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What Would You Do? - Firecracker Effect

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by cdub260, Jun 27, 2010.

  1. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    A few years back, the Pageant had a firecracker effect in the show. Pyro was not an option given our venue's proximity to brush land coupled with a very dry year. We were able to pull off the effect using non-pyrotechnical means, so I know it can be done. I know how we did it. Now I'd like to know how the CB community would pull off this effect.

    Guidlines:

    No Pyro:evil:
    Please give pro's and cons of your chosen method.;)

    Lets see what you come up with.:twisted:
     
  2. Studio

    Studio Active Member

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    The best way would be to observe Firecrackers in a safe way (outside at home provided it's legal) and use LED lighting to simulate the colors/flashes and an FX speaker blended with the house with high volumes and maybe some echos.

    Or

    The cheep way use an old spotlight and cycle through the colors that are firecracker (must be done offstage or through a window (my school did this and it was an ok effect)
     
  3. zmb

    zmb Well-Known Member

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    I saw an off-stage firework effect at a high school for YCTIWY and lighting designer said it was a LED fixture randomly going through colors based on sound.
     
  4. MPowers

    MPowers Well-Known Member

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    A couple more details please. You say a "firecracker FX" but you don't say if it is sound only or if there is a visible element involved. If visible, is it simply a lone firecracker going off or a string? Is the firecracker supposed to "blow up" or "lift" anything????

    Michael Powers, Project Manager
    ETCP Certified Rigger - Theatre
    Central Lighting & Equipment Inc.
    675 NE 45th Place, Des Moines, Iowa, 50313
     
  5. TEarlywine

    TEarlywine Member

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    for the sound of a single "firecracker" (ie: tommy djilas in music man) I've found those inflated plastic packing pillows (apprx 2"x3") squeezed to popping is a darned good substitute. plus just as fun as popping bubble wrap
     
  6. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    The effect we did had to give the appearance of a string of firecrackers going off in the house, not on stage. So yes! There is a visual element!

    I'd have thought this would be fairly obvious as I didn't post this in the sound forum.:rolleyes:

    Even so, this is largely an exercise in creativity. I'm reasonably certain that there are no right or wrong answers to this hypothetical question.
     
  7. DuckJordan

    DuckJordan Well-Known Member

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    we did a similar effect for YCTIWY but we used our pit, we have 1x6's attached at one end by hinges with handles placed about half way up the 1x6 about 3 foot long. There are holes drilled in the 1x6 as well. so a few technicians in the pit (about 4) all armed with these and 3 fresnels or pars with red yellow and orange gel flashed by our lightboard op coupled with the slapping of the boards makes a very good firework/ gun sound.
     
  8. MarshallPope

    MarshallPope Well-Known Member

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    My instinct would be to put several of those cheap hanging strobe-on-a-strings and gel them to various shades of gold and orange. I would put them on 4 channels or so of relay packs and chase through them.
     
  9. ajb

    ajb Active Member

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    So a whole string, huh? Depending on visual range, a batch of star strobes like MarshallPope suggests could work, although I wouldn't bother chasing them. For a closer-up effect, maybe a bunch of krypton flashlight bulbs wired up to a microcontroller to chase through them, dressed up with a bunch of string and dowel bits painted red.
     
  10. zmb

    zmb Well-Known Member

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  11. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Good thought, [user]zmb[/user]. As a matter of fact, MAC500s, Studio Spots, and many other hard-edge MLs, have a built-in macro that does just as you describe. Some call it "Iris Pops." When run backwards (light comes on with iris closed, as iris opens intensity fades out), it looks like raindrops falling on a surface.

    To program this without using a fixture's macros requires a console that allows discrete timing and delay of each parameter.
     
  12. ajb

    ajb Active Member

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    So I'm picturing a firecracker string like this, is this what you had in mind cdub?
    [​IMG]
    File:Firecracker String.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

    If so, that changes things quite a bit from what it seems some people have in mind.

    I will stand by my idea for the time being, with an addition: some smoke and localized sound would really help sell the effect!

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2010
  13. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    Yup! That's exactly the type of effect that I had in mind.

    Now, if we can get this thread up to three pages, preferably of constructive posts rather than filler, I just might tell you how we did it.
     
  14. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Being a projectionist, I'd prefer rear projecting on screen or haze.
     
  15. CSCTech

    CSCTech Active Member

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    You said this effect was done in the house. All I can think of is border lights gelled with different shades of orange and yellows, and have a hazer running in the house somewhere hidden and have it running while the show is going before the effect. Would require quit a bit of work depending on the venue.

    Edit-
    Or maybe if the house has wall scones, gel those. (Depending on the scones maybe taping a few colors together.) Wouldn't be able to use them during seating though. So they would need to be independent from the rest of the houselights.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2010
  16. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    Here's a picture of my venue. It may help to visualize the setting.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. producer

    producer Active Member

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    When we did YCTIWY we threw caution into the wind and used real fireworks. Not only was it against fire regs, city regs, and building regs, these were also illegally brought up from the states. We really hoped that the fire marshall wouldnt show.

    Where in the venue did the firecrackers have to come from. I know, out in the house, but I'm wondering exactly where.
     
  18. zmb

    zmb Well-Known Member

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    This was back in January but it was mainly coming out of a door in the set. That's all I can remember.
     
  19. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    The firecracker effect was at the bases of the two speaker trusses pictured in front of the stage building. (See photo in an earlier post)
     
  20. producer

    producer Active Member

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    I'd be inclined to build a cluster of colored LED's in a similar lay out to the string of firecrackers previously pictured. Each LED would fire as part of a pre-programmed chase or cue. For the sound fx, it would just be a dedicated monitor just below. But that's me, when I'm not on a show I tend to take the complicated approach.

    If i was in a show with 2 weeks left... I'd dig up a couple yellow/orange LED's wire them together, and power them (with resistors of course)via dmx relay to act as the firecracker shots. If i was so inclined and had a decent smoke machine with minimal heat up time, I'd fire it off per firecracker shot.And of course a dedicated monitor. I like LEDs and soldering irons.
     

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