Make a burning smell for show?

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by Eli Vatsaas, Jun 21, 2018.

  1. Eli Vatsaas

    Eli Vatsaas Member

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    My HS theatre is currently preparing for a production of “The Science of Murder”. In the script it mentions the smell of burning flesh. I wanted to create a smell that would give this impression to the audience. Without actually smelling terrible of course. I also don’t want this scent to linger. We don’t have to budget to buy any scent machines. What do i use to achieve this unusual request?
     
  2. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Eli Vatsaas To possibly point you in a favorable direction, use Control Booth's search function to dredge up a very recent post dealing with creating a cue-able aroma under control of the SM, electrician and the lighting board.
    Consider using a toaster, and a slice of bread treated with whatever manner of concoction your chemistry / physics teachers can conjure to give you the desired stench and duration. Keep an eye for too much smoke triggering smoke detectors, sounding bells and clearing your building. Fire fighters have less than zero sense of humor. Don't ask me how I know this. Good luck with your adventure.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
  3. Amiers

    Amiers Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.

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    Well the only way you are gonna get close to the smell you want is indeed to take some skin and go out back and burn it.

    Everyone’s nose is different.

    Ron for example thinks burnt toast lol.

    My first thought was to burn hair.

    Really though the burning of whatever you want isn’t the question. The real question is how will you deliver it to the audience. While keeping it away from your detectors.

    If you can’t afford a scent machine then you might be hard pressed to find/build something that will get close to the audience and be gone in a short amount of time. A black box/studio setting would make this easier. A full size theatre space sounds doubtful.

    TLDR: need more details on your space.
     
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  4. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Pictures go through my mind of the cast and crew lining up to volunteer up a skin tag.....

    The serious question I would have is how do you get rid of the odor at the end of the scene? Smells like that can stick around and also induce nausea.
     
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  5. TNasty

    TNasty Active Member

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    Here's a few things that I've noticed are particularly useful at making an entire space smell.
    -3D printer using ABS filament
    -Dremel + Plexiglas or Plastic Sheet of Choice
    -120VAC + Delicate Circuitry (you'll get more bang for buck if you can find the sweet spot for voltage that'll make the circuitry cook for a while instead of just going pop)

    On a slightly more serious note, I'd personally avoid scent effects, especially in an indoor venue; you wouldn't want to somehow wind up with a respiratory emergency on your hands in the middle of your show.

    Speaking of which, if somebody sold magic blue smoke in bottles, I'd totally get enough to become a wizard who can cast a spell on broken devices with a point of my finger.
     
  6. Eli Vatsaas

    Eli Vatsaas Member

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    This specific show is a dinner theatre. So the audience will be on stage with the actors. So the space that needs to be filled is about 40x20 feet.
     
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  7. Amiers

    Amiers Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.

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    Don’t burn anything if people are eating. You will get a bad taste in your mouth.

    But that’s my opinion.
     
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  8. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Eli Vatsaas @Amiers @JD Which brings me back to toast and carefully concocted chemicals carefully chosen by the chemistry, physics and culinary teachers.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     

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