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  • Theatrical Effects: Replicating a Pyrotechnic Effect Without Any Pyro

    Oh man, this is a blast from the past. If I'm remembering correctly, nothing actually. She just either jumped out of a wing or appeared in unexpected locations. If I was designing this today, I might have attempted a audience blinder method using LED fixtures. All fixtures full white, full intensity for half second, autofollowing into a blackout, then up reasonably fast. If the witch doesn't have to move far, it can work fairly seamlessly. I've used that method for both appearances and disappearances. Unfortunately, if you are in a small theatre that doesn't have LED fixtures, the effect doesn't work nearly as seamlessly because the heat up and cool down of the incandescent bulbs.We didn't want to use smoke effects for the entrance, because we were worried about differentiating the melt...

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    Oh man, this is a blast from the past. If I'm remembering correctly, nothing actually. She just either jumped out of a wing or appeared in unexpected locations. If I was designing this today, I might have attempted a audience blinder method using LED fixtures. All fixtures full white, full intensity for half second, autofollowing into a blackout, then up reasonably fast. If the witch doesn't have to move far, it can work fairly seamlessly. I've used that method for both appearances and disappearances. Unfortunately, if you are in a small theatre that doesn't have LED fixtures, the effect doesn't work nearly as seamlessly because the heat up and cool down of the incandescent bulbs.We didn't want to use smoke effects for the entrance, because we were worried about differentiating the melting from the standard entrance, but you could make a fog-bag for a poofing smoke effect. You will need a large plastic bag. Put the bag offstage with the mouth towards stage. Fill the bag with fog, keeping the mouth fairly closed. Using a foamcore sheet (or just arms spread wide), pushing down on the bag rapidly will create a decent, billowing poof of smoke.

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