Fog Machine Options

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Location
Seattle, WA
So for my new theater I'm trying to decide which way to go in purchasing fog machines. Ideally I would love to have a good Dry Ice fogger, a Chemical Fogger, and a Hazer but we'll see if I can afford that.

Option 1) Lemaitre Pea Souper. About $700. Advantages: It's a big bad Dry ice fogger. Appears to be about the best you can get without spending a fortune. Limits: price and pain of getting and handling dry ice.

Option 2) I've been thinking about a Martin Jem ZR33 for my standard chemical fogger (price about $800). Buy one of these get some quick dissipating fog and install a chiller. There have been several threads about do it yourself chillers here. I also found this chiller for sale for $150... which doesn't seem like that bad of a if you consider your time valuable. Advantages... $950 and I have a chemical fogger and a low lying fogger. No CO2 hazzard. A big Bag O' Ice is cheaper and easier to get than Dry ice. Ice Chiller provides low fog for hours.

Option 3) Antari Ice 101. A fogger with a built in chiller that holds 20 pounds of ice. Looks like the price is around $600. Looks like you can use it without the ice for a normal chemical fog effect. Nice all in one unit.

So my questions to you:

1) Is a good chiller combined with quick dissipating low lying chemical formula fluid REALLY as good as real dry ice?

2) What do you think of the Antari Ice 101 with the built in chiller vs another fogger and a home built/purchased chiller?

3) Anybody actually used the Antari Ice 101?

4) What do you think of the Martin Jem ZR33 for a general chemical fogger? Do you have any other suggestions for a good chemical fogger for around $800 or less. The theater is a 55 foot square black box, so I don't need the biggest baddest unit LeMaitre sells.

5) Favorite Hazers for a small space and a price around $800 or so?
 
Last edited:

jonhirsh

Active Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2004
Location
Toronto, Ontario and Valencia, California
The problem with Chilled fog is that when an actor steps in it, the fog kicks up. Therefore it is no longer low lying. With dry ice fog you can step in it all you want and nothing is going to happen.

The real questions is which will you actualy use. IMO i would get a hazer as that is something you can use in every show. A dry ice machine is kinda a special effect thing.

JH
 

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Location
Seattle, WA
My point with the dry ice being a pain wasn't finding it, that's not a big deal in Seattle. But it's a heck of a lot more expensive than a bag of ice. And there are the general hassles of handling it safely instead of go to 7-11 buy two bags of ice and dump in a chiller.

If you are using a a fast dissipating fluid that is supposedly designed to be a low lying fog in a chiller is it still a big problem having it kick up when people walk through?

As for the hazer it's definitely on the list of things I want to get... however, I'm concerned about the fire alarm situation. I'm going to rent one and test it before I buy one only to find out it sets off the fire alarm every time we try to use it.
 

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Location
Seattle, WA
If a hazer sets it off, a fog machine will do it too.
JH
Thus my interest in chillers and dry ice foggers. Like I said, once I have access to the building I'm going to rent some stuff and test it with the Fire Department knowing that I'm testing.
 

icewolf08

CBMod
CB Mods
Joined
Jan 11, 2007
Location
Lititz, PA
Or you could get your low fog and regular fog in one machine, the Look Solutions CryoFog. It is an all in one unit that uses liquid CO2 as coolant for low fog, but under DMX control it can be operated as a standard fogger as well.
 

jonhirsh

Active Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2004
Location
Toronto, Ontario and Valencia, California
I think your missing my point. Chillers chill regualr fog...

When you walk in chilled fog weither it be nitrogyn cooled or ice.
It kicks up and is no longer low lying.

It will set off the fire alarms. I can vouch that this is true because i have done it. If your space has an issue with the alarms being sensitive, they you will have an issue with low lying fog.

The only exception to this is dry ice.


JH
 

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Location
Seattle, WA
Thanks John. One of the key things I wanted to get from this thread was how different does chilled chemical fog act from CO2 fog. Sounds like in your opinion it's REALLY not even close. That's good to know.

As far as the Haze vs. Fog and the alarms. Yeah first I'm going to rent some gear and test it in the space to see how the sensitive the alarms are. While you are right that if haze sets it off fog will too, my point is that hazing a whole room for lighting effect is far more likely to set off the alarms than a few blasts of quick dissipating fog fluid for a quick effect.

If I had all the money in the world then clearly I would love to have all three units but odds are I can only afford one or two. Thus the chiller gets very tempting as it allows one unit to double.

By the way an additional question in the past I've been told don't buy a fogger/hazer as it doesn't do either very well. Is that still the case? Are there any good ones out there?
 

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Location
Seattle, WA
There were a few fogger/hazers out about 8 years ago when I last purchased a fogger. I think it was simply a matter of flipping a switch and changing the fluid. It was probably such a bad idea that nobody makes them now.

So what about chemical fogger brands. I've been thinking about a Martin Magnum 800 or 1200. Any other brands I should consider. My last fogger was a High End F-100, which could really belt it out. Again this is for use in a Black Box that's about 55 feet square so I don't need a monster fogger. I was thinking the magnum series because there are several levels of output to choose from.
 

gpforet

Active Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2006
Location
Atlanta Metro
I have used both and here's my experience.

A fog chiller works. However, the points about it getting kicked up by actors is true, and quick disappating juice doesn't stop that, it just dissapates more quickly. Also, for a fog chiller to create a really nice low-lying bed, you need alot of fog. Even to fill black box stages, I had to resort to a big rosco 1800 watt constant fogger.

When I have used dry ice, I can usually get by with about 30 lbs per show. I have my own hot water dry ice fogger which I built, and by including a low volume blower feeding the tank, I can control the amount of fog onstage. The problem with dry ice is that it disappates, and keeping it in an ice chest, or even freezer doesn't help. When you consider the surface temperature of dry ice, then trying to preserve it in a freezer which only goes down to 20 degrees is fruitless. I usually keep it in styofoam coolers and plan for a 50% evaporation over 24 hours, so when I'm doing two shows (fri and sat), I buy 150% of what I'll need.

The other thing I've found with fog machines and chillers is that quick dissapating fog juice clogs my foggers much more quickly than coventional juice. When I'm using quick dis. juice, I have to clean nozzles and heat exchangers every 2 weeks. It's a pain.

So, in conculsion, if the show calls for low lying fog, I opt for dry ice and discuss the costs and logistics with the director up front. Typically, for black box, that's about $100 per weekend for two shows.
 

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Location
Seattle, WA
Good news. I just learned that the local Fire Marshal has had it with false alarms so they are requiring all new construction to have heat detectors, not smoke detectors. So I should be able to Fog and Haze all I want. Sweet!!
 

Grog12

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2006
Location
Denver, CO
I personally have never had anything but trouble with Le MAitre hazers. No matter how we've set them they usually come out more like smoke than haze...but that's just my expeirience I know others have had success with them.
 

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Location
Seattle, WA
I had a Rosco rep trying to give me the hard sell on their hazer and how it's the only one approved by Actor's Equity.

Anybody like them? Are they REALLY any safer than anything else?
 

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Location
Seattle, WA
I personally have never had anything but trouble with Le MAitre hazers. No matter how we've set them they usually come out more like smoke than haze...but that's just my expeirience I know others have had success with them.
Hey Grog Welcome to the booth. You've had a lot of great personal insight to share in your recent posts. Thanks. I don't remember if you posted in the new member forum when you first joined up or not... but if you didn't please do. Tell us where you are and what you do, post a link to your theater or business. It's your one free shot to shamelessly promote yourself.
 

Grog12

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2006
Location
Denver, CO
Hey Grog Welcome to the booth. You've had a lot of great personal insight to share in your recent posts. Thanks. I don't remember if you posted in the new member forum when you first joined up or not... but if you didn't please do. Tell us where you are and what you do, post a link to your theater or business. It's your one free shot to shamelessly promote yourself.
Thanks,
I'd swear I did...I'll have to look because I can't remember if I did or not.
 

Grog12

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2006
Location
Denver, CO
I had a Rosco rep trying to give me the hard sell on their hazer and how it's the only one approved by Actor's Equity.
Anybody like them? Are they REALLY any safer than anything else?
Uhm...

A) BS to the only one approved by AEA.
B) Boo to AEA and all their silly haze guidelines. I'm sorry it I have just worked with too many whiney actors who even when using AE approved haze fluid did little whiney complaints. Coughing like I'd lit up a cigarette on stage.

http://www.actorsequity.org/docs/safesan/equipment-based.pdf
There findings and descions on how smoke/haze effects should be used with actors on stage.

All that being said...I haven't used a Rosco hazer...:lol:
 

Sean

Active Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2007
Location
Alexandria, VA
Uhm...
A) BS to the only one approved by AEA.
QUOTE]

I'll second the "BS".

AEA (with ESTA) has set levels of concentration of glycol, glycerin, and mineral oil. Basically, as long as the concentration is below the limit, ANY machine is fine. But you'd have to get from the manufacturer a "calibration value" (or something like that, I don't have the literature in front of me right now). Then you use a particulate meter to determine how much of whatever chemical is in the air.

In terms of hazers, if you're in a theatrical environment where noise matters, get a Unique Hazer from Look Solutions. I've been very happy with the one we purchased two years ago, and I just spec'ed two more for a new space. Variable output from a hint of haze to near "full on the fogger" output. And pretty quiet the whole time.

--Sean
 
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread