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Old time camera flash

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by Shoottv, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. Shoottv

    Shoottv Member

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    Location:
    Tulsa OK
    I am looking for ideas or commercial solutions for an old time camera flash and smoke effect like a magnesium photo flash tray from the 1800's. I haven't had a pyro licence for many years so 2 componant flash powder is out (and don't want to pay the $200 for a new one) . This is for a high school production. My distict safety officer is still maintains an active fire marshal commission so I have some flexivility with the AHJ if needed.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  2. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    Theatre Consultant
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    Oak Park, IL (708)983-5792
    I'd consider old style flash bulbs - available even on Amazon - and the find some non-toxic powdery substance and use a bulb and tube to "blast" a little dust into the air at same time you (or actor) triggers flash. Seems like it could be integrated/attached to a prop camera.
     
  3. JChenault

    JChenault Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    seattle, wa USA
    Many years ago I saw this trick. Not sure if it would be considered a safety issue today.

    Take a flash bulb ( old style. Like this ) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CJPUBIU/?tag=controlbooth-20

    Coat it in a clear varnish. While wet, roll the bulb in black gunpowder. A small amount of the granules will stick to the bulb.

    When the bulb fires, it will ignite the small amount of gunpowder giving a blast of smoke.

    Build your flash holder into a decorative trough and fire away.
     
    Ancient Engineer and RonHebbard like this.
  4. Amiers

    Amiers Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.

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    Occupation:
    Lighting Floor Tech
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    Last we used flash bulbs we used them for the poto graveyard scene they worked pretty well.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  5. alich

    alich Member

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    Last time we did this we had a small gunpowder tray with a low voltage igniter connected to a momentary switch - flick the switch, gunpowder goes off.

    I bet you could rig up something with a few low voltage LEDs and maybe a confetti canon loaded with talc..
     
  6. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Occupation:
    Project Manager, Stagecraft Industries, Inc.
    Location:
    Portland, Or.
    /Standard Talc rant:
    Do not use talc onstage as a smoke or dust effect. there are many health issues associated with it. According to and AEA study Rye Flour has the least amount of side effects as well as the lowest incidence of allergic reactions.

    Talc onstage = no no

    P.S. Gun powder in an open trayis a huge no no. A. it would mean you need a Permit from the local AHJ as well as a licensed or qualified Pyro-technician. B. Gunpowder is unpredictable and likely to rise and flare when ignited spilling over and possibly landing on surrounding surfaces.
     
    Taniith, Amiers and macsound like this.
  7. coldnorth57

    coldnorth57 Active Member

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    Location:
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    I am sorry but be very careful with any flour when in the air the power is highly flamable!
     

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