Using Rice as Rain on Stage...

BMROW

Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2015
Location
London
Hello,

We're planning on using rice on stage as fake rain. We've got about 200kg of long-grain rice that I'm planning on dropping over 3 flown bars. One down stage, one mid stage and one up-stage. It dropping on to the floor is fine as the audience never see it and we have a scene change directly after to sweep it up.

I'm a bit stuck on how to rig and drop the rice. In previous productions to drop snow we've made a snow bag which is fine because the plastic naturally disperses when it hits the air but the same wont happen with rice. I've done a small sample on some 6inch PVC pipe by drilling holes across 3/4 the diameter of the pipe and rolling the pipe- it wasn't successful.

We're hoping to rig later this week so any help would be appreciated!
Thanks in advance
 

venuetech

Well-Known Member
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Apr 14, 2008
Location
AK,
A simple solution but rice is food for all sorts of vermin. The critters won't show up immediately but if the rice gets into nooks and crannies, you may have a problem.
 

BMROW

Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2015
Location
London
Luckily where the rain will be dropping is on rostra which is 2.2m above stage level and will always be contained there as it fills the 3/4 of the stage. i'll be sure to gaff the traps as well though.
Thanks!
 

Amiers

Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
Joined
May 28, 2009
Location
Phoenix, Az
How long is the effect spose to last? I would say make a trap door and pull it every 2 or 3 secs for the ric to fall. Make the trough all wide as the rain effect needs to be and open open side for it to fall as needed.

TBH that's got to be a lot of rice.
 

bobgaggle

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Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Location
Philadelphia, PA
In a water rain effect, the holes in the pipe are usually at the top so the water can drip around and fall randomly, rather than in columns directly from the holes. The same principal still applies to rice. You need a way to scatter the grains so it looks natural.

I've never done this so take it with a grain of salt (rice?)

I'd build a box you can hang from your pipe, maybe 4" wide by the length of your stage. On the bottom face, cut/route slots evenly spaced along the length. Inside the box is another board with slots offset from the slots in the box. This board can slide along the length of the box and expose both slots, allowing the rice to fall through. Maybe some sort of traveler rigging to operate it from the deck. Underneath, I'd mount a piece of hog through with its trough down. when the rice falls onto the trough it should scatter and randomize.
Its a rough idea and definitely needs some R&D.

The pipe idea may work, but 3/4" holes seem way to big, maybe 1/4" holes with more rpm?
 

BMROW

Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2015
Location
London
Did a sample today on some 6" pipe and worked surprisingly well, we put drifts through the pipe to rig and then shook the pipe from SL to SR. Shaking from Left to Right made the falling look more natural so we're going to try it in the theatre but its looking promising. Thanks for all of the advice!
 

ruinexplorer

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Jul 16, 2005
Location
Las Vegas
Have you considered empty gelatin capsules instead of rice? They will catch the light a bit different than rice and have slightly different aerodynamics. However, they may be less likely to get caught in various nooks and crannies or attract vermin the same way. The higher the number, the smaller the capsule size. A #4 might be a similar size to what you are looking for. They can be bought in bulk from China.
 

bobgaggle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Location
Philadelphia, PA
Did a sample today on some 6" pipe and worked surprisingly well, we put drifts through the pipe to rig and then shook the pipe from SL to SR. Shaking from Left to Right made the falling look more natural so we're going to try it in the theatre but its looking promising. Thanks for all of the advice!
Can you link a video of your tests? I've never seen rice used, want to see what it looks like...
 
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