Thoughts to make a shooting star?

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by emseajay, May 17, 2016.

  1. emseajay

    emseajay Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    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!
     
  2. TheaterEd

    TheaterEd Renaissance Man Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    1,237
    Likes Received:
    541
    Location:
    Near Milwaukee
    If I saw a light up toy with streamers I would probably laugh, but not find it magical. My suggestion would be that the shooting star is over the audience's head. Run a slow L - R chase from your face lights and have the actors sell it.
     
    Leo Mauler and (deleted member) like this.
  3. Amiers

    Amiers Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.

    Messages:
    3,275
    Likes Received:
    1,394
    Occupation:
    Lighting Floor Tech
    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
     
  4. Skervald

    Skervald Active Member

    Messages:
    167
    Likes Received:
    55
    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.
     
  5. Colin

    Colin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    340
    Likes Received:
    323
    Occupation:
    Technical Director
    Location:
    Eastern Massachusetts
    Youtube search "LED Nerf darts".
     
  6. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    2,449
    Likes Received:
    1,112
    Location:
    Ottawa
    Our production gave the cast light up thumbs and had them catch and release shooting stars.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  7. bobgaggle

    bobgaggle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    820
    Likes Received:
    403
    Occupation:
    Shop Foreman
    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.
     
  8. emseajay

    emseajay Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    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!
     
  9. Skervald

    Skervald Active Member

    Messages:
    167
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    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.
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice