Stars appearing magically all around viewers.

Tower of Terror Theater

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Joined
Oct 22, 2019
Location
Las Vegas, NV
So I have been posting on my project to recreate the basement elevator entrance at the Disney Tower of Terror ride along with creating multiple special effects for viewers representing a transition from today, to 1939 and recreating events of what happened to cause the elevator crash and the disappearance of the guests inside, to the experience of transitioning through the twilight zone and entering the Fifth Dimension as a permanent guest in the Tower of Terror Theater hotel. Here is a link to the Youtube channel documenting the development of the set, and special effects.
As part of the growing list of the sequence of programmed special effects, one being currently contemplated is essentially reproducing a portion of the Disney ride shown here in which the set is darkened and replaced with stars. Credit to Attraction Spot Youtube channel for video used.


I believe this is done by the Disney Tower of Terror set having fiberoptic strands (3 or 4 different diameters) embedded in the set walls which illuminate as the set darkens. I would like to reproduce, no actually one-up Disney by having this same effect in the entire room in my Tower of Terror Theater project from the floor to the ceiling enveloping the viewers. I think that I can have styrofoam1' thick sheets as were used to construct the original set to reproduce the concrete block walls embedded with the various sized fiberoptic strands in starfield pattern extending through and left with excess length on the outside, and the inside strands running to the fiberoptic light source. The exterior styrofoam sheets can be adhered to all the wall surfaces and ceiling surfaces and then textured, painted/hard coated in similar fashion as the original set to appear like concrete block on the walls, and concrete slab on the soffits and ceiling, and make a surface that will not be easily damaged by prodding fingers, shoes, etc. Once this is done then all the fiberoptic strands would be trimmed at the surface which hopefully would not be detectable until the lights go off and the fiberoptic light source is turned on.

Do you agree with my presumption on how this effect works at Disney, and if I am missing anything in my plans?
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
So I have been posting on my project to recreate the basement elevator entrance at the Disney Tower of Terror ride along with creating multiple special effects for viewers representing a transition from today, to 1939 and recreating events of what happened to cause the elevator crash and the disappearance of the guests inside, to the experience of transitioning through the twilight zone and entering the Fifth Dimension as a permanent guest in the Tower of Terror Theater hotel. Here is a link to the Youtube channel documenting the development of the set, and special effects.
As part of the growing list of the sequence of programmed special effects, one being currently contemplated is essentially reproducing a portion of the Disney ride shown here in which the set is darkened and replaced with stars. Credit to Attraction Spot Youtube channel for video used.


I believe this is done by the Disney Tower of Terror set having fiberoptic strands (3 or 4 different diameters) embedded in the set walls which illuminate as the set darkens. I would like to reproduce, no actually one-up Disney by having this same effect in the entire room in my Tower of Terror Theater project from the floor to the ceiling enveloping the viewers. I think that I can have styrofoam1' thick sheets as were used to construct the original set to reproduce the concrete block walls embedded with the various sized fiberoptic strands in starfield pattern extending through and left with excess length on the outside, and the inside strands running to the fiberoptic light source. The exterior styrofoam sheets can be adhered to all the wall surfaces and ceiling surfaces and then textured, painted/hard coated in similar fashion as the original set to appear like concrete block on the walls, and concrete slab on the soffits and ceiling, and make a surface that will not be easily damaged by prodding fingers, shoes, etc. Once this is done then all the fiberoptic strands would be trimmed at the surface which hopefully would not be detectable until the lights go off and the fiberoptic light source is turned on.

Do you agree with my presumption on how this effect works at Disney, and if I am missing anything in my plans?
@Tower of Terror Theater You MAY want to look into (https://tprlights.com/fiber-optics/ )
TPR's range of fibre for lighting applications, including bulk reels (and cuts to length) of end illuminating & side illuminating fibre, plus a range of mounting options, fancy lenses for your cut ends, illuminators, ferrules, twinkle and multi-color rotating wheels, totally raw fibre or pre-cut to measured lengths, glued into a ferrule, all polished and prepped ready for inserting into one of their illuminators; even back in 1999, TPR and Tom Fay were doing synchronized rotators across 6 (or more) illuminators to permit comets to flash across the skies of their lager star field installations.

Yes, you MAY want to investigate their VERY complete range of products for fibre optic lighting applications.
No, I'm not affiliated with TPR in any way; my memories of purchasing all of our fibre supplies flashed through my mind from my days of playing Head LX in a local IA scenery and automation shop; for myself, those days were in approximately 1992 through 1996 or '97.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 
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macsound

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Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
I believe the fiber optics were in the adjacent room and that's how they do the overlay. Because everything that you see that isn't the room, is actually a pepper's ghost effect off to the side.
In your situation you could use something like this could work. Project some laser beams.
 

Tower of Terror Theater

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Joined
Oct 22, 2019
Location
Las Vegas, NV
Yes after watching a behind the scenes video on the TOT, the "walls" of the hotel are printed/painted theatrical skrims, with stars located behind the skrims. For my purpose where viewers may be a foot away from wall surfaces, I think embedding the fiberoptic fibers in sheetrock is the proper option.
 
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macsound

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Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
Fiber optics would be amazing, but you'd have to get them through the backside of the sheetrock - the type of fiber optics you want only illuminate on the tips, so you'd have to remove all of your walls, install fiber and replace them.
I know this is a big project but this seems reaaaallllly big.
 

Tower of Terror Theater

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Joined
Oct 22, 2019
Location
Las Vegas, NV
The current walls have stucco. So the plan is to presize the sheetrock, drill, install and glue the fiberoptic fibers extending a few inches or more out the exterior surface of the sheetrock, then install the sheetrock. The sheetrock would be finished with paint, hard coat, etc (I really have not decided yet what to do). I was just looking at the Tower of Terror Basement photos, and looks like they have mainly bricks as the wall surface. Then of course all the fiberoptic strands would have to be run to the light engine. I got a preliminary estimate that I would need about (10) 35 watt LED light engines to power all the fiberoptic strands to cover ceiling and all wall surfaces.
 
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RonHebbard

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Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
The current walls have stucco. So the plan is to preside the sheetrock, drill, install and glue the fiberoptic fibers extending a few inches or more out the exterior surface of the sheetrock, then install the sheetrock. The sheetrock would be finished with paint, hard coat, etc (I really have not decided yet what to do). I was just looking at the Tower of Terror Basement photos, and looks like they have mainly bricks as the wall surface. Then of course all the fiberoptic strands would have to be run to the light engine. I got a preliminary estimate that I would need about (10) 35 watt LED light engines to power all the fiberoptic strands to cover ceiling and all wall surfaces.
Hello @Tower of Terror Theater Once again I'll steer you towards Tom Fay's https://tprlights.com/fiber-optics/

Yes, Mrs. Google tells me they're still in business.
No; I'm still neither an employee nor on commission.
Yes; Seemingly Tom Fay's still involved and currently listed as their President.
Do at least glance over their site, give them a call, discuss your project, absorb their experience and knowledge then afford them the opportunity to recommend specific illuminators and accessories and permit them to quote. They really are THAT good.

Feel free to drop my name though I'd be amazed if Tom remembers me at all after more than 25 years. We eventually met face to face briefly and shook hands in 1999 near the end of my involvement supplying, installing, programming and commissioning all of the AV and Alcorn McBride show control gear for Madamme Tussaud's LasVegas location.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

Tower of Terror Theater

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Joined
Oct 22, 2019
Location
Las Vegas, NV
Bill could you elaborate in a little more detail please? Specifically how were the fibers supported/attached? So you are saying there was some type of metal lattice/mesh placed and fiberoptic fibers attached/penetrated the metal mesh and then plastered? Thanks
 

BillConnerFASTC

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Joined
Jan 30, 2010
Location
Clayton NY 13624
Basic wet plaster on metal lath. Fibre optic points wired to lath. It was over 20 years ago and I was not on site during work. Google images for metal plaster lath.

PS Maybe gwb us fine today. Not sure how you get the layout without working from behind or over after it's in place, or how the fibre ends are held and finished. Post pictures!
 
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macsound

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Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
Might also have luck doing a stretched fabric wall install like acousticwallfabric.com Then you can tape or glue the fiber behind the panel facing front and poke the fibers easily through as the fabric goes on.
 

Tower of Terror Theater

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Joined
Oct 22, 2019
Location
Las Vegas, NV
The plan would be to place perhaps a 2" lattice of wood on all stucco surfaces to allow the fiberoptic cables to run back to the light engines, and then cut drywall to fit surfaces working from the most distant locations to the closest to light engines . Then drill holes in the drywall as desired and insert fiberoptic strands, glue in place and leave at least several inches of fiber extending out the exterior surface. Mount the drywall onto the wood lattice and proceed to cover all surfaces with dry wall. Finish corners as per any sheetrock wall. Paint, apply desired surface. Cut fibers at surface of sheetrock leaving clean, light-emitting ends. Now I am not saying I can/want to personally do any of this, and realize that I have no experience or skill in any of these steps. But is there any reason why any of this is that difficult that I am not realizing? Now obviously it is not that difficult to find a drywaller, but I cant find someone who has experience in both placing the fiberoptic strands in drywall AND floating these.
 
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macsound

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Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
Wow that's a great plan.
I think doing a small scale test, for yourself and to convince and show the installer how you want it done would be a good idea. You could easily do a 2'x2' square with no skills.
Something to think about would be leaving the fibers extending beyond the surface and then painting. I think it would be best to spray paint because a roller or brush could break the fibers in the wrong spot or bend them down, leaving streaks of paint. Could still be regular paint, just making sure you hire a painter with a sprayer.

An alternative to the fiber optics are mini LEDs like this They could be inserted from the front and blend the LED into the surface with paint texturing, or use the same method you planned for the fiber and insert from the back.
You'd need to crimp or solder (or hire someone) a bunch of wires, but if you're planning on doing DMX control, you could wire them individually or in groups so you'd have even more control.
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Wow that's a great plan.
I think doing a small scale test, for yourself and to convince and show the installer how you want it done would be a good idea. You could easily do a 2'x2' square with no skills.
Something to think about would be leaving the fibers extending beyond the surface and then painting. I think it would be best to spray paint because a roller or brush could break the fibers in the wrong spot or bend them down, leaving streaks of paint. Could still be regular paint, just making sure you hire a painter with a sprayer.

An alternative to the fiber optics are mini LEDs like this They could be inserted from the front and blend the LED into the surface with paint texturing, or use the same method you planned for the fiber and insert from the back.
You'd need to crimp or solder (or hire someone) a bunch of wires, but if you're planning on doing DMX control, you could wire them individually or in groups so you'd have even more control.
@Tower of Terror Theater and @macsound Crimping and / or soldering all those tiny LED's would seem to be far more time consuming than using multiple illuminators (possibly with internal rotating twinkle wheels) fanning out their fibres to random, or planned (specific galaxies) locations.
Six or eight illuminators with their associated power and control wiring Vs. Hundreds or thousands of tiny LED's with two connections per LED.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

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