For those devilish moments

This is the place for Technical Tips, Questions and Answers.

For those devilish moments

Postby CvdC » 13 May 2013, 07:00

I was looking about and found this place in the uk that sells smoke in a can
http://www.maplin.co.uk/smoke-spray-in-a-can-20746?doy=7m2&c=so&u=strat15
It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
User avatar
CvdC
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 1032
Joined: 12 Aug 2006, 01:02
Location: Antipodes

Re: For those devilish moments

Postby lesclarke » 13 May 2013, 10:42

I remember the design on the can, I bought some years back and it wasn't suitable for use in daylight situations, you couldn't see the smoke, possibly meant to be used in dark room with the smoke illuminated.

Instead I used flash wool and powder as others do, but got fed up with clearing up the mess, but can look impressive.
As if I haven't got enough to do today, with all I've got to do today.
User avatar
lesclarke
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 756
Joined: 14 Sep 2006, 17:12
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Re: For those devilish moments

Postby Chris » 13 May 2013, 23:02

Yes, I agree Les. This stuff, designed to be used with disco lighting, is pretty feeble and certainly wouldn't show much in daylight. Even proper theatrical smoke powder in a smoke machine, while dense onstage, dissipates rapidly in the open air. Also this smells vile. We used to use in in a burning cottage scene in "The Maiden's Sacrifice". I had to work directly above the machine, as I brought in the villain to be killed by a falling beam, risking asphixiation and if I failed to hold my breath was reduced to coughing and spluttering. I believe modern smoke machines are less toxic and use a burning oil rather than powder.
One May Fayre Garry Wilson's Devil's entry came amid a spectacular sheet of flame which was achieved, I believe, by blowing lycopodium powder through a naked flame. Very effective, and very dangerous!
It's good to squawk!
Image
User avatar
Chris
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3214
Joined: 05 Jul 2006, 11:13
Location: North Wales

Re: For those devilish moments

Postby CvdC » 14 May 2013, 05:17

In adult shows at night, with lighting, I have taken to playing the devil as though he were an old luvvie from the theatre in somewhat reduced circumstances. This is done with a few asides out of characteer and a histrionic performance. So I thought a flash or a puff of smoke would make it a bit more stagey. I have used talcum powder and an air bed pump. Which is of course a bit messy.
So in my search for an alternative I have tried to avoid the toxic and inflamable options.
I gather there are three powders one can choose from:
Talcum powder
Fullers earth
And silica, used in a puffer for testing smoke alarms and as a cosmetic.
Anyone had any experience there?

The other is the flash powder that comes in various form but needs some sought of ignition system.

The good thing about smoke is you can raise a laugh by having the devil cough and wave his arms about to clear away the smoke. Adult audiences love it when things go awry.
It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
User avatar
CvdC
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 1032
Joined: 12 Aug 2006, 01:02
Location: Antipodes

Re: For those devilish moments

Postby lesclarke » 14 May 2013, 14:54

There are many others with magical skills who will know about how to use flash materials, but here is a simple set up I have used in the past, and coincidentally was thinking about having a go again, so it was handy to find and photo it.

A piece of aluminium tube, with a big bulldog clip to fasten it to the side of the playboard.

Image

Once clipped in place the arms of the clip can be moved and the tube pointed upwards at an angle.

Image

The tube has removable carrier, seen in the final picture, for the flash wool and powder, this aids cleaning, and flash wool acts as the fuse to be lit.

Image

Image

Image

After experimenting I found just the right amount of flash wool and flash powder to use, too little not enough effect, too much made more of a mess on the playboard.

The way I used it was to have the Devil announce his coming, and Punch to scarper, Take Punch down and hang on his hook, Devil repeats he is coming, use right hand to light flash effect, Devil up, Ahahhhhh! Where's he gone? etc. Punch reappears below playboard, followed by chase biz.
As if I haven't got enough to do today, with all I've got to do today.
User avatar
lesclarke
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 756
Joined: 14 Sep 2006, 17:12
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Re: For those devilish moments

Postby Chris » 14 May 2013, 20:57

Oh I was thinking in terms of smoke, not flash Les, but if you are finding a problem with your flash pot producing too much residue try using flash paper, crumpled and balled, instead of the flash powder. But still use the flash wool for the initial ignition. I use this system for in a magic trick "shooting the yolk into an egg" where I first use a small nuclear explosion to scramble the egg. It might also work for your purposes.
It's good to squawk!
Image
User avatar
Chris
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3214
Joined: 05 Jul 2006, 11:13
Location: North Wales

Re: For those devilish moments

Postby Chris » 14 May 2013, 21:35

Smoke bombs and cartridges are usually made from potassium nitrate and sugar. Various recipes aand systems can be found on the internet.
However if you just want a puff of apparent smoke, then of the powders you mention Chris the only one I have used is talcum powder. Eric Bramall had a marionette xylophonist with a relcalcitrant instrument and one of its peculiarities was to emit a puff of smoke when a certain key was struck. This was achieved with a motor horn bulb loaded with talcum powder, but I seem to remember we got better results with zinc stearate.
We also used lycopodium powder which is actually a plant spore.*

Incidently this xylophone had a figure of Punch on the front, who cheekily thumbed his nose at the audience.

* Also used for flash balls when ignited, I previously mentioned Gary Wilson's wonderful devil appearance in a flash of fire. Here's the science behind it - and a design for its use.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAdElO1FCSM
It's good to squawk!
Image
User avatar
Chris
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3214
Joined: 05 Jul 2006, 11:13
Location: North Wales

Re: For those devilish moments

Postby James » 15 May 2013, 08:59

An interesting topic, and those that saw my show on Sunday will have seen I do the opposite, and have Punch chuck the devil back 'down stairs' after their fight, and he disappears in a puff of smoke and flame.

This I achieve, as Chris and Les mentioned with flash products, all comercially available online. I use a small quantity of flash powder, for the smoke, on a piece of flash cotton, wrapped in a three inch square of flash paper (to keep it all tidy). This is placed in a Hand Flasher, which magicians will be familiar with. It's basically a metal tube, sealed at one end, with a flint striker at the top, so it can be operated with one hand, and nothing can spill out. A little bit more expensive than Les's home made one, but very easy to use. You can pick it up, and strike the flint with your thumb. One of the advantages is that on a blustery day a flame would blow out, this one won't.

lesclarke wrote:After experimenting I found just the right amount of flash wool and flash powder to use, too little not enough effect, too much made more of a mess on the playboard.


Flash wool doesn't produce any residue when it burns, the mess you mention will be a metal oxide formed when the flash powder burns (most likely magnesium oxide but will depend on the powder). The proscenium arch is only very small, so you only need a little powder.

I've used the 'smoke in a can' product CVDC started the thread off a lot when touring schools with large puppet shows. It looks wonderful under stage lighting, but is more of a haze effect, than smoke.

The lycopodium effect Chris talked about, sometimes called Dragon's Breath, is very impressive. Other powders will have the same effect, I think Gary Wilson used powdered rosin for a while. I found the cheapest option, that still produced an excellent effect was Coffee Whitener (about £6 a kilo, rather than £6 an ounce). Many powders will burn fiercly in this manner, but can be very dangerous, look at the numerous flour mill disasters.

Whatever you do, be careful!
Arnott's Gowns for Clowns, Est 1985
User avatar
James
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 788
Joined: 13 Aug 2006, 11:25
Location: London

Re: For those devilish moments

Postby Chris » 15 May 2013, 19:12

Yes, powdered rosin is an alternative to lycopodium which Gary may well have used. I saw this used by an Indian troupe of Shadow puppeteers apppearing at the International Festival of Eire, in The Lambert Puppet Theatre, a couple of years ago.
It's good to squawk!
Image
User avatar
Chris
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3214
Joined: 05 Jul 2006, 11:13
Location: North Wales

Re: For those devilish moments

Postby CvdC » 16 May 2013, 02:45

Do flash powders ignite with a spark? Perhaps there is a way to rig up a spark producing gadget that could be operated by one's foot or the hand of a puppet so that the Devil could come up at in conjunction with the flash and puff?
I'm thinking of combining a torch with rubber puffer to get a simultaneous flash to light a puff of powder.

My current method
Image
It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
User avatar
CvdC
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 1032
Joined: 12 Aug 2006, 01:02
Location: Antipodes

Re: For those devilish moments

Postby James » 16 May 2013, 08:42

No, but flash cotton will, which is why it is used in the hand flasher device I mentioned.

Be careful spraying talc everywhere, not all bookers will be keen on hoovering it up afterwards!
Arnott's Gowns for Clowns, Est 1985
User avatar
James
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 788
Joined: 13 Aug 2006, 11:25
Location: London

Re: For those devilish moments

Postby CvdC » 16 May 2013, 22:25

I'm not sure I like having to hoover up the talc also.
I think I'll go to the magic shop and see what they have. I don't think you can get this in the post as there is some restriction on posting inflammable substances. As it is I think ,because of chris's instructions above, this forum is now on the terrorist watch list. Chris can expect a visit from the lads in the squad any day now.
It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
User avatar
CvdC
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 1032
Joined: 12 Aug 2006, 01:02
Location: Antipodes

Re: For those devilish moments

Postby Chris » 16 May 2013, 22:50

Flash wool (cotton), flash string and flash paper are all available through the post. They are sent wet. You need to let them dry out. Keep them in an airtight non-metallic container - best in small quantities when dry.
It's good to squawk!
Image
User avatar
Chris
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3214
Joined: 05 Jul 2006, 11:13
Location: North Wales

Re: For those devilish moments

Postby CvdC » 17 May 2013, 00:24

Never let it be said I do not take advice.
I found an online shop that sells the ignition devices with long leads that will be able to reach to the floor so I can operate the switch with my foot. You can just buy the 1.5V glow plugs as well and make your own as Les has. We shall see. My booth could be the first in space if I over do it.
I only plan to use this at night in the occasional older audience show. It is too much fiddle for outdoor shows done three times a day. So hopefully the flash cotton doesn't go off over time.
http://www.theatrefx.com/
This firm did not ship incendiary products by air. But after ordering the device from the above I found a place nearby that sells the glow plugs and flash wool and paper. So there you go.

In my journey around the web there was a video on youtube in which some bloke takes a pipe and glues a nut to one end. He then screws on a 1.5V glow plug and attaches the wires,switch and battery. The switch being one that goes on and off again in one click ( momentary firing switch) . If this can be operated by the puppet or by foot then it should be possible to have the Devil pop up in conjunction with the flash. Could be fun.
It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
User avatar
CvdC
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 1032
Joined: 12 Aug 2006, 01:02
Location: Antipodes


Return to Punch Workshop

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests