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Fire effect

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by renegadeblack, Nov 21, 2008.

  1. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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    New Haven Area, CT
    I'm going to be doing a production of "The Crucible" and have to do a sort of fire effect. There's going to be a little fire pit on stage and I'm going to light it with red from the back and orange from the front (I forget what gel numbers) using fresnels. I was wondering if you guys might have any suggestions for making a sort of flickering effect. I have a colortran innovator 48/96 board and I have absolutely no idea how to program effects into it any I'm also not going to rent anything to do this. I was wondering if anyone maybe knows how to do a random sort of flicker effect so that I don't have to sit there and tap the buttons. Any ideas? Step by step directions would be greatly appreciated!
  2. arik52

    arik52 Member

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    We did this at my school two years ago for The Crucible. We had a specific fire unit that was covered in red and orange gels, but I'm not sure if we made it or what. I'll talk to those who were involved and see what I can find out.
  3. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    I've had good success with a silk flame effect for the fire, programming a slow step effect with a few fresnels overhead focused on the actors' torso and face crossing through the fire to provide the illusion that the fire is the source of light on stage.

    I'm not sure how to do step effects on a Colortran board though. At the time I was using an ETC Express.
  4. thommyboy

    thommyboy Active Member

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    I just did this for our Crucible a few weeks ago. I used two inky (3" fresnel) below and behind our firewood. I built a small effect that simply faded the two lights between full and 60% with a varied in out and dwell time. I have not worked with an Innovator board before but the info in the manual pretty good. If you don't have a copy of it
    here it is.
  5. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Central Wisconsin
    I also have the Innovator 48/96. Use the link to the manual above to find out how to program an effect. With that effect you can assign it to a submaster or a cue. I've done both. I would reccommend assigning it to a cue, because sometimes if you use the submaster slider to bring up the effect, it doesn't always stop the effect when bringing the slider down. And if you happen to hit the submaster's bump button, the effect will start and never end.

    If you can't access the manual, here's what you want to do.

    Hit SelEff (Soft Key 5) and then [1]. This creates an effect (Edit:This would create Effect number one. You can create more effects by changing the number.). You can name it, but you don't have to. Underneath the name you can change whether it runs forwards, backwards, random, or front to back then back to front (Bounce.) Then you can set your fade, dwell times for the first step. To set lights, each purple box represents a channel. So if your fire effect lights are channels 50, 51, and 52, what you might do is Step 1 would be CH 50 LVL 50, CH 51 LVL 10 and CH 52 LVL 80. Then repeat for step 2, step 3, etc... To add, instert, or clear steps you use the softkeys.

    To program an effect to a cue, set up your stage lights so that it looks like it will be for the cue. You can change this look later if you'd like. To record it to a cue, then hit the usual [RECORD CUE][#] [TIME][#] but then before you hit enter type in [EFFECT][1]. This assigns the effect to the cue.

    Also, I find it better on the Innovator to have two cues - one for all other lights and one that brings up the sequence. Programming, given that you've created your effect as Effect 1:

    Set scene lights to include the first step of your sequence.
    [RECORD CUE] [1] [TIME] [3] [FOLLOW] [.1]
    [RECORD CUE] [1][.][1] [TIME] [.1] [EFFECT] [1]

    That would bring up the stage lights on a "3 second" fade, then immediately upon completion of bringing the full stage lights up the effect starts.

    If you want to play with it on your computer, Leviton finally has an offline editor for the Innovator series available on their website for Windows XP only.

    Afterthought: This may be due to my NSI dimmers, but I find that if I record the lights used into the effect in to the orginal cue between 15-25, this keeps the lights on without anyone seeing the light, but it makes the fade times of the effect a lot more realistic. Then the effect in the following cue brings them up to noticeable visibility.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2008
  6. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    New York City
    I don't know what other types of fixtures you have available to you, but if you have ones other than fresnels experiment some. If you watch a fire, the flicker is a lot sharper in intensity changes and in my opinion fresnels can't recreate it well because the lamp takes longer to warm up and cool down than an HPL or Par.
  7. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    Really depends on the lamp type and particularly the wattage (as larger wattage lamps have larger filaments and thus more thermal inertia), right [user]Pie4Weebl[/user]? Fresnels may be all the OP has available. Ideally, one would want multiple fixtures such as inkies and birdies concealed in the fire, which could be reinforced by normal theatrical fixtures.

    The one thing I would add to [user]lieperjp[/user]'s explanation is that I've found pattern type "random" very useful. By duplicating steps, one can "weight" the randomness in the desired fashion. For instance, if you desire a brighter effect, add more steps with the channel(s) at a higher level. You'll still get a few lows, but many more of the highs. I think three channels (red, yellow, orange) are the minimum I'd try to use, and at least 15-20 steps in the effect. Experiment with different fade and dwell times as well as levels. The effects feature of modern consoles is much more than just a chaser, even though that's often the only way it's used.

    See also this thread:

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