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Flame Tracks

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by DarSax, Jan 11, 2007.

  1. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

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    Hey all. So I know some of you know this, but the theme for my schools annual talent show this year is Back to the Future. The theme really only connects the pretty unrelated acts, but there are skits interspersed that apply directly to the theme.

    So for the finale, I want an unbelievable sound and light show culminating with the DeLorean travelling through time (we're making a DeLorean, we're figuring that out later). The lihgts are all going to start flashing and building, the sound is going to be building, until BOOM! AUDIENCE IS BLINDED AND WOWED.

    Then the lights go out...except for the characteristic tire tracks of flame left on stage.
    ----------------------------------------
    Of course, we can't do pyro. But what I want to do is emulate that effect with lighting. I'm thinking that while most of the audience can't see the stage, if I have flat orange light emanating from the ground, it'll light up the haze enough for the audience to realize the effect.

    The problem is how to cheaply create groundlight with incredibly thin materials.

    Best case scenario: Californeon, electroluminescent tape. Flat and bright. Of course, for what we'd need it'd cost about $3600. Moving on.

    So now I have to figure the best way to evenly distribute some flat light. Some ideas I came up with :

    >Orange rope lights, if I can get 'em and if they're cheap enough. Not the best effect, but maybe I could put them in a 'box' of diffusion to make them look better? Like I said though--for the most part, the foor isn't visible to the audience.

    >GAMTubed flourescent lights. These aren't exactly flat, but they're cheap and bright enough so that if we just had single bulbs forming a line it wouldn't look stupid.

    >Some sort of box. For argument's sake, it'd be like laying a fresnell on the ground and pointing it towards the audience. Then, encase the beam in a long box, but with the top open, in hopes that the light would bounce around in the box enough to come out of the top.



    ANY OTHER IDEAS? Cost is a big factor, but I really want this effect. Needs to be thin, bright, linear, and orange. :cool:
     
  2. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Try edge lighting some plexi. paint the entire surface, then using a Dremel or router remove the paint over the area of the tire track. just take about 1/128" or 1/64th or the plexi. just enough to disturb the surface, and slightly etch it. This "anomaly" in the surface of the plexi will cause it to catch the light rather well. It's sort of like those signs in restaraunts. I used this technique on a sword once. I made the blade from plexi then burnished the edges, the only part of the sword that then glowed was the edge of the blade, it was lit with LEDs in the hilt btw. Great effect, and if your going to be in a low light situation anyway...... PLay with it on a small scale. You might even be able to use several "Hibrite" red LEDs to edge light the plexi.

    Just a thought.
     
  3. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

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    Response to Van:

    I like the plexi idea, but I'm worried about cost. I have some frosted plexi lying around, but I don't know how to cut it. What you said about the etching makes sense though. Couldn't get a comparable effect with diffuse, could ya? (Doubt it).

    By the way, cost on this thing is like, $100-$150 or so. Any more than that and I run into problems (though if after the effect I'm left with materials I can use, I might be able to swing the higher ends of that range...)
     
  4. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    For each track, have a red, an orange, and a yellow ropelight running down each chasing at different speeds, all under diffusion material. You can get ropelight and chase controllers cheap.
     
  5. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    What about two of City Theatrical's Beam Benders with the angle REALLY flat focusing all of a source4's light down into a low path through fog. Throw in some redish orange gel and there you go. Go to www.citytheatrical.com Click on "lighting accessories" and "Beam Bender".
     
  6. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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  7. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Several strips of Duralight on a chaser would be the ticket. You could even cover them with a very thin strip of cotton to give some texture to the visual.
     
  8. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I really think that the rope light (DuraLight)is going to be the best option for a few reasons: you can run red, yellow, and orange, and chase them at different speeds, with cotton over it (as BillESC suggested), and this effect will be able to create the long strip that you're looking for, in my opinion any lighting coming from the sides will not look like it is coming up from the ground like the "Back to the Future" fire tire tracks on the ground. You could even pull up the cotton a little bit to make it look like there are fingers of flame. And if you're really crazy, and actually have a time machine going from a downstage corner out the opposite upstage corner, or a time machine going across the stage, you could build it so that you can roll out the ropelight from underneath it as it races across the stage., and you would activate the chaser just as it starts to unroll.
     
  9. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

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    Soundlight--that's not what I want with the time machine (it's supposed to be going out towards the audience, like the headlights are facing towards the audience.

    But the rope light idea(s) are PERFECT. I didn't even think of chasing them, but if I could alternate between colors slowly like fire--that'd be AMAZING. Oh man, this is going to be amazing. (The cotton idea is quite intriguing, quite intriguing indeed...)

    Is online the best place to buy duralight, or would a theatrical lighting supplier carry it? (Is there a good place to get it for cheap? I wasn't exaggerating when I said I didn't have that much money, unfortunately...)

    By the way--would I want a "chasing" duralight, or a "static" duralight? Would it be cheaper just to plug the static strands into dimmers, or can I not do that?
     
  10. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I bet BillESC would be happy to sell it to you and give you the best deal he can. You might be able to find a cheaper rope light product... but as has been discussed at length in other threads... there is a lot of crap out there in rope light and you will get what you pay for.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2007
  11. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    If you get the stuff that plugs in to straight line voltage, I'm pretty sure that you can just set up a chase that goes something like red&yellow-orange-red&yellow-yellow&orange-orange-red&orange-repeat and have that be the effect for the "fire."

    This is a really cool idea! Sounds like it's gonna be a good show.
     
  12. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

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    Ooh, soundlight--that'd be beast. (I don't use possibly outdated adjectives.)

    And it's going to be a great show. ("Good." Pshaw.)




    Not that I'm totally excited or anything.
     
  13. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Dar Sax,

    Chasing Duralight would be the best since it can create the linear (travel) effect you are looking for. With several inexpensive sequencers you could not only have the back to front chase but change colors to boot. :)

    Duralight is available in clear, red, blue, green and purple. Here's a pic of the product.

    [​IMG]

    Feel free to contact me if you need more information or detailed specifications.
     
  14. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Bummer Duralight doesn't come in yellow. You could cut and scotch tape gel around the clear stuff to turn it yellow.
     
  15. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I've found yellow duralight on other sites...hmmm. I think that a red/yellow/orange combo would be the best, but budget and availability may limit that.

    How long are the tire tracks going to be?
     
  16. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I believe yellow and amber are also available. I'll check with the warehouse.
     

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