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Flying FX... (NOT a how-to question!)

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by TupeloTechie, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Active Member

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    I would like to start off saying that this is not a thread about how to fly humans. I am writing this because of some of the experiences I have had in the few years of theatrical experience I have had. I do not want to discuss the rigging of flying effects or any other topic on CB's TOS. However with that being said If this thread does happen to violate some rule please delete it or edit as needed.

    On with the show...

    I have only been doing theatre for about 6 years but in those 6 years I have experienced 2 different times when I have been involved with a production that involved the flying of a human. In both instances they were small local community theatres and in both instances no official rigging company was called in. In both cases nobody got injured, however also in both cases the rigging used to fly the said human was not anywhere close to the way that I have seen ZFX fly in a workshop that they gave. While I understand that there are probably multiple ways to rig the tackle for this type of effect I just don't know if they really did it safely, I didn't touch it.

    My point being is that:
    A: Community Theatres will fly people without calling in a professional because usually the price of a professional (from what I've heard, at the low end being $4K-5K, as apposed to the $400-500 of buying the (probably not right) equipment) is the entire budget or more for their show.
    B: Because of the danger and liability of the explanation of flying someone is so great there is not really any way to "learn" how to fly someone safely, the answer to the question of flight is always "hire a professional." Even in most books they won't explain the how-to, the only one I can find that explains it is Gillette's Stage Scenery .
    C: Because of the stubbornness in both points A and B we end up with unsafe practices in the community theatre level.

    I'm not versed in the practices of law, so I have no idea about the legal matters of explanation, but isn't there some way to release liability so that someone can explain the safe way to fly a human? Because just saying "hire a professional" doesn't seem to work, and while I would never do It, I just think that it would be somewhat better for these places to at least do it the proper way instead of using parts from the home depot.

    Any Discussion on this? Also this whole point also deals with pyro, however these places usually have to get past the fire marshal for these, so there isn't as much of a danger.
     
  2. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Basically off limits. Hire a professional is the ONLY advice that I will give on this topic, because it deals DIRECTLY with someone's life. There's a reason it costs so much. The people who are in the flying business use only the best equipment that has been tested properly and they have been trained properly. There is NO substitute for a flying company.
     
  3. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Active Member

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    please note that I am not asking for anyone on the booth to give such advice

    and while there is no substitute for a flying company believe it or not people still do substitute
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2008
  4. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    The thing is that everyone who has the knowledge knows that if they release it, and someone screws up and drops someone, it can come back to them and their methods.
     
  5. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Like most rigging or special FX, it is not learned through a book, because the books don't exist that spells everything out for you. Yes, there is information in the books that help you, especially in designing a safe system. This is something that if you want to learn how to do it, you need to go work for the companies that do it. Cirque, ZFX, and Foy are just a handful of places that do this. Even the largest broadway shows, both touring and install brin in Foy or ZFX to do their rigs. If you want to learn it, go to them to learn it. Both companies do sell "turnkey" systems and provide a ton of training on how to safetly use their systems. The theatre I am currently working for has two Foy trained people on staff, and we own 2 foy flying systems that are sitting in a warehouse that go out on the shows they were purchased for.
     
  6. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Just to add one other point to the discussion. If Foy and ZFX made the information available they would be out of business.

    It would be interesting to hear what "Whatrigger?" has to say on the topic since he flies people on a daily basis... I'll PM him and point this thread out.

    Hey Rigger there's such a catch 22 of how you get trained to fly people when it's too dangerous to train people how to do it... Care to comment on how you got trained to fly people?

    On the problem of schools and community theaters taking terrible risks and flying people without knowing what they are doing... If people like you shared "the secrets" would it make it safer or even more dangerous?
     
  7. What Rigger?

    What Rigger? I'm so fly....I Neverland.

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    Wow...this is a great one. Okay, see my comments/replies in uhm...let's see now...Red.



    :grin:
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2008
  8. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Thanks Rigger, let me ask you this follow up since you are the expert... If one of our young friends wanted to get into flying the first step would be to become a really good rigger. So how would you recommend they set them self up for a career in rigging?

    I'll start to answer my own question with links to the resources I know of:
    1) Jay Glerum, Harry Donovan, and/or Bill Sapsis host traveling seminars. 4 days and It'll set you back $1000.
    2) [URL='http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0809327414"]Jay Glerum's[/URL] Book
    3) Harry Donnovan's Book. Much more expensive than Glerum's but worth it as they compliment each other. Think of this as the advanced book.
     
  9. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    Delegation goes down, responsibility goes up

    It's not my fault i killed him, i was just following orders

    remember kids all rigging topics on cb are created in a hypothetical manor and not for how to guides for rigging, electricity and ground lifts are dangerous things and you might kill yourself but with rigging mistakes other people die not you. so don't do it
     
  10. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Don't forget there are lot's of ways to kill yourself too with bad rigging. For example a poorly loaded arbor in a runaway could cause stage weights to rain down on your head or you could launch yourself into the loading bridge.

    There are so many ways to die in theater... :dance:
     
  11. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I'll disagree with that one, you try sitting on a beam all day with a harness on and pulling up baskets that weigh 30#. There is a reason you get hazard pay while rigging.
     
  12. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    Fine,

    Rigging that is done for a show related nature such as flying people can hurt others, but footer those baskets can also hurt people IF YOU drop one
     
  13. What Rigger?

    What Rigger? I'm so fly....I Neverland.

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    Gaff! Sorry for the delay. Rigging flights on tall ships is killing me this week. Arrrrgh! like a pirate.
    Once again, me in RED


    I can NOT carry THIS book everywhere all the time. Although I hear if you can memorize Harry's book you MIGHT pass the ESTA exam. Might.

    The thing with rigging is this: all the books in the world don't mean richard if you don't go out and learn to apply it in the real world. Books don't make you a good climber or let you practice balancing on an i-beam 100ft up with no handrail and 60lbs of chain whipping beneath you. So seek those who know, and like I said before, if you're sincere about this, eventually the knowledge will come to you, you'll go home alive, and none of your sh*t will ever come down until you go back up to send it in.

    And just to belabor a point: if the lighting is bad, people are green. If the rigging is bad, people are dead. Yes?

    Again, anybody interested in this field, please feel free to PM me and I'll probably bore you to tears.

    Rock and/or roll!
     
    gafftaper likes this.

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