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Using 1.4G smoke items for smoke effects

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by egorleski, May 11, 2006.

  1. egorleski

    egorleski Member

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    I thought of this a few weeks ago and something seems inherently wrong with this idea and yet when i think about it more and more i stuggle to find the problem. There are many consumer smoke bombs or similar smoke items made that produce voluminous amounts of fog from a small package. In a recent set we did at my school there was nowhere to hide fog tubes and nowhere to place a fog machine because the set was so open. This proved to be a major dilema when it came to doing certain effects, but we figured out a way. It seems to me that you could easily hide a small smoke firework and run the thin wires to basicaly anywhere so that would could ignite them remotely. These effects are legal in many places, and are very safe as it is not emiting any sparks or stars. Obviously you would still want to flame proof the surrounding area and make sure that you would not be igniting them so that the fog would be coming out directly at someones face. ANd since many of these smoke effects have lots of sulfur, i would probably check on any related allergys, but all of these are quick easy things. So i guess my questions are:
    1) why do i have this gut feeling that this isn't such a good idea?
    2) Would you be able to run fog out of one of these objects over some ice or dry ice and make it lie low? is this effect with fog due to temperature entirely or does it only work because of the size of the gycol molecules?
     
  2. Mayhem

    Mayhem Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    First of all – 1.4G is a rated explosive, regardless of the presence of stars or sparks. So you are going to need a pyro license of some description and also approval from your local authorities.

    Secondly, because these are electronically fired, don’t be confused as to the method of ignition. They will have an electronic match that creates a spark to ignite the powder. As such, there is always a chance (although remote) that the unit could cause a fire.

    Thirdly – as the smoke is produced by burning a powder, the smoke is going to rise very quickly (due to the heat) and will have a completely different look that a smoke machine. You will certainly not get a low smoke effect.
     
  3. ricc0luke

    ricc0luke Active Member

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    yea, smoke and fog are 2 totally different beasts not to be confused. smoke you cannot breath in large quanities- even some small quanities are hard to breath in, fog you are still able to breath in.
     
  4. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Unless I'm wrong, smoke WILL set off fire alarms. And it will cause breathing problems. Consider that many fire related injuries are the result of smoke inhalation. I would stay away from these.
     
  5. ricc0luke

    ricc0luke Active Member

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    for the record... fog will set off some alarms- i was brought in as the TD for a show at the community college, we had physical plant disable all the alarms inside the theatre area- but the back door was cracked open and there was smoke detector right outside the back door- last song before intermission we were using large amounts of fog and set off the alarms-
     
  6. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    A couple more reasons to go with your gut feeling that its not a good idea:

    1. A smoke bomb is uncontrolled; once started it can’t stop until it burns out.

    2. Smoke from these sources is the result of combustion and is not the same as theatrical smoke, fog, or haze. The vast majority of theatrical effects are composed of carbon dioxide/dry ice, glycols, or mineral oil. None of these are the result of burning something else.

    Joe
     
  7. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    This has previously been discussed at length here. Basically, if you are using an atmospheric effect, get the fire alarms in the theatre and surrounding areas isolated. You don't want it whereby the door onto the stage is open and some of the fog gets into a dressing room and sets off the alarm there.
     
  8. dwt1

    dwt1 Member

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    If you are considering isolating smoke detectors I believe your local fire dept. would have some strong concerns about the safety of everyone in the theatre.

    We have a new fire chief who will not let us light a match on stage and as frustrating as it may be, it does force us to reconsider what we are trying to do and has created some imaginative and effective alternatives.

    As stated earlier, smoke and fog are different and the likelihood of someone reacting poorly to smoke is an obvious hazard. If we are trying to act like professionals then we should remember that professionals don't do things that will endanger others; amateurs do that...sometimes only once.
     
  9. koncept

    koncept Active Member

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    there was a thing on the radio a couple of days ago. A band manager lit off some pyro about three years ago which set the club on fire and killed 100 people inside of it...lets just say its not going to happen again. He was not licensed. My sugestion, and im sure others would agree, do not use fireworks to create effects on stage unless licensed and you have obtained all the necessary permits, even then consider any alternatives first.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10704044/ - thats the news article about his sentencing
     
  10. egorleski

    egorleski Member

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    Yea i would never actualy use these items i just wondered what others had to say on the matter. as far as licenses, i dont no about other states but in Illinois the new law redefined what a "firework" is so that devices that soley emit smoke are not fireworks and therefore do not require any kind of license but should still be used wit caution
     
  11. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    That was the band, Great White. About 100 people were killed. And these were "professionals" who supposedly had experience.

    Egorleski, you're an amateur. Don't f**k around with half-*[email protected]#*[email protected]#*[email protected]#*[email protected]#*[email protected]#ed smoke bombs. (I think I made that clear enough). If you're looking for an atmospheric effect, it can be done legally and safely. You may not have the money to do it, but there's probably a solution that will work. I've seen atmospherics pushed a couple hundred feet through a 1" flexible pipe. It wasn't easy and we had to put several biscuit fans in the line, but it worked.
     
  12. egorleski

    egorleski Member

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    len- u must not have read through my posts on this topic. I prefaced this thread with the idea that this isn't a good idea, and mentioned that i ended up doing the effect with fog. I mearly wanted to hear what people had to say about types of effects. I later addressed the issue of legality, but yes, in some states it may be a concern. I even addressed some of the possible safety measures that could be taken, but stated even that may not be enough. And remember you have no idea if im an amature or if im george lucas, this is the internet.
     
  13. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    No, I don't know if you're George Lucas. But I do know you're 17, or at least you claim to be. I am somewhat familiar with the kind of risks the average 17 y/o is willing to take. And the fact that you even raised the question means you thought about it and were soliciting opinions. If you don't like hearing opinions perhaps you shouldn't raise the question.
     
  14. dwt1

    dwt1 Member

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    Gentlemen:

    The question was asked and answered. Further deliberation of the question may be uneeded and aspersions of relative maturity and experience are unwarranted.

    Thanks,

    dwt1
     
  15. SouthFloridaSFX

    SouthFloridaSFX Member

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    Keep in mind that those are 1.4G devices and will require a permit. Also, most important they burn very hot and give off sulfur gases which in a closed building could cause serious heath problems. If you looking for low budget smoke, cauvet foggers can be purchased new for like $40.00
     
  16. jonhirsh

    jonhirsh Active Member

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    Ok since i have my pyro license i will take this one.

    Smoke effects that are pyro related are extremly differnt then a smoke or fog or haze machine in the sense that its flame causing the smoke. The effect burns with a small 2inch flame at the site of the cartrige. So you need about 12' vertical clearance and 15' radious from audiance members and an 7' from performers. So you are not able to hide it near a set even fire proff because you need a large clearance for any pyro from objects or people.

    next. the effects from pyro smoke cartriges are not that fantastic. they are weak and kinda useless unless your willing to spend 20 bucks a shot on a good effect from Le Matrie lets say. and even then they last about 30 seconds and dont do much. you must use them in a well ventilated enviorment. so this rules out most theatre applications.

    They are pyro so as stated above you must have a licensed pyro tech to activate it. Do not practice pyrotechnics if your not licenced it can lead to death and jail time and or fines.

    JH
     
  17. SouthFloridaSFX

    SouthFloridaSFX Member

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    And again, even if you were pyro certified, the gases given off from cheap 1.4g smoke bombs are highly toxic.
     

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