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Topic: Fiber Optic Lights
Message: Posted by: Tony Brent (Feb 22, 2006 10:29PM)
We need to create an effect whereas tiny lights appear above the heads of the audience, almost like stars. Any ideas as to how to create this effect?

Tony Brent
Orlando, Florida
Message: Posted by: kdb424 (Feb 24, 2006 03:06PM)
Maby the d'lite flite, but that is expensive.
Message: Posted by: EsnRedshirt (Feb 24, 2006 04:24PM)
How high? Two ideas come to mind, but may or may not be feasible depending on needs and budget. These both assume, though, that you're inside a theatre, or have some sort of structure over the audience from which to suspend effects. One idea is gobo lights and/or scrim; this can make some dynamic effects if used properly. The other possibility I can think of is a hookup of lots of tiny LEDs. From enough distance they should be nearly invisible until they're turned on.

Oh, you could also try a portable planetarium, though it'll be pretty obvious where it's coming from.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Ridgeway (Feb 24, 2006 05:03PM)
I'm with EsnRedshirt as far as the scrim is concerned. I would go with black sharktooth scrim. Then above that string Christmas lights, maybe even icicle lights hung horizontally instead of hanging the normal way. With a control unit, they could be made to twinkle.
This exact method has been used to create stars in drop ceiling, with holes cut for the lights.

Hope that helps.

Message: Posted by: Tony Brent (Feb 24, 2006 10:47PM)
Thanks for the ideas guys. We did actually try tiny Christmas lights but they were too noticeable. The ceiling is approx. 12-15 feet high. The scrim wouldn't certainly helped!

Best wishes,
Tony Brent
Orlando, Florida
Message: Posted by: Tony Brent (Feb 24, 2006 10:47PM)
Sorry, I meant to say the "scrim would have" helped!

Message: Posted by: MR2Guy (Feb 25, 2006 01:01AM)
The Sega Homestar planetarium may work. It projects up to the ceiling a very credible starfield. It needs only 6 feet of throw and is affordable.

[url=http://www.audiocubes.com/product/Segatoys_HomeStar_21st_Century_Home_Planetarium.html?ref=8&affiliate_banner_id=1] Sega Homestar[/url]


Stringing up fiber optic strands would be expensive, but if you're show is running a while at the same venue, it may make sense. PM me for details.

Take care

Message: Posted by: silverking (Feb 25, 2006 11:53AM)
Tony, what's your budget for this project?
This will not be inexpensive regardless of which method you use, so talking about money up front may either lead you down a different road, or clarify which method would work best for you.
Message: Posted by: leapinglizards (Feb 26, 2006 10:01PM)
Since you live in Orlando, and if you WANT to do fiber optics.... Go visit Sky Craft on Lee Road. They often have fiber CHEAP!
Message: Posted by: Tony Brent (Feb 26, 2006 11:01PM)
I've been to Sky Craft. That's a great idea! Regarding budget, we don't have a set amount set aside for this. We've been running our show for almost six years. When we originally opened, the owners wanted to create an effect of a sparkle of lights appearing above the heads of the audience that would travel to the back of the room and open the doors signaling the end of the show. They hired a guy to do it and he basically strung up Christmas lights from the ceiling.

Well, everyone could see the lights, even when the house lights were off so it obviously wasn't going to fool anyone. We are getting ready to do a major overhaul of the show and the owners have once again asked if we could possibly create this effect. I know there are some very sharp people who post on this board and that's why I brought it up.

All the best,
Tony Brent
Outta Control Magic Show
Orlando, FL
Message: Posted by: leapinglizards (Feb 27, 2006 06:46AM)
Ok, now I know the venue AND the budget ;) I'd say go to sky craft and get your fiber there. They may or may not have a projector.

If you can hang a framed screen from your ceiling, or just go punch the holes through the ceiling, and run fiber. If Sky craft doesn't have a generator, they are easy enough to buy online and not horribly expensive.

I probably know a qualified stringer in town, PM me if you want me to snoop around for ya.
Message: Posted by: Fitz (Mar 2, 2006 08:33PM)
Hi all, I just got back from Disney land and had a great time. I road Space Mountain several times and noticed the star lights used during the ride were hidden mirror balls. This effect looked great and was very cheap to do it may be something for you to play with. The effect will be strong without fog or haze as this will reveal the source of your light.

Also just remembered U2 did an effect years ago produceing thousands of beams of light for a star effect. The method also very simple, they painted 2 trash cans black and drilled tons of little holes all around the can. The then added a 5,000 watt light and a method to spin the can.

Just some thoughts...
Message: Posted by: EsnRedshirt (Mar 4, 2006 12:45PM)
The mirror balls are only used for some of those effects; they also use black cloth with holes, as well as the scrim technique described above, which gives them good non-moving stars.
Message: Posted by: Frank Simpson (Mar 6, 2006 09:49PM)
The key to using Christmas lights behind a black scrim is to use them on a dimmer and only bring them up to about a 30% intensity. This is plenty bright enough to "read" as stars in the largest of auditoriums.

I have been using this technique for many years, and it is a beautiful effect. The other thing, and this can [i]seem[/i] like a waste, is to cover most of the lamps with black gaffer's tape to "thin out" the starfield. Stars on 4" centers are too dense, and with a starfield less really is more.
Message: Posted by: fredmoore (Mar 17, 2006 09:16PM)
Hey Tony

How about a Mirror ball and a red light on it?

Simple is better!
Message: Posted by: Tony Brent (Mar 22, 2006 09:59PM)
Could you hide the mirror balls on the ceiling with a black scrim between them and the audience?

Tony Brent
Outta Control Magic Show
Message: Posted by: silverking (Mar 23, 2006 11:33AM)
The suggestions so far give four types of light.

Fibre Optics will give a point source of light, but no beam.
Mirror Ball will give multiple beams of light, but no real point source.
X-Mas lights behind a black scrim will give a point source, no beam.
The U2 garbage can will give point sources with massive beams.

The original poster was asking for a star like effect overhead. Franks suggestion of X-Mas lights behind black scrim will be the most effective, and affordable solution.

The Fibre-Optic solution is also effective, although a great deal more money to accomplish.

I'd do Franks X-Mas light solution, it's beautiful and affordable, and the effect that's possible shouldn't be underestimated. If some of the lights blink, or if the scrim can be made to move slightly (perhaps with a small fan) the stars will twinkle and look......well.......magical!
Message: Posted by: Tony Brent (Mar 23, 2006 01:12PM)
Thanks Silverking. I agree with you that Frank's suggestion may be the one to go with. As I mentioned before, we did actually try the Christmas lights, but didn't use a scrim or attempt to dim the lights in any way.

Tony Brent
Outta Control Magic Show
Message: Posted by: Frank Simpson (Mar 23, 2006 06:51PM)
I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at just how lovely this effect is. I used it few years ago for a Symphony's "Space" concert. The first number was performed with just the plain black background. The second number was a suite of music from [i]Star Trek[/i]. Right on the first note of music I brought up the starfield (easy to sync since I could just watch the conductor give the downbeat) and you should have heard the gasp of wonder from the audience... at every single performance we did.

In the musical [i]Forever Plaid[/i] we did do the same effect directly over the audience's head. They were never turned on until the second-to-last song of the show, but it's a bit hard to gauge their specific impact since at the same time the entire set lit up in plaid, there was dry ice fog, a mirror ball spinning, not to mention bubble machines going too.

But the starfield remains one of my absolute favorite effects on stage.

Let us know how it works for you!
Message: Posted by: Slim King (Mar 23, 2006 08:59PM)
Have you ever ridden the Revenge of the Mummy at Universal? Right after you go backwards, the car stops and turns and there is a video type presentation on the walls as you turn to go into the roller coaster part. I think that these effects are projected onto the walls. If you've seen it you'll know what I mean.
Would that type of effect work?