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Exploding Jar

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by erico3456, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. erico3456

    erico3456 Member

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    Hey, We are doing Crazy For You and in the one scene the cowboys are firing blanks and then when the bartender tries to fire the gun it has a bullet in it and it hits a jar on a table which explodes from the impact. We are looking for a way that we can safely accomplish this task. I have looked at break-a-way glass jars/bottles which look like they will work fine with safely having the jar break apart, but I am stuck on how to trigger the jar to explode since break-a-ways break when they hit the floor and we are trying to make it look like it was shot at. Does anyone have experience with Break-a-ways and an idea on how to accomplish the effect. Of course we are focused on safety and only want a method that will be realistic but still very safe. Thanks.

    (also if anyone knows of one of the cheapest places to get break-a-ways from)
     
  2. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    If it has to be a bottle then this idea won't be of much use, but if you are willing to take a few liberties with the stage directions in the script...

    One way to do this effect on the cheap is to find a pottery factory and ask for "greenware"; that is, unfired pottery. Unfired pottery is basically molded clay. It is quite fragile and leaves no sharp edges when it breaks.

    Put the pottery near a flat then use a spring loaded rod to poke a hole through from the back. If you are careful about how you tether the spring loaded rod then it will retract into the flat after it's done its job.

    Another option is to hang something on the flat on a retractable bolt, like picture, clock, shelf, etc. Retract the bolt and whatever is hanging from it will fall to the ground. You can even rig a double drop, where pulling one bolt causes the thing to pivot, and pulling a second bolt causes it to drop.
     
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  3. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    You could use [user]sk8rsdad[/user]'s idea for the spring loaded "pin" and turn it on it's side. Built it into the top of the bar on which the bottle sits so that the spring drives it up through the bar into the bottle and gravity retracts it again. You could have it triggered by an actor behind the bar or buy hooking the spring on something that can be released by a pull string from off stage.
     
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  4. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    If you are going to use breakaways and you do want the "shot off the counter" effect, put a solenoid behind something on the counter and trigger with that. The super fast action means no one will really see it and it will most certainly look like it was shot off the counter (get a solenoid with plenty long throw).
     
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  5. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    All the ideas mentioned above are good ones. Another way in which this effect has been pulled off is through the use of mouse or rat traps. There are several different ways to rig it but essentially; imagine setting a rat trap and instead of the little arm that holds the bail you use the plunger of a solenoid. Trigger the solenoid, the arm snaps and you have more than enough force to shatter greenware or trick glass. This particular effect is, I believe, described in the script of Sleuth as, at one time a character has to shoot a bunch of plates off of a mantel piece.
     
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  6. erico3456

    erico3456 Member

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    Thanks, some of these ideas seem viable and will get me started thinking in the right direction. I don't have that much experience with solenoids even though i quickly looked it up. Could anyone explain to me what it is and how it would work, that would be great. Also if anyone has any experiance with break-a-ways and could share their thoughts. And if anyone knows of a good inexpensive place to buy solenoids and break-a-ways let me know, thanks.
     
  7. ScottT

    ScottT Lighting Programmer

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  8. David Ashton

    David Ashton Active Member

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    If you visit your local pinball arcade and talk nicely to the technician he/she will show you how to rig a solenoid, as pinball machines are full of them and it's more than likely there will be an old machine you can scavenge from.
     
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  9. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Here is a link to one of my favorite solenoid suppliers Ledex. They supply every shape size, and function of solenoid you can imagine.

    Think of the solenoid as a motor but instead of going in circles it pulls or pushes a bar, rod, lever, whatever. < actually they make rotary solenoids as well but thatt'll just confuse things>
     

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