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Breathable dust?

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by Nephilim, Jan 11, 2004.

  1. Nephilim

    Nephilim Active Member

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    The show we're doing next, Inspecting Carol, calls for the stage-that's-part-of-the-set to collapse near the end of the show. This is not something we have a problem with; the pivot has been designed. Where my problem lies is the designer wants to have dust fly out when it collapses, and all he has right now is a "Bag O' Dust" under the 'stage' that is crushed/opened when it pivots down to collapse.

    Questions:

    What should I use for the 'dust'? Whilst we do have a limitless supply of it, mainly on top of the house fluoros, I would prefer something a little more eye/lung/mouth friendly.

    How should we release the 'dust'? A bursting Bag O' Dust isn't easily refillable. Perhaps a gravity-based release for a fabricated box? An air-jet propelled piping system all around the set for maximum dust spray area? Hm.
     
  2. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Lots of choices...in movies they use whats called Fullers Earth (A mining clay that is powdered and not harmful), while others tend to use Flour or common Talcum powder with a little cinnamon tossed in for color. However since you cannot swing a dead cat without hitting someone who cries they are allergic to the planet earth, its hard to advise what would be best to use. When doing dust "bursts", you will find a little goes a long way to getting your point accross and not gagging the audience. You will also find its pretty simple to make happen--a small pile or two here and there in some muslin or cheesecloth bags that get dropped work well, on the set that collapses. What you can also do is get yourself a hand -bellows from a fireplace supply store (big accordian type device with a nozzel and two handles you squeeze together) and suck in some dust and blow it out that way. Works well. Or you can build your own type of bellows box which is basically a square or rectangular box with an open top, and a floor level slit on one side...otherwise its closed except for the top which is soft. Inside you put a cloth bag that you remove and fill, and then on cue the top gets stomped on or pressed in, and whoosh--out flys your "dust". Best to seal your box with some silicone or you will be surprised just how "unsealed" your seams can be.

    Lots of ideas and options...I'm sure others will have more. hope this helps.
    -wolf
     
  3. Nephilim

    Nephilim Active Member

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    Food for thought... I'll see what we can build :) Thanks!
     
  4. DMXtools

    DMXtools Active Member

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    Lots of good suggestions from Wolf. May I suggest really limiting the actual "dust' and augmenting it with a small, well-timed burst from a fog machine - much more lung-friendly.

    John
     
  5. What Rigger?

    What Rigger? I'm so fly....I Neverland.

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    Not at home, that's for sure.
    With regards to the allergy thing: check your insurance! More and more effects, especially like this where you put particulates into the air that people are breathing, are requiring public notices (aka lobby signage) and some kind of risk assesment.
     
  6. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    In an recent thread, titled " flashpots, but not really" < I think That was the title> we were dicussing a "dust" to use. If you read that post you'll find I suggest using Rye Flour . it's cheap, Very Low incidence of allergy, One of the only things That Equity is cool with using. DO NOT USE TALC !!!!!!! Long term exposure to Talc can cause Pnuemonia and extremely complicate Asthma. As Someone else stated in this thread, keep the dust level low. Remind your director that "Often Less is More". Good luck On the show ! I'm going to start building Inspecting Carol in about 3 weeks. As soon as I get Metamorphosis through techs and get Mr. Marmalade into the theatre.
     
  7. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    As forwarded by way of Mayhem. He hopes to look at the article when not on the road doing medical school type stuff.

    Will do - however, in my opinion there is no such beast as breathable dust. All particles that you inhale will cause a local inflammatory response and the larger the volume or the more irritant, the larger the reaction. This is the very reason that dust masks were invented. Ever heard of coal miners lung? You body has a fairly good filter system but this is limited in its ability to filter out or remove crap. If you smoke - you are further compromised, as your nasty little habit actually damages this system.

    I also wouldn't be throwing flour dust around - that stuff is highly combustible in the right environment and can cause explosions. Talc also, but I am not sure if it is to the same extent.

    Feel free to add this in the meantime if you wish. May not get round to delving through the months of unread post for a while.

    Cheers,
     
  8. jonhirsh

    jonhirsh Active Member

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    Turn on your DF50

    JH
     
  9. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    As this came up in the earlier thread mentioned before, I'll say again, the PPM required to cause an explosion on stage from flour dust is extremely high. For reference check out the "Mythbusters show on the topic of " explosions from bug bombs" on their recent "Outtakes" show. As I said before I spent about twomonths researching an acceptable material to use as dust onstage for the production of "the Mercy Seat" Rye Flour is the ONLY acceptable flour to use. too many people have allergies that are aggrivated by other flours. As I stated earlier Talc is not an Option it causes pnuemonia and in large quantities contains asbestos. and BTW it is non-flamable an explosion is the least of your worries in this situation the health of your actors and audience is. Remember even if your cast is not allergic to something you're putting in the air, the chance are high that someone in the audience is, Our job as TD's is to protect not only the cast/crew but the audience as well.
     

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