# The Chamber of Secrets

#### PhantomD

##### ♂
Post all your secret FX tricks here - things you've discovered, heard about or seen!

Even the little things can be quite interesting and help shape somebody's future designs!

I'll start us off...using a 30cm box fan on third speed beside a hazer does wonders for quick and effective distribution if you don't want to use the hazer continually.

I'd be interested to hear about other people's experiences - especially with a musical coming up.

#### gafftaper

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Sort of related... one of the best educational experiences I ever gave to a couple of my students was the day I assigned them the task of creating their own water splash sound effect. I completely turned them loose to figure it out on their own. They got a 50 gallon trash can and filled it half full of water, set up mics all around the theater stage and proceeded to drop everything they could think of into the bucket. They quickly found that everything sounded different. Some had great initial splashes while others had great ending sounds. In the end they took the splash of two different items and overlapped them in the computer to create the perfect splash.

I guess the point for this thread is don't just go download a sound that sounds close, sometime give yourself the experience of creating your own perfect sound effects from real world recordings. It's a great learning experience and can be a lot of fun.

#### gafftaper

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Here's one more like what you were looking for. A water ripple effect with light for less than $5!! Take an ellipsoidal instrument and mount it on a low stand or shinbuster. Go to the store and buy one of those aluminum one time use turkey roasting pans. Go to the hardware store and buy a 12" square mirror tile... like people put up in bathrooms or bedrooms. This can be done for less if you've got a small mirror and turkey pan of your own at home. Get a friend who is a nurse. Have the nurse score you a drip line from an I.V. Go buy a 2 liter of Mountain Dew and drink it. It's very important to drink the entire 2 liter all at once just before you begin working on this project. Punch a small hole in the cap of the mountain dew and shove the I.V. drip line into the bottle cap... you now have a Dew I.V. sweet huh? Put the mirror in the bottom of the turkey pan and fill it about an inch deep with water. Fill the 2 liter bottle with water. Put a blue gel in you lighting instrument (you might want to try the turquoise and aqua marine variations). That's all you need, the drip goes into the pan to create a constant wave pattern that is adjustable by use of the I.V. Shine the light onto the mirror. This allows you to aim the water reflection anywhere you want. You can put stuff under the mirror to get the angle perfect. That's it, adjust the focus of the instrument to perfect the look. It's cheap and looks perfect. #### Chris15 ##### CBMod CB Mods Premium Member Departed Member Please forgive me... but I am compelled to translate that into Australian - what both Phantom & I speak. Changes in red. Here's one more like what you were looking for. A water ripple effect with light for less than$5!! Take an ellipsoidal instrument ( I'd think most lights would work, since ellipsoidals ain't as big down here.) and mount it on a low stand or shinbuster. Go to the store and buy one of those aluminum one time use turkey roasting pans. <BBQ tray> Go to the hardware store and buy a 12" (300mm) square mirror tile... like people put up in bathrooms or bedrooms. (Bunnings at least used to have them, in packs of 3 or was it 6.)This can be done for less if you've got a small mirror and turkey pan of your own at home. Get a friend who is a nurse. Have the nurse score you a drip line from an I.V. Go buy a 2 liter litre of Mountain Dew Coke and drink it. It's very important to drink the entire 2 liter litre all at once just before you begin working on this project. Punch a small hole in the cap of the mountain dew Coke and shove the I.V. drip line into the bottle cap... you now have a Dew I.V. sweet huh? Put the mirror in the bottom of the turkey pan and fill it about an inch 25 ish mm deep with water. Fill the 2 liter litre bottle with water. Put a blue gel in you lighting instrument (you might want to try the turquoise and aqua marine variations). That's all you need, the drip goes into the pan to create a constant wave pattern that is adjustable by use of the I.V. Shine the light onto the mirror. This allows you to aim the water reflection anywhere you want. You can put stuff under the mirror to get the angle perfect. That's it, adjust the focus of the instrument to perfect the look. It's cheap and looks perfect.
Just goes to show the different uses of language and the other differences between us...

#### Van

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Chris, go easy on him. He's been on Jury duty all week nothing to do all day but dream about posting here.

#### Chris15

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True True. I had momentarily forgotten that. But still, it does show up how we do use different variants of language etc.

#### gafftaper

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"Litre" It's not my fault you don't know how to spell Liter. We don't even use the metric system here and I can spell perfectly. (By the way Van, I know I spelled it correctly because Firefox puts a little red line under it if I put the "e" at the end.)

"Bunnings"... Did Jim Bunning open a store between his years in baseball and the Senate? How does he have time to run it?

"BBQ Tray"... I suppose you godless people don't celebrate Thanksgiving. Are you not thankful for the bounty of our great land (That we stole from someone else).

"Coke"... is that all you've got. We have more than one flavor of soft drink here... unless you meant the other coke... oh my... that would be a little too much to consume in one sitting. I may have to edit that part of the post.

"ellipsoidals AIN'T as big down here"... Now you are just trying to mess with me. "AIN'T"... you're from down under all right... down under Oklahoma in Texas.

Yes I am an ugly American. If you look up my picture in the Off Topic thread, "Putting a face to the name" you'll find out just how ugly I really am. And No it's not the jury duty that's cracked me it's the fact that they only pay $10 a day here when Van's wife got$12 a day by living 250 miles south of me. That does it, I'm selling my clothes and moving to Eugene to live in a Yurt (That's a city not far from where Van lives filled with hippies and a Yurt is "tent" in Australian).

Crap. Now I've randomly ranted in a perfectly good thread and need to come up with another secret to share to make up for it. I suggest you two do the same because you started this.

#### gafftaper

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Here is my apology post.

Most reliable, safe, and authentic sounding low budget shot gun sound effect.

You need to be standing on a wood floor preferably one that is a little hollow underneath... bring in a platform if necessary. Different surfaces sound different so experiment. Get a 1X4 and cut it to about 4 feet long. Place the base of the board in front of your left foot and get your toes bent up on it a bit to stabilize it. Hold the top with one hand. Lift your right foot up to bend slightly and then drive your foot through the board to the ground in a quick solid manner. Practice. Be careful not to allow the board to chatter or slap. It's all in how you force your foot to the ground.

Some people take two 1X4's and hinge them together so that they clap in order to make a smaller gun sound like a pistol. Experiment. with varying lengths and again the surface you are standing on when you trigger it.

#### taylorjacobs

##### Member
works really well if you put metal brackets at the end of he wood and pu a roll of caps on the bottom piece

#### gafftaper

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works really well if you put metal brackets at the end of he wood and pu a roll of caps on the bottom piece
Ooo... sounds like a nice modification for more of a pistol sound.

#### Van

##### CBMod
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Ok, since I haven't posted anything really constructive in this thread yet, and I'm feeling worthless: here are some recipes for VSSSD and potential uses,

Vans Super Secret Scenic Dope

For those who don't know it's my favorite concoction for treating scenic elements that need a bit of texture. If you're low on budget and can't afford "Sculpt or Coat" this is a really good alternative.

• about 1 quart of latex paint ( this can be pre-tinted, neutral base, or a "waste" paint, as long as it's latex.
• About 4 tubes of Latex caulk. Do not use silicone caulk. Some Latex caulk are called 'siliconized' and those are ok to use as they are still latex based.
• About 2 cups of drywall mud. Adds thickness and aids in setup time and helps leave a harder finish when dope is cured.

This is all you really need. Throw it in a 5-gallon bucket, and mix it all up with a drill motor paint mixer. Add more drywall mud to thicken it up, but not too much or it will get "cracky" when it drys, although the cracks can be very useful for some texture treatments.

For Rock: I like to carve polystyrene, then coat it with VSSSD that has been tinted to a grey or whatever base color rock I'm using. After the Dope has dried <usually 4 or so hours depending on how thick ou laid it on> you can recoat or ]drybrush/spatter/airbrush details onto the rock.

For Cement: Mix some sand < "playsand" available at most hardware stores works great. White "ashtray" sand works well for finer finishes like sandstone, etc. Leave the dope a whitish, beige color, keep mixing as you are brushing it on the surface as the sand will tend to settle. You can brush or roll on the cement texture. Let it dry then treat with a clear coat, Flat or Semi-gloss are best for cement. there are many brands available. Here in the Northwest Miller Paint sells a product called Acri-clear. It's perfect.

For Wood: This is a new one for me I just got worked out. Start the dope according to the recipe then grab a trashed blender or food processor, and pour in a cup of water, turn it on and start feeding strips of newspaper in. No "slicks" like the adverts or magazine sections just good old newspaper. When the blender starts to bog down or it's full pour the pulp into a nylon stocking or paint strainer. Continue making pulp 'till you have enough to cover the surface you're treating. Ok, Really Important Squeeze the heck out of the nylon and get as much water as possible out of the pulp. If you don't get the water out it will thin down the dope and make it hard to work with. Ok, add the pulp to the dope, SLOWLY, while you are running the mixer. Make sure you get the lumps out. Play with amounts 'till you get the thickness you're looking for. For Bark I like to use latex gloves and put it on by hand, dragging your fingertips through the mix as you slop it on will give a really realistic bark look to the finish. You can put on an even coat then use a stylus to "draw" bark chunks on for a pine tree look.

There are a ton of uses. play with these recipes and post your discoveries here. Be sure to e-mail me any really good thing you come up with. I think of VSSSD as an Open-source operating system, It'll only get better if everyone shares their own unique recipes.

#### gafftaper

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Went to a "fun with foam" workshop for theater that used a wide variety of foam and other products for scenery. For a heavily textured brick or stone wall, they used bags of blow in insulation that is just heavily shredded newspaper. They then mixed it with some sort of pipe insulation goop. I Don't know what product they used but Van's SSD would probably work perfect. They mixed it until it was the consistency of a thick tuna fish sandwich with lots of mayo like my mom used to make (Chris I think that's like a vegemite and tuna sandwich to you). They took a piece of plywood and pre-painted it the color (colour) they wanted between bricks. They taped a brick pattern onto the plywood. They then layered the goop on about 3/4 of an inch thick (1.905 cm). Let it dry over night, pull the tape off the board, and sponge paint to the color (colour) you like. It was beautiful and very simple.

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#### taylorjacobs

##### Member
i suddenly realized i have no idea how to spell...awesome...i have use the mirror trick as mention before and it works really well. as mentioned in many posts before ill just mention it here for reference.

for a homemade chiller module...step one get a fog machine....step two get an ice chest...step three buy or rig up a nozzle adapter (roscoe sells one) use dryer ducting to run the fog into the ice chest through a hole that you would cut near the top. cut another hole on the opposite side of the ice chest run ducting out of that. fill ice chest with ice...and poof instant chiller module. many variations can be done to it. a shelve for the ice in the chest works nice, and depending on you fogger you might to a fan to propell the fog.

#### Chris15

##### CBMod
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Note: This post likely contains any information of actual value... Just a continuation of the little debate between gaff Van & I... Apologies for taking up your bandwidth.

"Litre" It's not my fault you don't know how to spell Liter. We don't even use the metric system here and I can spell perfectly. (By the way Van, I know I spelled it correctly because Firefox puts a little red line under it if I put the "e" at the end.)

"Bunnings"... Did Jim Bunning open a store between his years in baseball and the Senate? How does he have time to run it?

"BBQ Tray"... I suppose you godless people don't celebrate Thanksgiving. Are you not thankful for the bounty of our great land (That we stole from someone else).

"Coke"... is that all you've got. We have more than one flavor of soft drink here... unless you meant the other coke... oh my... that would be a little too much to consume in one sitting. I may have to edit that part of the post.

"ellipsoidals AIN'T as big down here"... Now you are just trying to mess with me. "AIN'T"... you're from down under all right... down under Oklahoma in Texas.

Yes I am an ugly American. If you look up my picture in the Off Topic thread, "Putting a face to the name" you'll find out just how ugly I really am. And No it's not the jury duty that's cracked me it's the fact that they only pay $10 a day here when Van's wife got$12 a day by living 250 miles south of me. That does it, I'm selling my clothes and moving to Eugene to live in a Yurt (That's a city not far from where Van lives filled with hippies and a Yurt is "tent" in Australian).

Crap. Now I've randomly ranted in a perfectly good thread and need to come up with another secret to share to make up for it. I suggest you two do the same because you started this.
Litre - just because we choose to use English down here, rather than US English isn't our problem... The litre isn't actually an SI unit anyway, though it is accepted as an equivalent unit by the governing bodies. The SI unit would be the decimetre cubed.

Bunnings - No idea who Jim Bunning is. Bunnings down here is owned by Wesfarmers. From what I understand, it is akin to you lot saying it can be bought at "Home Depot".

Thanksgiving is celebrated in what the end of November? And you think we would be having a full roast in 30 degree plus temperatures? I don't think so... It has noting to do with being godless either... But is it not your United States that make such a big deal about separation of church and state? Oh, and if we didn't have BBQ trays, how would we be able to "Throw another shrimp on the barbie" as Paul Hogan made famous?

Ain't.... NOOOO. You lot have gotten to me and got me talking like a yank...

So your moving into a US equivalent of Nimbin / Byron Bay... and living in a tent... Might be a bit of a commute to your college job... Now 250 miles is what, divide by 5, multiply by 8, 400kms. Each way, each day. NO THANKYOU.

We really have stuffed this thread over... Sorry guys. I'm not old enough to have secrets to share. (Or at least that's the excuse I'm using...)

...Vans Super Secret Scenic Dope...
I think of VSSSD as an Open-source operating system, It'll only get better if every shares their own unique recipes.
Err, you have a rather misleading name there... How can it be super secret if you've posted it's recipe all over the net?

...(Chris I think that's like a vegemite and tuna sandwich to you). ...about 3/4 of an inch thick (1.905 cm).
I'm hoping that in this case, you've never tasted Vegemite... Because the mere thought of a Vegemite and tuna sandwich makes me feel ill...
And one would not normally be caught dead using centimetres in a workshop etc. So your 3/4" is 19mm.

Alright... Can't quite remember what it was that had a hold over me when I wrote that. Let's just go back to you lot speaking your warped language and me speaking my own and when we can't understand each other, then we'll worry 'bout it then.

#### Van

##### CBMod
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.........
Err, you have a rather misleading name there... How can it be super secret if you've posted it's recipe all over the net?

.
Sort of an inside joke here at the theatre now. We Don't have a full time scenic artist on staff, we hire them in on a show by show basis. No one here but me likes to do the surface prep. It got to be an inside joke between myself and the resident scenic designer, that it was, " Time to go make some of that secret stuff". It's a secret around here 'cause no one else wants to know.

#### stantonsound

##### Active Member
Not really a secret anymore, but it is a very cool effect.

Originally, I would put Tide liquid laundry detergent in the bubble fluid in the bubble machine.....about 1 part tide to 3 parts bubble juice. Then, during a dance or music, I would switch all of the lights to red and turn the bubble machine on. Very few people would notice that the bubbles were filling the room. Then, during a pretty cool part of the song, switch from the red light to just black lights. The Tide glows and it appears that you are swimming in glowing bubbles.

It is very cool for trance/techno shows/scenes. It would also work well for underwater scenes.

Instead of mixing Tide, they actually sell bubble fluid that glows, and I have seen it in gold and blue.

#### gafftaper

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Not really a secret anymore, but it is a very cool effect.
Originally, I would put Tide liquid laundry detergent in the bubble fluid in the bubble machine.....about 1 part tide to 3 parts bubble juice. Then, during a dance or music, I would switch all of the lights to red and turn the bubble machine on. Very few people would notice that the bubbles were filling the room. Then, during a pretty cool part of the song, switch from the red light to just black lights. The Tide glows and it appears that you are swimming in glowing bubbles.
It is very cool for trance/techno shows/scenes. It would also work well for underwater scenes.
Instead of mixing Tide, they actually sell bubble fluid that glows, and I have seen it in gold and blue.
Great idea. A key ingredient in laundry detergent is phosphorescent. Try just taking a plastic bag of laundry detergent with you the next time you play with black light. It's very cool stuff. I'm sure there are many potential uses for dry laundry detergent in a set flooded with black light. Also it would be interesting to experiment with not properly rinsing clothing so that it dries saturated with the stuff... might not work, might make your skin turn blue and itch. What about washing a drop in detergent, not rinsing it and then hanging it. It also might get all blotchy when the detergent dries... there are some possibilities there, don't exactly know what.

#### stantonsound

##### Active Member
Absolutely. A set can be covered with graffiti, just paint it with any chemical like this laundry detergent and then when black light is thrown on it, it will light up. Hidden messages, writing, etc... can all be seen.

#### Van

##### CBMod
CB Mods
Absolutely. A set can be covered with graffiti, just paint it with any chemical like this laundry detergent and then when black light is thrown on it, it will light up. Hidden messages, writing, etc... can all be seen.
Wow! it makes sense I just never really thought about that!

#### gafftaper

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Not really a special effects trick, more of a carpentry trick... but this seemed like a good place to post this...

A discussion over on the lighting board brought up the topic of unistrut being such a cool product to do all kinds of things with. A community theater in the area here has a great trick they do with unistrut to build their sets.

First off they buy the slotted steel unistrut. They slip a piece of 1X2 inside the unistrut. Now stand the unistrut up against a flat with the sloted side facing the back of the flat... the track side facing away from the set. Go around the front of the flat and run some screws through the flat and unistrut and into the 1X2. Now bolt the unistrut to the floor... repeat all around the set and install some unistrut across the top. When you are done you have a free standing box set with no need for Jacks that is strong as an ox. You'll never see a section of wall shake when a door gets slammed. You'll never see an actor trip of a jack in the dark. It's simple and yet so brilliant.