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Disposable Confetti Cannons

Discussion in 'Safety' started by Ken Summerall Jr, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. Ken Summerall Jr

    Ken Summerall Jr Member

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    So at an event this past weekend (dance competition, ugh) the renters snuck in some of these 24" disposable confetti cannons and shot them off on stage at the end of the evening. Kinda upset me because:

    1. They didn't ask.
    2. They didn't even attempt to clean up.
    3. As they were leaving they even joked about the fact that they didn't clean up.

    But I digress... Is this a safety issue? From what I can find online they used compressed nitrogen. I did look at one after they left and it says for outdoor use only.

    My question is whether or not these pose a safety hazard. We will probably require previous approval for use from now on (since the client did not disclose their intent to use them nor did they attempt to clean up) but I wonder if we need to ban the use all together.


    Thanks,
    Ken
     
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  2. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Occupation:
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    Nitrogen wouldn't present any toxicity issues at all. the biggest Issue I can see is Safety. If you arte going to use any kind of 'Explosive' or something that creates a projectile you should have a safety plan in place. It should spell out how you will guarantee that no one will get hurt, including spotting procedures etc. A list including possible injuries and proper plans to handle them in case something does go wrong. Ultimately you have the right to ban the use of any SPFX whether reasonable or not. A $500 premium for the use of Confetti for covering cleaning costs is not unreasonable.
     
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  3. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Ahhhhh.... Nitrogen is not the problem. My question is, "What is used to release the gas?" Since they are disposable, I doubt there is a valve involved, probably a diaphragm with a small pyro charge that ruptures it.
     
  4. Ken Summerall Jr

    Ken Summerall Jr Member

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    I don't think there was any pyro involved. I ripped one apart and it looked like there was a pin that was forced to rupture the diaphragm.
     
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  5. gbirdsall

    gbirdsall Member

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    When ever a client wanted to use confetti we would charge a $500 clean up fee, require a spotter for each cannon and we were required to pack and seal each cannon.

    The last part seamed odd to me so I started asking why and apparently on a high school dance show my old TD was working some kids though it would be funny to drop a golf ball and some paint balls in the cannon and seal it. Thankfully when it went off no one was hurt but it did cause some damage from both paint and the golf balls hitting some booth windows.

    Like anything special effects related its all about control from beginning to end.
     
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  6. Ken Summerall Jr

    Ken Summerall Jr Member

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    Well I would imagine that policy put a damper on anyone wanting to use confetti!

    The golf ball is scary, that could have really hurt someone.
     
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  7. Amiers

    Amiers Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.

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    Add a few extra charges to the invoice and send it off. I’d say 750. 500 for the clean up and 250 for them not specificing it in their advance/rider.
     
  8. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    And understand: You don't necessarily have to collect...

    Collecting's not bad, but you're trying to make a point, as much as anything.
     
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  9. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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    A venue in a nearby city: "Confetti - $1000 cleanup deposit, Glitter - $10,000 cleanup deposit."
     
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  10. DGotlieb

    DGotlieb Member

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    Generally the way these are activated is a spring loaded pin to puncture the nitrogen cartridge. There is no pyro. However there is still a lot of force involved with the sudden release of that cartridge so it should be a effect with safety protocols and a large cleaning fee... i guarantee you will have random confetti fall from somewhere during the middle of your next 3 performances... and then another 6 months from now.
     
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  11. Chase P.

    Chase P. Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    Freelance lighting designer, production manager
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    If glitter is stage herpes, is confetti stage chicken pox?

    To extend the metaphor, you should absolutely charge them a cleanup fee, to prevent the spread of the pox to other renters. If one gets away with it, others (or the original group next time) may also want to.

    Personally, I've never had much issue with the 3/4"x2" tissue paper confetti, unless it gets wet. The small paper hole punch style is pretty virulent, though obviously nothing like glitter.
     
  12. Hansentd

    Hansentd Member

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    The gas release probably isn't an issue, but having the paper sitting on one of your lights up in the grid unseen is a great recipe for a fire.
     
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  13. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Show tonight was supposed to have confetti cannons.... got cut because they could not produce a fire cert for the confetti.

    -Ask for a fire cert and require they follow it
    -Charge for the cleanup
    -Make them demo it... and charge for the cleanup
    -Have them pack them infront of you
    -Require extra labor for spotters

    At that point... you won't be doing confetti anymore. If they do it they are in breach of the agreement and then let the lawyers figure it out.
     
  14. Ancient Engineer

    Ancient Engineer Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    Once we had to contend with "cannonless" glitter...

    At the end of an expensive business theater show the marketing person saw fit to jump on stage with a *pail* of glitter and proceed to toss it into the air while shouting the slogan for the event.

    The producer, who was on the board of the business, was non-plussed when the venue owner denied the removal of their show equipment (by putting a padlock on the roll-up) until "every stinking microscopic glitter chunk is picked up"...

    After an intervention on the part of the company president, and a brief visit by the local constable, the marketing person was summoned from the after party and they proceeded to go buy shop vacs and start sucking up the mess.

    Then a few hours later they had rolls and rolls of duct-tape wadded up dabbing the floor and everything else.

    The show ended at 22:00 and they left the clean venue (with their gear) at 6:25. They directly dumpstered the shop-vacs which were gathered up (and cleaned) by my more frugal fellow hands.

    The president of the company was regularly reminding the offender how they'd really have liked to gone to the after party and that he was grateful for the help the producer and crew were providing to the marketing person who "should have to pick up all this c#@p alone".

    Because we worked for the venue, we were instructed by the shop foreman to wait (now on OT) to do the load-out. We ate our pizzas and watched the ad-hoc cleanup crew go to it...

    Yikes.

    I'm relieved the venue owner wasn't going to stand for that falderal or I'd likely have been on the stage-hand-glitter-suckin'-team.
     
  15. Dionysus

    Dionysus Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    Could not agree more.

    Yes confetti is generally 'harmless', however it is FLAMMABLE and can catch fire, can create a slipping hazard (I know the Green Book (as we call it here) has something to say about that), and if fired directly into someone's face or such can cause direct injury especially if debris is present.

    Confetti and Glitter are also MASSIVE cleanup jobs and that should be accounted for.

    My facility WILL NOT clean up after you for free, and neither should yours. The venue should always be left in at least as good condition as it is found it. The next event/show will not appreciate confetti all over the place.
    ALWAYS charge for cleanup, or allow them to clean (however require a monitored standard).
     
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  16. Malabaristo

    Malabaristo Well-Known Member

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    I had a surprise confetti incident with one of these disposable, gas-propelled devices, and was more pleasantly surprised to find that the confetti actually was flame-retardant. Now, there's no way they could have proven that to my satisfaction beforehand with this category of product (super cheap, untraceable origin, no documentation), but it was interesting to note.

    Fortunately, they took care of the cleanup... it was a school-sponsored event so I wouldn't have had any mechanism for charging anyone
     
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  17. Amiers

    Amiers Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.

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    You charge them with their time. And if they refuse then tell them they can find a different location in the school to do their events. In a political way of course.
     
  18. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    The sentence I wrote into out replacement rental book, not yet approved, was something like:

    "Glitter shall not be brought onto the premises without the written consent of the theatre manager, issued well in advance of first-day, and the renter will be responsible for all after-run cleanup." ("well in advance", I note elsewhere, means "like, 2 or 3 weeks before load-in".)
     
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  19. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    This should be the case for any commercially available tissue confetti purchased from a reputable company. I worked in a pyro/spfx shop for 6 years and we regularly tested our confetti shipments. They would turn black and curl, but never hold a flame. YMMV, of course.

    That said, I'm not sure if we ever had genuine flame certs. The product was straight from China, so short of having UL (or a similar laboratory) test it, all we could do was our own sample/batch testing.

    Of course if you get enough of just about anything hot enough, you will have a problem.
     
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  20. Ken Summerall Jr

    Ken Summerall Jr Member

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    Thanks folks! Lots of good ideas and glad to see that I wasn't the only one that has been "surprised" by a client. I will be using this thread to build a confetti policy. I have to convince the powers that be of course and this will be a good source of info.
     

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