Looking to pull the trigger on a cold fogger

curtis73

Well-Known Member
I'm tired of renting and I've convinced the boss we need a low-lying fog machine. Here's what I need:

- I don't mind water ice but would like to avoid dry ice. Nothing is worse than constantly sourcing dry ice and then running out of it for a matinee when no one is open. Dry ice also requires instructing people how not to die or get frost bite while using it.
- This will be primarily used in two venues; a larger proscenium theater, and a 50x60 black box, so the focus needs to be on adequate volume (cu ft/min) and low volume (dB). I can't have "click, hummm, hisss" if the machine is under the seating risers of the black box. I realize that SOME noise is inevitable, but the quieter the better.
- No budget yet, that's part of this fact-finding mission. I'm noticing there seem to be multiple options under $2000

I did build one for a show by just ducting my regular fogger through a cooler full of ice, but it was an absolute mess. Things leaked, and it seemed to make it too cold and reduced the volume dramatically. Might as well get a good one. Thoughts?
 

curtis73

Well-Known Member
Looks like it uses CO2 as refrigerant? That would be a lovely way to do it, but I doubt I can convince my community-theater boss to pony up $7000.
 

MNicolai

Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia

Love these, but they don't sound like they fit the bill here. They're quite loud, and you have to source CO2 dewars from essentially the same distributors you'd get dry ice from. The nice thing is that you don't have to pick up large orders of dry ice every 2-3 nights. Even in an 800-seat theater you have to be strategic about how you locate and pipe them so the "Woooooosshhhffffff" of them triggering isn't obnoxious. Would never try to use them in a black box. That said, great effect, and when I've used them with a fair bit of duration, a large dewar for $100-150 was generally sufficient for a 4-5 show run.

Low-lying fog in any reasonable volume is always expensive and a PITA. The kinds of ice-in-a-cooler tricks that work for a haunted house don't scale well to a proscenium theater.

A lot also depends on how much duration of fog you need. 30-40 seconds -- much easier than a sustained effect for an entire scene.

Personally when I was doing designs for HS theater, I always factored the rentals and expendables costs into the production budget. I wouldn't try to purchase something like this because it doesn't get used nearly as often and consistently as other equipment does, and inevitably the needs for one show might require a very different solution than the next one.

I have not used an Anatri low fogger, but maybe something like their ICE-101 would viable here to some degree. Doing a quick calc based on tech specs though, it produces only 7% output of what an LSG MKII does, which isn't surprising because you can't defy physics on how much air volume you can chill with a given amount of H20 ice compared to dry ice or liquid CO2.

Looks like it uses CO2 as refrigerant? That would be a lovely way to do it, but I doubt I can convince my community-theater boss to pony up $7000.
Yes, liquid CO2. You would need a distributor to deliver dewars to your theater and refill as necessary. Still the same "don't lay down in the fog" as you would have with dry ice.

One of the nice things of the LSG MKII is the fogger is separate of the chiller, so you can used the fogger as a regular fogger even when you don't want low-lying fog.

See my other comments above about noise and such.

Regarding price, you can find these on the used market for a reasonable price -- well, reasonable if you can find something local. Otherwise it's a freight delivery. PRG has a used one for sale out of NJ on their Pro Shop site for $1k plus shipping. Bear in mind, the Molecular fluid that gives the best look for low-lying fog is $70/4L, which gives you about 45 minutes of continuous operation. So you have to factor fluid + CO2 costs into every production budget.
 

almorton

Well-Known Member
We've used glaciators twice in our theatre, and they are not bad. They're not as good as proper CO2 low foggers, but they're a decent compromise, and once the refrigerator has got down to temperature they're not too obtrusive - bit of noise but could be a lot worse. You can run the fog through duct for a few yards so the machine can be a bit offstage in the wings and behind some sound deadening baffling.
 

almorton

Well-Known Member
Love these, but they don't sound like they fit the bill here. They're quite loud, and you have to source CO2 dewars from essentially the same distributors you'd get dry ice from.
I've seen the Unique solutions foggers which also use CO2 dewars up close, and they're remarkably quiet when they are operating, and generate masses of very low, think and dense white fog. But they won't fit the bill for the same reasons. They're pretty large, too.
 

aeh20s

Well-Known Member
We've used glaciators twice in our theatre, and they are not bad. They're not as good as proper CO2 low foggers, but they're a decent compromise, and once the refrigerator has got down to temperature they're not too obtrusive - bit of noise but could be a lot worse. You can run the fog through duct for a few yards so the machine can be a bit offstage in the wings and behind some sound deadening baffling.

The Glaciator was the other thing I was thinking of but couldn't recall it.
 

curtis73

Well-Known Member
The Glaciator was the other thing I was thinking of but couldn't recall it.
The only glaciator I used was about 10 years ago. I recall it was about 4' x 3' x 3' and weighed about 600 lbs. Have they gotten less bulky?
 

curtis73

Well-Known Member
I will also say that this doesn't need to be Disney-level performance. We're a community theater that does really well at doing what community theaters are meant for... pro-level emulation. We offer as close to a professional environment as part of our educational charter. Having said that, we have to do it on shoestring budgets. For instance, I'm in the middle of building Secret Garden right now for that large proscenium, so it has to be done in a short-tour build, and my budget is $3600 for set, props, paint, truck rental, and FX. I mention that because if we have fog, it's usually good enough. If I'm doing Sweeney Todd and need fog, it doesn't need to be 6 million cubic feet with a cascade off the deck, it needs to suggest fog and be visible without being embarrassing, if that makes sense.

I would rather have slightly inadequate fog for $2000 than Disney-level fog for $6000.
 

aeh20s

Well-Known Member
These cost about $200 a pop and can be used with just regular ice.

 

curtis73

Well-Known Member
I'm going to try to find one to play with, but the videos I've seen of the ADJ MK2 seems like they are really loud. Great for a DJ rig with 1500w of dubstep and house music, but maybe not so great for a black box?
 

TheaterEd

Renaissance Man
Fight Leukemia
I have used Antari ICE-101 for a black box theater in years past. It was about five years ago so I can't quite recall how loud it was, but it worked quite nicely and fits in your budget. If at all possible, see if you can try one out it your space first.

Note: the pump to empty the melted ice is quite loud, but we would just have that turned off and empty it after each show.
 

Michael K

Well-Known Member
My last year at old job they got a pair of Froggy's Fog Poseidon Aqua 2s (which also use water vapor and conventional fog) to replace a single larger CO2 chilling fogger that was rented previously. The convinces of just needing water and fog juice was definitely one of the main factors for choosing then over buying a CO2 unit. They still worked after sitting for 2 years with little maintenance, so they seem to be pretty solid. I remember them being fairly quiet, they were used during one of the quieter scenes, and the output was almost as good as the CO2 unit, but I've only seen them in ice, so ymmv on this. This is what it looked like on a ~50x40 sheet of ice during rehearsals, it was a little less even with all the air movement during performances.
 

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curtis73

Well-Known Member
I love every spec about that Froggy's Fog machine except the run time. 90% of the shows I do, the 32 minutes of 100% fog would be adequate. We're doing an adaptation of Sleepy Hollow next season and I'm afraid I might be refilling at intermission. Not the end of the world, and I could likely rig up a gravity feed to keep supplying it with fluid.... unless they have an optional larger tank?
 

Techadvisor

Member
I'm tired of renting and I've convinced the boss we need a low-lying fog machine. Here's what I need:

- I don't mind water ice but would like to avoid dry ice. Nothing is worse than constantly sourcing dry ice and then running out of it for a matinee when no one is open. Dry ice also requires instructing people how not to die or get frost bite while using it.
- This will be primarily used in two venues; a larger proscenium theater, and a 50x60 black box, so the focus needs to be on adequate volume (cu ft/min) and low volume (dB). I can't have "click, hummm, hisss" if the machine is under the seating risers of the black box. I realize that SOME noise is inevitable, but the quieter the better.
- No budget yet, that's part of this fact-finding mission. I'm noticing there seem to be multiple options under $2000

I did build one for a show by just ducting my regular fogger through a cooler full of ice, but it was an absolute mess. Things leaked, and it seemed to make it too cold and reduced the volume dramatically. Might as well get a good one. Thoughts?
Look at the Froggy Fogger ultrasonic. No ice needed just water. It is around $2200.00. With 2 of these we can bury a 50 X 60 Stage within 7 to 10 seconds at 100%. They can run DMX and control the output for smaller venues.
 

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