Thoughts to make a shooting star?

emseajay

Member
Joined
May 17, 2016
Location
Chicago
Hi folks,

I am designing a production of Mary Poppins this summer, and it is (apparently) my task to find a solution for the shooting star at the end of the show. I've asked around but am still not very sure where to begin and would like some ideas/suggestions. It should be noted that projections are not an option, and that I do not have a full stage scrim (but may have some bits laying around if they could be useful). I'm leaning toward a more props-related solution as my lighting inventory is fairly limited. Some suggestions I've heard so far have included:

-- some kind of pendulum with a jewel-y ball, perhaps a light-up toy with streamers or dressed up otherwise
-- small light-up toy with streamers, shot from a cannon
-- glitter cannon with flash paper???

But you know the drill: ideally cheap, reliable, and can give the audience the magic they came for. If such a thing exists. I appreciate your thoughts! Thanks!
 

Amiers

Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
Joined
May 28, 2009
Location
Phoenix, Az
How long does it have to last?

You mentioned a scrim , you could get away with putting some shooting star toys on string and track then having hands launch them back and forth at each other. with some low light and the toys lighting up.

Maybe something like this and add some lights to it. Link
 

Skervald

Active Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2014
Location
Minneapolis, MN
I agree with @TheaterEd. Sometimes it's okay for the audience to find an effect funny and sometimes it totally ruins the moment. His suggestion is a really good solution. I've also had good result putting a tiny light source behind a muslin sky drop. It doesn't take much to punch through whatever color you're washing it with and the effect can appear and disappear completely very quickly.
 

bobgaggle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Location
Philadelphia, PA
so we did a shooting star once. Had a battery powered LED on a fishing line behind a scrim. on cue the op would release a line and it would slide down the wire to the deck, near the perspective vanishing point of the painted scrim. Since you don't have a scrim you could do this over your audience's heads out in the house. Don't know you're space, but if you've got a high ceiling you can rig your line over the house and send an LED out there. Make a light tight box that it can glide into and there you go. Ours was a plywood box with some foam in it to keep the impact noise down, it had a flap of velour that the light pushed through and kept it light tight. If you get your angle steep enough it can be a quick effect and the audience maybe wont have time to turn around and look up, but they'll notice the new moving light source.
 

emseajay

Member
Joined
May 17, 2016
Location
Chicago
@bobgaggle It is an outdoor space so it would probably be difficult to rig something over the house, but I do think it would be possible to rig something with a wire behind the backdrop. That would definitely keep it consistent and replicable. An earlier replier said that they had luck with a small light source behind a muslin backdrop, which I think is what I'll try for first. I was considering the LED darts also-- fabricating a low-weight light source, like a foam ball with LEDs, but possibly with streamers in the back as well to slow it down a bit. I would like for it to last around 5 seconds if possible so the audience has a chance to see it when it's referenced.

@Skervald how far away was the light source from the backdrop you mentioned? Less than a foot? I'm wondering if I use a foam LED ball, between the foam and the muslin it may diffuse the light too much. I'll probably have to do some trials at home before I head off to the space.

Thanks for the input everyone!
 

Skervald

Active Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2014
Location
Minneapolis, MN
@Skervald how far away was the light source from the backdrop you mentioned? Less than a foot? I'm wondering if I use a foam LED ball, between the foam and the muslin it may diffuse the light too much. I'll probably have to do some trials at home before I head off to the space.
I agree. the foam would probably diffuse the light too much to get the effect you're looking for. My light source was a small focused LED pointed directly at the muslin drop from an inch or two away. My muslin was thin enough that it started to act a little bit like a scrim so I had to be careful to keep anything I didn't want seen well away from the light. Rather than launching an illuminated ball behind the drop, I might investigate @bobgaggle 's idea and put your light source on a wire behind the drop. Run the wire at whatever angle suits your needs and let the light travel along it. It would help keep the spacing between drop and light consistent and take the diffusing foam out of the equation. The down side is you wouldn't be able to purchase any Nerf toys.