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Bubbles. . .A fun effect? or a Death Trap!

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by adude23, Oct 29, 2008.

  1. adude23

    adude23 Active Member

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    -What's your thoughts on these machines?
    -Are there any rules/regulations on them where you live?
    -Do you have any tips to make them safer?

    Thanks,
    ~Adude~
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    I'm guessing you're speaking of something like this?
    [​IMG]

    The only consideration is a slippery floor when the bubbles condense.

    The Altman BM, made entirely out of steel, weighed a ton, so rigging overhead was an issue, but I've never had an safety problems associated with bubble machine. At the risk of sounding old... "ah one and ah two-ah..."
     
  3. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I just used 4 count 'em 4 bubble machines in Eurydice. I'f I ever see another one I think I'll scream. And yes I had a hard time convincing the director and the Set designer that there would be slippage issues with bubble juice collecting on a high gloss polyurethanre finished floor, designed to be as slick as possible.

    "Won't the bubbles be dry by the time they hit the floor?"
    Yes I'm quoting. :rolleyes:
     
  4. adude23

    adude23 Active Member

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    "Won't the bubbles be dry by the time they hit the floor?"
    :rolleyes::shock::rolleyes:
    People sometimes . . . .
     
  5. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    Ahhh- the best Lawrence imitation I've heard all week!

    (Nice job Derek!) :clap:
     
  6. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Yeah you've got to be REALLY careful where you shoot them. I used them in a show once. We only shot them briefly and we did it over the orchestra... which they found annoying but when they would be sitting down for a half hour. So by the time they stood up the floor actually was dry. Yes they are a death trap to walk on. If you have to use them in a space that is walked on then you need to deploy carpet for the safety of everyone.
     
  7. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    All high-pitched whining aside, if I were in the orchestra and had bubbles landing on my trumpet, viola, harp, _________ (fill in the blank), there would be an *uncomfortable technician following the show. Surely there must be a way to add this atmospheric effect without the nasty after-effects of soap. Perhaps blowing the bubbles between the audience and the orchestra onto a carpet wouldn't be so bad, as long as traffic was not moving along that portion of the venue.

    There must be a sensible way to enhance the performance without the 'trouble of the bubble.'
     
  8. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    We use a Hot Air Bubble Machine. Basically it has a hair dryer inside the cage of wands. The bubbles do float longer but not long enough to completely dry... ;)
     
  9. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Oh yeah and that's the other thing, " we want the bubbles to rise...." Rise? You realize that soap is heavier than air? You realize that I was given no budget for helium for 8 weeks of run? You realize that I don't own a bubble machine that uses helium right ?

    " What do you mean? Bubbles float up..... sometimes....." :rolleyes::shock:
     
  10. elite1trek

    elite1trek Active Member

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    I have only used a bubble machine once. It was a really cheap (probably Party City) unit. It served its purpose, but it did make a slippery mess on the marley (dancers werent too happy about that). As for regulations, I have never heard of any. I can't imagine that your local codes committee has nothing better to do, but that is politics :rolleyes:.

    As for making them safer, try to use the effect before an intermission or scene change, where you have enough time to (quickly) mop the stage. They also make textured tape (it comes in black) designed to keep people from slipping on wet stairs, which you could use on particularly hazardous places.


    That's almost as bad as the time somebody asked me to make the confetti from my cannon fall slower...:rolleyes:

    In all seriousness though, you can make bubble float up if you use a couple of fans on low speed. You sometimes have to adjust the concentration of water and soap.
     
  11. Logos

    Logos Well-Known Member

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    I have a couple of real cheap plastic machines. They cost about $A20.00 and last me about 6 months at the kids parties and so on I do sometimes.
    I once had someone ask if I could make bubbles fluorescent. I know you can buy fluorescent bubble mix but couldn't find any. Someone suggested we tried tonic water (which apparently fluoresces because of the Quinine) instead of water. Didn't work.
    I once tried blowing smoke from a smoke machine through a bubble machine to see if I could get bubbles that would burst with a little puff of smoke. That didn't work either, although I still think it should. I probably haven't thought of something.
    Bubble goo on the floor especially in dance shows is a real menace.
     
  12. Ric

    Ric Active Member

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    We've a hard & fast rule.
    NO BUBBLES.
    The issues related to using them, the mess & safety concerns over slippery floors are just not worth the trouble of having one for the effect.
     
  13. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    " What do you mean? Bubbles float up..... sometimes....."
    __________________
    No, but they do fall slower. Simple physics.
     
  14. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    I think WildFire has a fluorescent additive for water that might help you on this.

    There's party versions of this out this Halloween. Might want to watch for the sales in a couple days. Here's one at Amazon, but I've seen them cheaper at Wally Mart.
     
  15. GreyWyvern

    GreyWyvern Apollo Staff

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    I can deal with bubble machines, those aren't so bad. What is bad are snow machines. The fluid is more soap concentrated than bubble fluid, which makes it much more slippery than bubbles. It is harder to clean up when spilled. The residue from it is much worse. And when it is done being slippery after having dried, it is just plain sticky. It is really kinda gross stuff.

    Ice floors are tricky enough to walk on normally and when they are covered with "snow", you are likely to badly hurt, if not kill, yourself. Silly board op thought if was funny to "test" the snow machines again when I was loading the pyro on the front of the set. [size=-2]JERK![/size]
     
  16. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Wildfire does make a fluorescent water dye. However from what I saw in one of the water curtain devices at LDI it appears to stain things it lands on... so I would be VERY careful where I used it. Definitely not in bubbles unless there was no one walking under them and the area could be easily cleaned really well.

    I think Wildfire intends the fluorescent water dye for use in fountains and other self contained water features only.
     
  17. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    and water cooled PC's :mrgreen:
     
  18. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    We did a bubble effect for our 2006 season, filling the amphitheatre with bubbles. We used 12 CITC Bubblemax machines in conjunction with 6 CITC Hurricane 5000 fans, which they no longer make. Some nights the effect worked beautifully. Other nights, the wind just blew the bubbles out of the bowl. We had no issues with slippery surfaces except for the trusses the bubble machines were mounted on. With the bubble machines installed 20 to 25 ft. up their respective trusses and their corresponding fans forcing the bubbles even higher most of the bubbles never even hit the ground before they dried out. One night in particular, the effect worked really well staying in the air for a good 15 minutes in a slowly swirling vortex above the bowl. That night the air was hot, muggy and still; not exactly ideal conditions for comfort, but perfect for a bubble effect.

    The biggest issue for us with the bubble effect was the damage the bubbles did to the Hurricane 5000 fans when they ended up getting sucked into the air intakes. Repositioning the fans prevented further instances of failure, but I ended up replacing the Power Control Modules on all six fans, though only three were actually damaged. The other truly "fun" issue was cleaning the bubble machines at the end of our run. All of them had 1/2 in. of sludge in the bottom of the bubble reservoirs. If I remember correctly, I think it took me two days to clean all the machines.

    Overall, I would say that bubbles can be a good effect for a large, outdoor venue like mine, though I imagine they could work equally well in a large indoor setting. In a smaller space I would probably steer clear of bubbles for the reasons mentioned by others.
     
  19. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    OMG ! Ok Sorry to keep ranting about this last show..... BUT..... I pulled the projector down the other day, I'm loaning my CD tray remote douser to a colleague, I get the projector down to floor level and it's covered in spots! Yes bubble soap spots all over it! All over the Lens! The Bubble machines weren't even supposed to be near it ! and it's covered ! Am I using too many Exclaimation marks ????!?!?!?!
     
  20. mbandgeek

    mbandgeek Active Member

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    Yeah we had snow machines for a show this summer. They didn't make that much of a mess. There was only a slight residue on stage.

    With our placement, we couldn't get the snow to shoot far enough to where it would hit the stage. There is carpet on the floor in front of the apron. We tried high velocity fans. Thinking back, I think we should have mounted it on above the stage using carefully concealed fans to blow it downstage.... oh well.

    they were also really loud and sounded like a couple of shop-vacs.

    Overall, good effect.

    It was kinda entertaining seeing the first 3 rows of the audience covered in fake snow.
     

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