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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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    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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    Theatre Consultant
    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.
    RonHebbard and Amiers like this.
  3. JChenault

    JChenault Well-Known Member

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    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 )

    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.
    RonHebbard likes this.
  4. Amiers

    Amiers Lighting Phoenix 1 Lamp at a Time

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    Phoenix, Az
    Last we used flash bulbs we used them for the poto graveyard scene they worked pretty well.
    RonHebbard likes this.

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