Walking thru a door as a Ghost

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by wyptaj, Jul 22, 2014.

  1. wyptaj

    wyptaj Member

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    Hi All,
    I've been asked to create all the effects for an amateur production of Ghost The Musical.

    Subsequently they want to produce as much magic as possible for the show and asked me as I am a Magician and have done illusion shows in my career.

    The only effect out of the show I need assistance with is the one where the Actor morphs his way through a closed door on stage.
    I don't know if anyone of you have seen the musical, but through the show the door is used as normal, it opens, shuts, people walk through. Then in one scene, Sam the main character is now a ghost and walks through a shut door. Here's an image I have found online.
    http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/201 ... ustom2.jpg

    However I have never used the peppers ghost or blue room illusion...and although I understand the principles especially with peppers ghost I have to create it on stage...especially when Sam as a ghost walks through the door on stage.
    I was thinking Peppers ghost might work if off stage the door is situated and the actor walks through the projected image on stage. But then my worry is would everyone see it properly no matter where they sit in the theatre or is peppers ghost not the right way to do it...
    But as you can appreciate the effect has to be seen by the whole audience as it's one of those moments that is iconic with the film and now the musical.

    The show isnt until next March and I have full say over the set design to incorporate whatever I need to produce all the magic.

    My drawback is that as its an amateur production, the access to the theatre happens on a Sunday, where the whole set is then built and rehearsals begin before the show opens on the Tuesday night. So doesn't give me long to get it right once we are in the theatre.

    Any help would be very much appreciated...
    Many thanks
    Paul
     
  2. MarshallPope

    MarshallPope Well-Known Member

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    One possibility for this that could work if used with the proper lighting, choreo, etc. could be to have a spandex door with a vertical slit cut in it that Sam could slip through, maybe with a quick jet of fog and/or a flash of a light to distract/disorient the audience as it happens.
     
  3. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Sherpa CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    This does not look like Pepper's Ghost. From this image, it appears as if there is front projection, hitting the actor and a surface behind him. It is possible that they are using something like the Heliodisplay type of technology (generally rear projected). You can try to build your own, but make sure that you have control over airflow if you go this direction.

    So, you will have a regular door that will take some misdirection to have it open and replaced with projection. The biggest trick with projection is perspective. It can really appear off to the audience member who is in the wrong seat, which will completely spoil the effect.
     
  4. wyptaj

    wyptaj Member

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    Thanks guys, for your comments and thoughts, it's very much appreciated.
    I am thinking of maybe combining your thoughts and having the spandex plus the projection to make it work effectively.
    BUt as you say Ruinexplorer, get the perspective right as well as ensuring that the whole audience experience the effect is the tricky part, especially as we only have 2 days in the Theatre before the show opens...
     
  5. islander1

    islander1 Member

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    Simple solution... Spandex door.
     
  6. ictwill

    ictwill Member

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    This was accomplished with a pepper's ghost variation. What you don't see in the photo you posted is the 6ft "poster frame" positioned directly downstage of the door, or the piece of glass (that I assume gets flown in) between, and parallel to, both the door opening and the poster frame. Earlier in the show Sam takes a 6 ft poster of a supermodel off of the glass/frame at Molly's request. This is purely setup and is a duplicate frame that is completely clear. There is a second frame that has a door printed on one side, but is still semi clear from the audience point of view. These one-way window decals have gained traction in the marketing industry and should be easy to have produced.
    In the midst of a partial blackout, while Sam is drawing attention on the far side of the stage, the practical door and frame are switched out with black spandex that has a slit, and the glass is flown in to the deck. When he returns to the door the backside of the "clear" frame is illuminated to create the "ghost" door, along with a sharp sidelight for Sam while he is in between the glass sheet and the switched out door frame. Keep Sam brighter than the door reflection to make sure you don't get much reflection showing on top of him, and don't forget to account for any other FOH light that could give away the sheet of glass.
    Since everything is parallel, the peppers ghost illusion holds true to virtually any seat in the theatre. As with any illusion, I hope your stage crew is at the top of their game. There are a lot of illusions in this show and all could easily go awry.
     

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  7. breakingboundaries

    breakingboundaries Member

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    From 1:19 onwards.... thanks for the amazing diagram ictwill - I find the illusions in this show fascinating, but after watching that video - how close is the glass to the door frame?? just can't get my head round it as it seems his arm is through where the glass would be??

    Also does anyone know how they achieved the coke can in the subway scene, obviously a remember the '42nd Street' sign having the gimmick attached, but where was the can projected from?
    PM me if you would rather not spill the secret on here.
     
  8. ictwill

    ictwill Member

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    The Glass is probably only 3ft from the doorway, which would put the poster frame another 3ft away. The camera in that footage is shooting at an angle so you don't see the poster frame, because it's "not important".

    The Coke can was another pepper's ghost illusion using a 45 degree angle approach (not sure where they hid the real can though...)
     
  9. SVF

    SVF Member

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    Hi all! New here and read this after lots of research and believe that ictwill is hitting the nail on the head after talking to an illusionist friend about it. I am just not sure of one aspect of the door fx. Is there anyone here who has achieved it or knows more to talk one on one about the FX and how to achieve in a theater setting?
     
  10. StageRight2019

    StageRight2019 Member

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    Hi all , late joining this convo. SVF did you get anywhere with this and can you share your findings. I have a community theatre project in November 2020 so want to sort the tricks out ASAP.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
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