't set them off. I was testing a fog machine on my stage and ended up filling the whole area with a thick fog. The grand was closed as well as the stage door and nothing got set off. Apparantly we have a "laser fire detector" as well, which works like a garage door safety laser. This wasn't set off or anything. Maybe we've got a faulty system, but I say it doesn't set them off.
 

CynicWhisper

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Thanks everyone, I know pyro is a restricted topic on here. We're doing it all the proper ways, I just thought I would mention it to describe the whole effect.

As for fog, it definitely does set off fire alarms. We learned that one during Antigone, at least it was during rehearsal, ruined a bit of a tender moment =P
 

SHARYNF

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Sep 3, 2006
Problem with fire alarms is when the contractor installed units that rely on the visibility instead of ionization. If you get the "right" detectors installed for a theater space, you will not have problems with standard fog.
Sharyn
 

Goph704

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North Carolina
I'm going out on a limb here but I'm willing to bet that your board probably dosen't have bump buttons, or buttons that will call up a light to full automatically. for your lights you can make a board that will do the same thing, based loosly off a pyro board. you just need to wire the buttons not the kill switches when you do this. So basicly I'm saying look for power outside of your dimmers.
Just to agree with what's already been said, I recommed the 1200w lowes lights, Which are bright, ( do your math if your using outside power) and I've always been a fan of dry Ice machines, but They really suck to work with and to get a full stage effect you'd have to place 2 high, if you've got a big house which may not be worth the effort. Dry Ice likes the ground, a lot and will get there as fast a possible. Hazers have oil in the mixture and aren't good for audiences to breathe.
The earlier note about using fans to clear the stage is awsome, I'll probably steal that for a show I'm working on, Thanks. Also, a conversation with the Fire Marshal will go a long way, remeber they are people too, and having a good relationship with one will take you a long way. Also remeber that just cause your trying a vegas style effect dosen't mean it's got to be 100 percent Vegas tricks. Even those guys started somewhere, they picked it up by trying effects like yours.
Good luck
 

icewolf08

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Thanks everyone, I know pyro is a restricted topic on here. We're doing it all the proper ways, I just thought I would mention it to describe the whole effect.
As for fog, it definitely does set off fire alarms. We learned that one during Antigone, at least it was during rehearsal, ruined a bit of a tender moment =P
First off, if you think you have a problem with fog and smoke alarms, setting off pyro isn't going to help you. Burning things makes smoke.

I've always been a fan of dry Ice machines, but They really suck to work with and to get a full stage effect you'd have to place 2 high, if you've got a big house which may not be worth the effort. Dry Ice likes the ground, a lot and will get there as fast a possible. Hazers have oil in the mixture and aren't good for audiences to breathe.
Glycol based haze is really not so bad. It is a lot easier to use a hazer by AEA time and distance rules than it is to use most foggers. Audience members see smoke/haze and they think they will have breathing problems, and thus create breathing problems psychologically. The haze may never come anywhere near the audience, but you will still get people coughing and thinking they can't breath. The mind is a very interesting device.

This is not to say that some people are truly affected by glycol haze/fog, which is why AEA starting testing machines. The tolerance limits are pretty substantial if you read through all of the documentation on the AEA site.


I am not saying that you should not use pyro, but there are safer and probably less expensive alternatives that can work just as well. The dry ice fog curtain would be a great one.
 

Chris15

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Agreed that fog DOES set off some types of fire alarm.

Someone said they had a laser fire alarm, these come in two types. You have a basic laser beam which sits on the wall and shoots a beam across to either a receiver or a reflector on the opposite wall. Something interrupts the beam, supposedly smoke, and hey presto the alarm gets triggered. Option no 2 is VESDA. It's name, very early smoke detection apparatus, give an indication of how sensitive it is... Google or wiki it for more details...
 

superdoo

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Two questions do you have a trap available? and is the actor playing beast that same as the actor playing "the man" (yeah I don't know the characters that well)?

You could use the trap and a low speed fan to shoot fog straight up thus engulfing the change. Couple that with fog lines coming up from under the stage and down stage of the actor and it will be very well hidden and the fans should keep the smoke from heading out into the house. I also agree with the use of the bright work lights from a hardware store.

I also have used striplights in the past as blinders that were flown in and that worked great.
 

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