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What Would You Do? - Firecracker Effect

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

  1. CrisCole

    CrisCole Member

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    For a fantasy effect of fire-cracker, we've used a flash pot and the actor mimed throwing something, setting the flash pot off a split second later, which was triggered by a violinist who made a 'screach' on the violin as she set it off.

    We've also had the actor mime throwing something, and used a 'Party Popper' (found at Wal-Mart) off stage for the sound.

    We've also used flash paper. It's really a great effect. Just use a glow plug to ignite it, and have the actor toss it. If done right, it's safe and will burn up before it touches the ground.

    We've also used real fire-crackers. (The kind you throw on the ground hard to make them go off-not the ones you light.) We lay down a some fire proof lining, and a metal sheet on top, and just throw them on the sheet, which is then pulled offstage.

    We've never used the firecrackers you light, but we did to a comic bomb once. It was a bowling ball that was painted with black fire resistant spray, and then gaff-taped some flash string to it. That worked well.

    Hope it helped. :D
     
  2. WooferHound

    WooferHound Active Member

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    I remember reading a story 30 years ago about a Firecracker effect gone wrong . . .
    Seems that a stage production had dressed a guy up to look like a firecracker with a rope for a fuse. Another actor was trying to light the fuse with a real lighter while a bag of cooking flour was dumped on the guy to simulate the explosion. Turns out that flour is explosive as a dust in the air and it detonated. I can't remember the outcome, but remember that many kinds of dust are explosive as dust in the air.
    I tried to search this story on the internet but the search words are too common to find it easy.
     
  3. Soxred93

    Soxred93 Active Member

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    Yep. Sawdust, non-dairy creamer, and many other dry particles in the air are EXTREMELY flammable. Didn't they see the MythBusters episode??
     
  4. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    It's been known since at least the middle ages. After a few mills blew up, they found that they could not make flour at night. They even used that as a plot line in the Michael Crichton book/movie Timeline.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2014
  5. chausman

    chausman Chase Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Kind of an old thread but since it is stuck at the top, i might try. First off, CSCTech,
    . It would be awesome if my theater had scones on it. Although it might get bad after a while. (A scone is a pastry. A SCONCE is a type of light on a wall.)

    Second. I might find a place to put a fog machine facing the audience in the place you want the effect (with it hidden). I would try to focus some extra lights with different shades of red and orange gel facing where the fog would come out. Then, with timing practice) you set the fog machine to go, play a sound effect, and flash the colored lights. I don't know if it would work, but it seems plausible. I would try to put the fog machine vertically, then it might look more like a string. Then, there would also be "smoke" from them. You could even put a fake string in the spot the could be pulled away during the effect. Confused yet? Hard to remember while typing.
     
  6. tyler.martin

    tyler.martin Active Member

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    see if you can find some egg strobes and paint the glass red, orange and yellow, and make your strings.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  7. AhClem

    AhClem Member

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    I can think of three possibilities...

    1) A lamp inside a pair of long (length-of-firecracker-string-ish), counter-rotating tubes with small holes that randomly align to reveal the light source. Scraps of gel over a few holes wil add to the illusion. Downside... firecracker cues will typically be a one-time cue and I just don't trust motorized effects to function on cue (usually due to my kludgey craftmanship).

    2) Use a small light source aimed at a small audio speaker cone with tiny mirror facets or sequins glued to it. You could have any audio signal controlling the speaker (maybe playback of firecracker audio effects?) and use the reflected light to light your 'prop' firecracker strings. Downside... small total light output.

    3) Make/modify a fanbox to blow streamers of opaque black material with either small grain of wheat style lamps (or LED's) at the ends or reflective mylar, so the lights/mylar are obscured and revealed as the streamers wave.
     
  8. hobbsies

    hobbsies Active Member

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    What I would do would create a random flicker effect with a series of LEDs on the arduino, several different channels. To build it, oi would insert LEDs into small tubes or just firecrackers with the cracker stuff scooped out. Wire them up to a small box with three AAs and a ATMEGA or something similar, and a switch. Flick it on, throw it on stage, and have the sound guy play some loud firecracker sounds. Bonus mightbe to add some sort of smoke effect, would have to research that though.

    Here's something sort of similar I did to create a grenade fuse on stage:
     
  9. Tron

    Tron Member

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  10. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    @cdub260 Hey Cdub, it's been 4 years and you never told us how you did it!
     
  11. Moose Hatrack

    Moose Hatrack Member

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    Four years and waiting! We just finished a shoestring production that peaked with a firing squad in the next to last scene. Kind of like firecrackers, right? The firing squad scene was staged behind a Chameleon scrim. The upstage blacks were open to expose the brick wall behind the stage. (Up until this point, action behind the scrim had been against black) I simply hung two 150 watt clear incandescent lamps on the brick wall in the general location of the prop rifles. The firing squad was between the brick wall and the scrim on stage right. The protagonist who was about to be shot was likewise behind the scrim on stage left. It went like this... Audience attention was 100% on the character being shot as he shouted his last words. Very loud gunshots played off a wave file while the two incandescent lamps were flashed alternately in a series of rapid cues. In this prolonged instant of "gunfire" the entire scene went black behind the scrim and music came up immediatley to play under the final scene. It didn't have to be convincing, it just had to have an unexpectedly impressive impact. Many asked how it was done (I cautiously file that question under "compliment"). Success was clearly due to misdirection. The cheap flashing 150 watt lamps looked great because everybody saw them out of the corners of their eyes. The halo effect of the chameleon scrim and the LOUD sound effect put the icing on it. Everyone was riveted to the shouted words of the condemned hero. Didn't give them time to think about it.
     
  12. Brandon Merkle

    Brandon Merkle Member

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    My way was borrowed from some graphic-novel stylized ideas made popular by movies like Sin City and Scott Pilgrim. Used this gobo: [​IMG] with a red gel,
    along with a custom gobo that said Snap! Bang! Crackle!. Put them each in an LED Source Four and set up a sustained strobe effect shot at the Cyc after the actor threw the "firecracker". Good times.
     
  13. lwinters630

    lwinters630 Well-Known Member

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    Some pars with a step chase various timing, combined with led pars random strobe. Regular pars give the slow decay while at the same time the leds quick "pop" in color.
     
  14. Bryce_J

    Bryce_J Member

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  15. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    Alright ya whiners! So impatient! :angryoldman:

    Here's how we did it. We used eight American DJ Flash Ropes with the strobes tight packed on a board, one board SR, one board SL attached to the front of the stage building. This was combined with a firecracker sound effect. The flashing was a random order, but it got still got the point across. Setting it up was dead simple. It took a couple hours with a cable stapler to attach Flash Ropes to the boards, but that was the hardest part of the entire process. After that it was just a matter of coordinating a light cue with a sound cue.
     

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