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Making People Fly...Without using a fly system.

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by bobbyt2012, Oct 8, 2008.

  1. bobbyt2012

    bobbyt2012 Member

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    My school is performing Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory and I would like to know how we can make two actors appear as if they are flying. The current idea is to put them on sea-saws and have them go up and down. We cannot use a fly system due to insurance reasons. Let me know if anyone thinks of anything. Thanks.
     
  2. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Check this similar thread. There were a lot of good suggestions that also might work for you.
     
  3. Pip

    Pip Active Member

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    Rent a zfx for sure. We used one of their rigs for Peter pan my junior year of high school. My best friend Robert was Peter. It was INCREDIBLE. You'll love it, guaranteed.

    (zfx has built in insurance with the rental)
     
  4. jdandreas09

    jdandreas09 Member

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    is it an issue with school insurance or building insurance because i don't thing school insurance covers anything.
     
  5. elite1trek

    elite1trek Active Member

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    You could hire in somebody that would do it professionaly, and then the insurance would not be (generally) your problem. They only people I know that do it is Foy.
     
  6. Pip

    Pip Active Member

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    Exactly my point above about insurance...

    and: ZFX

    i think ZFX did Wicked

    we used flybyfoy one year as well. I had forgotten about them :)
     
  7. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Foy and ZFX are the coolest options. They however will cost a lot of money.

    Foy is the old guard in the industry. They've been doing it for years. I've heard that they are very particular about how they do things. For example if you do Peter Pan, they have a standard way that they arrange all your stunts. They have a sort of "we've always done it this way because it is the safe way to do it" attitude.

    ZFX is the new hotshot company. They do things differently than Foy. You tell ZFX what you want to do and they build the device and teach you how to use it.

    I've heard that it costs around $5k to have one of them do Peter Pan. You are only talking about one quick stunt however so it may be that it costs less. I would call ZFX and ask for a price quote.


    As for home made solutions. I like the see saw idea. Is there enough room back stage to bring a trampoline in and have them bounce behind the set?
    You also might want to look at more traditional magic levitation trick solutions with mirrors or hidden platforms. Perhaps a variation of the classic Peper's Ghost would work.
     
  8. elite1trek

    elite1trek Active Member

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    That's what it cost me about 8 years ago. I wonder what it costs now...
     
  9. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    How about a black box to stand on and a backdrop with either a motorized scenic disk or video projection of the "fizzy lifting drink" ceiling Perhps it might be difficult to completely synch the actors movements to the video, but that's what rehearsal is for right ?
     
  10. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

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    why not project stuff onto the background, clouds ect?
     
  11. bobbyt2012

    bobbyt2012 Member

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    Good Idea. I believe that there will be bubbles floating around the actors as they "float". Funny thing is that the directors are really concerned about safety, but their plan is to put the actors on see-saws to float up and down. Meaning they will be on an incline that is very unstable. I suggested a hydraulic platform. They told me that they have one, but I would be too dangerous if someone fell. What kind of joke is that, I bet it would be 100x safer. Even if it malfunctioned, the hydraulics would just slowed ease them back to the ground.
     
  12. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Whatever you guys come up with remember that when you fall from above 6' you are more likely to die than live. Then there is the 20% or so survivable but life altering permanent injuries from that height.

    There are a lot of things we can't discuss about rigging and lifts around here, but here is what we can say:
    DO THE MATH
    KNOW THE FORCES AT WORK
    OVER ENGINEER WITH A SAFETY FACTOR OF 10
    MAKE SURE PEOPLE ARE PROPERLY SECURED WITH REAL APPROVED DEVICES (No homemade harnesses!)
    DON'T USE CHEAP (Chinese) COMPONENTS
    MAKE SURE A REAL EXPERT ANALYZES YOUR DEVICE AND TRAINS YOUR CREW.
    CUT NO CORNERS, MAKE NO COMPROMISES, A LIFE IS AT RISK
     
    philhaney and (deleted member) like this.
  13. sobenson

    sobenson Member

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    A message from Uncle Bill

    What is it about the holidays that cause normal people to lose their minds?

    Beginning in late October I start getting calls from community group technical directors, church deacons and high school music teachers who want to fly an actor in their holiday show. Invariably, the first thing out of their mouths, after they tell me what they want to do, is "but we don't have much money so it has to be cheap." These are intelligent, responsible people. People who probably pay their taxes on time, get regular dental check-ups and wear their seatbelts even when driving just two blocks away. What on earth would lead these fine upstanding citizens to believe that suspending their children from little ropes and wires over a stage for cheap was a good idea?

    "We're only going to be lifting her 6' in the air" they say. "Fine", I respond. "Why don't you stand on top of a 6' stepladder, jump off and land on the base of your spine to see what it feels like. Then tell me if you want your kid in that position." Sometimes that gets their attention.

    I hear it all. They want no supervision. They want me to sell them some rope, a pulley and a cheap harness and turn them loose on the Peter Pans and flying angels of the world. I have the same answer for each and every one of them. No.

    People think that just anything tied around a person will work as a flying harness. They trot off to Home Depot looking for a 'safety harness'. The ever-knowledgeable salesperson (at Home Depot?) simply stares at them of course, not having a clue. That's when they call me. When I explain that all I carry are Fall Arrest or climbing harnesses, they ask if they can alter one of those. I tell them no and explain why these harnesses will not work; the harnesses aren't designed for this type of stunt nor do the manufacturers warrant their use in this manner. Then I recommend that they talk to one of the companies that makes flying harnesses. "Those people are too expensive", I'm told. Oh. What do you think that 6' fall is going to do to your kid's spine? Is it worth putting them in a wheelchair for life because you were too cheap to get the right harness? Some of the parents even listen at this point. For the others I move onto my next argument.

    Experience. There's a difference between the bookkeeper that volunteers to run the fly rail once a year at the church pageant and the professional who's been running a fly system for years. That difference is, among other things, focus. Let's look at a possible scenario. Poindexter, the volunteer is running the rail. He is 17 and a senior in high school. He has a girlfriend, and she just walked backstage to chat during a rehearsal. Is this kid giving his total attention to the show or is he showing off for his girlfriend? Go ahead; think back to when you were 17. Right. He's more easily distracted because he's in unfamiliar surroundings and he doesn't really understand the repercussions of a mistake. Amy, the professional, does know what happens to someone dropped from 6' or run into the wall. She also knows that she can wait and take her boyfriend out for donuts after the rehearsal.

    The professional also knows when to call it quits. When a flying effect works, amateur directors tend to act like they invented it all by themselves. They want to do it everywhere and all the time. Flying is an extremely tiring job, both for the performer and the technician. You've got to know when to draw the line and stop working before someone gets hurt. It's also smart to understand that not everyone in the cast has to fly. Cap'n Hook, played by somebody's paunchy dad, never looks good careening around on a wire.

    Eventually I get through to most of these folks and they either call in a professional or don't do the gag. But I'm willing to bet there's plenty of others who don't bother to call and are blithely flinging their kids around a stagehouse. If you happen to know anyone like that let him or her know just how foolish their actions are and try to get them to stop. It'll be your good deed for the week.

    From netHEADS 006
    Or his book HEADS! & Tales which is a great short read.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2008
    cprted, gafftaper, lieperjp and 5 others like this.
  14. What Rigger?

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

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    Scott! Dude! Brutha-man! THANK YOU for posting that. I can't find my copy (lost somewhere on my drive, I'm sure) and this is what I'm always trying to get across to people. Problem being, I gots NO social skills and come off as a total hard @$$/meany. So thanks.

    And for y'all that don't actually fly people for a living- Yes, this kind of stupidity happens ALL. THE. TIME.

    Someday I will bore you to death with the true story of: The Neoprene Flying Harnesses From H3LL!


    (man, I have got to lay off the CAPS button)
     
  15. TOG

    TOG Member

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    I've used Foy for several shows and have always been pleased with their rigging expertise and concerns for safety. They are expensive, though.
    As has already been suggested I would recommend hydraulics- and a turntable.
     
  16. cisgrig

    cisgrig Member

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    We did PP last spring and looked at renting a system, very expensive (estimated $8K), and they required sending a crew and all expenses. Tried using an industrial type rig but that looked real stupid. Our actors all sign liability waivers so the kid's parents were not pleased about their son 'flying'. finally convinced director just to skip the idea
     
  17. philhaney

    philhaney CBMod CB Mods

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    I would just have them on stage acting like they were flying, and use a scene projector on the cyc or background/backdrop. :mrgreen:
     
  18. sobenson

    sobenson Member

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    One of the "cooler" effects I saw in Drowsy Chaperon was when they had the sky cyc fly in, which made the airplane look like it was flying out. Now to achieve this effect you need to have enough fly space to basically have a double the height drop, or do something on rollers, like a big scroll.
     
  19. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Hey that brings up a good idea. What about just taking a long piece of muslin, painting a background and creating a giant rolling background with it. Just two rollers and the muslin is a loop that goes around and around. That's easy to build, inexpensive, and very safe.
     
  20. philhaney

    philhaney CBMod CB Mods

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    Use a chromakey backdrop and fix it in post... :lol::lol::lol:

    *ducks and runs*
     

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