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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » All tied up! » » Stage countdown timer (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

sTrEET HoUDinI
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New York
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Does anyone out there know of any type of large ( so it can be seen on stage ) digital countdown timer out there on the market. I have been looking all over and I cant seem to find one. I wanted to add a 30 second countdown to set a time restraint on the escape but I want the entire audiance to see the countdown. If anyone has any advice it would be great. Thanks a lot!
- sTrEET HoUDinI
b-gann
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If you have a lot of money to blow, try a sports shop, I think dicks sporting goods or MC s..g.. I was looking for one until I saw the price they started at $400.00 or around there. if anyone knows of a cheaper one please post where to find it.
thanks Banden
ufo
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Phoenix, Arizona
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I havent done this myself but someone mentioned using a digital clock function pumped through a laptop into a video projector. Obviously uses gear and conditions are critical but seems like a sound idea.
"What's your drug?" she asked. "Hope" he said, "The most addicting one of all."
Tony Chapparo
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Albuquerque, NM
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It's not digital, but cannon's great escapes has the innards for a sweeping second hand type of clock on their website. You can easily make up a large clock face and go that route, low tech, but functional.
http://www.cannonsgreatescapes.com

Tony
Tony Chapparo
drwilson
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Bar Harbor, ME
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There is a 99-second countdown display timer with 3.3" high letters and a buzzer at the end for $130 here:

http://www.bolingeng.com/countdown_timer.htm

Yours,

Paul
magicdoctor
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Wi.
380 Posts

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I went to a clock shop and had one made.
Michael Von Schroeder [url]www.vonmagic.com[/url]
Richard Sherry
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Calgary, AB, Canada
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We sell a second hand clock timer on our website. The face is 22" so it is very visible. Check under accessories.Hope this helps. http://www.richardsherrysmagic.com/access/access.html
Cindi
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Palm Bch, FL
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An alternative method would be to create a Large Clock face of cardboard, wood or your choice of material including hour and minute hands on it then designate a time keeping assistant.
Invite the audience to participate "IF" any of them have a second hand on their personal watches and keep time right along with the assistant. Have the assistant Start a stop watch and step up to physically move the cardboard hands to 30 seconds, 60 seconds and so on. At the end have him or her place the clock hand on the actual second that the escape indeed finished on.
Also using the same concept but with flip cards with numbers in Digital style design.
Just thought I'd mention a more affordable method.
Good luck in your search!
C
sTrEET HoUDinI
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New York
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Thanks for all of those links, they really helped me out a lot. If I had more of a budget to work with I would be picking those up right now. However I think I'm going to alter the second hand of a wall clock so it is much more visible. Hopefully I can just use this if it works out the way I hope it does. I'll let everyone know, thanks again!
- sTrEET HoUDinI
Kondini
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The Cannons one works well and is easy to mount.
Harley Newman
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The easiest way, would be to have somebody from the audience counting down from his/her watch. Many folks have a stopwatch capacity, which may or may not be of help.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

www.bladewalker.com
Owen Anderson
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A sturdy fence needs at least
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You might take a look 'darkroom timers.'
Ordinarily used to control exposures in a dark room they have a 'beat-the-clock' feel to them. There is a sweep second hand and you can set times up to an hour.
They are fairly large faced so as to be seen in the poor light of a darkroom.

They also have specially wired electrical plugs on the side to control darkroom devices precisely. These plugs might be useful in a f/x context but don't quote me on that.

I'd agree with Mr. Newman though, a live countdown done, hopefully, with a bit of drama/flair (a stooge perhaps?) adds a layer.
Owen Anderson
The Donster
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You might want to ask Mr Baker if he ever used a timer for his escapes done on national tv. I also seen a big clock at a target store recently.
Harley Newman
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I use an audience volunteer frequently. The tension in his/her vboice, as the escape progresses, really adds to the overall theatrical effect.

Here's a thought, that some will appreciate. A timer isn't necessarily a clock. For example, when Steve did the thing being strapped to the bumper of a car, with another car crashing into the first, the second car acted as a timer. The same theatrical requirement was fulfilled.

I have an escape under construction, that uses the principle of an hour-glass. Everybody understands the image of the sand running out, so I have a plastic bag, full of sand, that leaks out, and it ties into the rest of the plot. I'm using a plastic bag, because then the whole timing is easily viewed.

So, even though there's no clock involved, in the sense in which we usually think of a clock, the concept is still in use. The consequences of failure are still painfully obvious.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

www.bladewalker.com
Cindi
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Palm Bch, FL
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While a Volunteer would save on man power I personally would not trust them to be true. I will say that I have had Half the Volunteers I have dealt with possess a "Sabotage" streak to the point they pull me to the floor in rope ties etc.
If you are trying to really prove a point by including a timer then I would put it in the hands of a trusted colleague.
Just my two cents
C
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