Peter Pan-type Special Effects Ideas

Scotty Cole

Member
Hi guys!
I'm developing a script for an Peter Pan-themed practical special effects and illusions type show. Does anyone have any idea on the following:
- Flying Harnesses and Rigging that can be bought for cheap (less than $100 per harness, etc.)
- Walls of fog that span a large area
- Tinkerbell appearance and disappearance
- Peter's Shadow appearance and disappearance
- Flying Jolly Rodger

The main thing in this show is the flying effects. It's a lot more than you average Peter Pan musical. I plan on having Peter being able to do a multitude of tricks without the wires and harness getting in the way too much. Peter will be played by a male actor wearing a costume similar to the 2003 Universal pictures film.

Thanks for all your help and I hope to hear from you soon!
Sincerely,
Scotty
 

venuetech

Well-Known Member
Departed Member
The ONLY answer for flying people on this forum is HIRE an EXPERT! (Not cheap)

Working with an effects company may not be cheap,
but it really is surprisingly affordable. you do get a lot for your money.
 

cmckeeman

Active Member
Cheap and rigging should never be use din the same sentence, and if you want to do a lot of aerial stunts then you are going to have to spend a bit more.
 

LavaASU

Active Member
Hi guys!
I'm developing a script for an Peter Pan-themed practical special effects and illusions type show. Does anyone have any idea on the following:
- Flying Harnesses and Rigging that can be bought for cheap (less than $100 per harness, etc.)
- Walls of fog that span a large area
- Tinkerbell appearance and disappearance
- Peter's Shadow appearance and disappearance
- Flying Jolly Rodger

The main thing in this show is the flying effects. It's a lot more than you average Peter Pan musical. I plan on having Peter being able to do a multitude of tricks without the wires and harness getting in the way too much. Peter will be played by a male actor wearing a costume similar to the 2003 Universal pictures film.

Thanks for all your help and I hope to hear from you soon!
Sincerely,
Scotty

Uh, no no no. Flying harnesses are not under $100 and if you think they are you clearly do not know enough about flying people to be doing it.
 
Ya it sounds like your trying to bite off a little more than you can chew...
Like others have said... flying people is not usually an In House gig...
You should give Flying by Foy a call or at least check out their website...
Flybyfoy.com... We've done Peter Pan twice in our theatre and it is complicated....
As for the other list of effects.... They can be done fairly easily if you already have the right equipment in your theatres inventory.... Like foggers and moving lights or IQ's or the like.
If not then you will have to rent it, which could get pricey depending on length of run.
 
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When I get home tonight after my show's and if no one else has voiced my idea's, I'll put a few of the things I've seen done or done myself up for you... But most of my idea's require gear.... You won't make them from scratch for cheap but they'll look good
 

Scotty Cole

Member
Okay... cool! Thanks everyone! I have never flown anyone, but I'm wanting to learn. If I came across as an expert, believe me, I'm not. I'm a freshman in college with ideas for this type of show. Sorry about the confusion. :/
 

derekleffew

Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
Premium Member
Go back up to the original post, and click the yellow-underlined flying effects link. It will lead you to some (hopefully) informative information.

...
- Flying Harnesses and Rigging that can be bought for cheap (less than $100 per harness, etc.)
...
From http://www.sapsis-rigging.com/netheads/netHEADS006.html (also quoted in the wiki entry):
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. ...
 

StradivariusBone

Custom Title
Fight Leukemia
Go back up to the original post, and click the yellow-underlined flying effects link. It will lead you to some (hopefully) informative information.

I've always heard that Fall Arrest ≠ Flying Harness and I've even defended that argument a few times myself based on the manufacturer specs. Other than the obvious differences in points, with the fall arrest usually have a big D ring, what else makes it unsafe for flying? I ask, if for no other reason than to further justify the point being made.
 

LavaASU

Active Member
I've always heard that Fall Arrest ≠ Flying Harness and I've even defended that argument a few times myself based on the manufacturer specs. Other than the obvious differences in points, with the fall arrest usually have a big D ring, what else makes it unsafe for flying? I ask, if for no other reason than to further justify the point being made.
Ever hung in a fall arrest harness??? Unless it's a yates/petzl and you're using positioning/reppeling points, it's bloody uncomfortable. The positioning/repelling points don't look like flying so yeah. The dorsal D would look sorta like a normal flying position, but you're actors would mutany and you'd likely injure them. I've done rescue training where we were suspended (no shock force, just suspended) from the dorsal D in a yates harness and it was painful, and basically impossible to do any sort of graceful movement with your legs, and we all had akward and painful bruises from it...
 

cmckeeman

Active Member
Well for one unless if your only plan is to have a person lift strait up and out of sight any fall arrest and positioning harness will not work you can't get in any other position besides straight up or sitting in those harness (for good reason) and so if you need to flip around that will be impossible, go any type of diagonal that is impossible.
 

gafftapegreenia

CBMod
CB Mods
Okay guys, I've decided to call around to the various companies you've mentioned. I GREATLY appreciate your input and hope that someday, I can be as good as you guys. Thanks again!!!
Sincerely,
Scotty Cole

I just want to say "thank you" for listening and pursuing the proper channels to pull this effect off. IMHO, people usually don't like to be told that flying people is risky and shouldn't be attempted by amateurs. I've had too many fights with directors/designers/producers over risky situations like flying, but at least I can still sleep at night.
 

What Rigger?

I'm so fly....I Neverland.
I second what Greenia says.
 

What Rigger?

I'm so fly....I Neverland.
Well for one unless if your only plan is to have a person lift strait up and out of sight any fall arrest and positioning harness will not work you can't get in any other position besides straight up or sitting in those harness (for good reason) and so if you need to flip around that will be impossible, go any type of diagonal that is impossible.

Flying harnesses are built for flying. They offer none of the deceleration properties that a fall arrest harness will. In other words, when you get picked up in a flying harness, everything stays in place so you go up too. When you fall and your harness arrests that fall, deceleration and resultant forces come into play. For this discussion, the thing to keep in mind most of all is that a fall arrest harness won't be in the same position/configuration after a fall (or taking a load) as it was before. That's why your chest strap has to be in the right place, so that when you fall it doesn't pop you in the jaw.

Even a rope access style harness, which is designed for positioning and suspension, doesn't work for flying. It is not built for the dynamic nature of flying. If you fall in a Yates/Petzle/Ropeworks harness, you retire it.

Flying harnesses are built to "disappear" as well. Take a look at the attachment points on a fall arrest/positioning harness. HUGE! Easy to see, easy to attach to. Nobody cares if they are seen.
Flying harness: tiny points. Built to not bee seen, and to help the gear you attach to it not be seen.

We could go on all day here, but I think I'm about to start boring people. Naw mean?
 

theatricalmatt

Well-Known Member
The costume in the 2003 Universal Pictures film doesn't offer much concealment for a flying harness. I'm also a little leery of following too much in the steps of someone else's work -- besides concerns over intellectual property, shouldn't your costume designer have some input? Maybe they have a different approach you've never seen before.

Most of the other special effects you mention are fairly straightforward. Fog can be difficult to pull off these days with greater scrutiny and concern toward atmospheric effects. Tinkerbell is often "acted" with a followspot in a tight iris, or a laser pointer. I think it'd be interesting to try and do Tinkerbell with some 3-D image-mapped projections. I've seen Peter's Shadow depicted in quite a few different ways, from a second actor all in black, to shadow puppets, and more.
 

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
What about doing Peter's Shadow with some 3D image mapped projections. You could do some REALLY awesome stuff with that.

Perhaps Tink could appear and disappear with Black light?

As for the wall of fog, check out the theater's fire alarm system before you get to excited. I've seen some really cool products demonstrated at LDI... and actually used in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. They use a water mist which is REALLY REALLY fine. So fine it's evaporating mid air. But it creates a beautiful wall of fog. If I remember right the demo at LDI talked about how they put an electric charge in the water vapor so that it repelled you so you could walk through it without getting wet. Now you can't duplicate that part of it, but a fine water mist makes a really impressive fog wall. I've seen it done with liquid nitrogen too, but there are a lot of other dangers that come with working with liquid nitrogen.

One other note on safety with flying people. Even after hiring a professional company and doing everything the right way, Flying is still difficult and dangerous. I remember a problem in the rehearsal for our production of Pan where we hired the flight company and did it all the right way. We were trying to rehearse this one simple move with Peter pan. The goal was to have pan fly from one bed to another in the children's bedroom. It seemed so simple but after 3 or 4 tries, always resulting in Pan crashing into furniture we cut it from the show. It was just too hard for our flight crew to learn to do in the limited rehearsal time we had, without endangering the actor.
 

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