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Jonathan
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I am actually a mentalist and close-up magician but am doing a stage performance. Now, it isn't magic per se. It's actually a dramatic solo dance routine on a normal sized stage. At the apex of the song I hold a pose and snow needs to fall. Now, the catch is that I'm not able to attach the snow machines up high so they will have to be on the stage to either side of me.

I'm thinking one on each side. It will need to be pretty thick like a blizzard. What machines would you recommend for this? It will have to last for about a minute (maybe a hair longer). Also, any tips on what will make it show up better? I don't know what the background will be like so it might be light colors or something. What about lighting? I'm wanting the stage blue lit and not too terribly bright. Is that a problem?

Thanks, I know nothing about snow machines!

Jonathan Grant
Regan
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Johnathan,

I don't think lighting should be a concern unless they are really dim. A darker background would be preferable, but I have used mine with shiny mylar backdrops with no problem. You can adjust the size of the flakes on most machines, and obviously larger flakes will be more visible.

You will need to turn the machine on and off. You can get some machines with wireless remote controls. That might be the way to go since you probably need one on each side of the stage, unless you have two assistants that could each operate one from backstage. If you decide to go with wired controls, make sure the control has plenty cable to reach backstage.

I have the Flurry by MBT, (Model SM-50). It does a beautiful job, but it has a wired control. I strongly recommend that you use the best snow fluid you can find. I use "True North" snow fluid. I first bought "Snow/Foam" made by MBT and it does not compare to the True North fluid. The True Notrh fluid looks better, the flakes are lighter and fall slower, there is less residue left behind, and it is less likely to clog your machine. It can be stored much longer than the MBT fluid can too.

One problem that you may have is not being able to get the machines high. I have never used mine down low. You might could get them as high as possible and tilt them upwards slightly, but they can only be tilted a little. Mine will only operate with a tilt of 15 degrees or less. I would recommend putting them up in the ceiling if at all possible.

Hope this helps.

Regan
Mister Mystery
Jonathan
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Is there any machines out there that will work off the ground?

Also, do you have to do any clean up afterwards? There might be acts after mine, will that be a problem?

Jonathan Grant
Regan
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Clean up shouldn't be a problem if you're only going to run them for about a minute. However, they can make a stage floor slick and it can leave a noticable residue, especially on things made of smooth non-porous materials, such as glass. You might want to cover such items with cloth. That is another reason to use the good snow fluid. It leaves far less residue, but there will still be some.

As far as working from ground level, I have never tried it, but I don't think it would look good for snow to be flying up. If you could get the machine far enough off stage and tilt the machine up as much as possible, so it to get some height before it became visible to the audience, it might look ok. Maybe you could use some fans to help get the flakes up in the air? You will probably have to experiment to see will work and what looks good.
Mister Mystery
Jonathan
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What kind of machine does everyone else recommend for what I'm doing?

Jonathan Grant
glodmagic
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I agree with Regan:
Ground level seems difficult.
I augment my snow machines with a fan but I mount them high over the audience.
When the flakes fall from a high elevation they tend to dry and dissapate leaving very little residue.
Putting it at ground level will require a strong updraft fan but I believe that there would be clean up issues (as noted above).

Most of these machines are VERY noisy. That is another reason I mount it high over the audience away from all microphones.
Hold a hair dryer up to your mic and that is what it sounds like.
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Regan
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Great tip about the noise Glod. I completly overlooked that.

Regan
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Kevin Ridgeway
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Use a hypercardiod mic and it will not pick up the snow machine noise at all.
Use some squirrel fans to help blow the snow up in the air quickly. There are several options as far as the fans go. Some extremly powerful fans, also fans that have DMX comtrol built in, thus very easy to use from a lightboard.

Hope that helps.
Kevin
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Jonathan
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Well, the mics aren't a problem because there aren't any. Just music. I'll try and get it positioned up high on the light bar. Now the bar is where the lights are so it's actually in front of the stage and not right over it. Is that a problem? Should it shoot out toward the audience or backwards toward me? Would one be enough or should I get two?

Also, if I could use it on that bar what brand/model should I get?

Jonathan Grant
Regan
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What size is the stage?

Regan
Mister Mystery
Jonathan
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It's not very deep but it's a standard width, maybe a little smaller. 30 feet width approx.

Jonathan Grant
Regan
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If you just want the snow to surround you, then you could get by with one machine. If you want to cover the enire stage, you will probably need 2.

I'm estimating by what my type of machine will do. You may could get a machine with more coverage potential, I don't know. Mine was a good one when I bought it several years ago. There may be advancements now.

Also if you are going to use fans, that could help to boost the coverage area. There is a lot to consider. If possible I would buy 1 and test it first. If you are going to rent, I would probably go ahead and rent 2, that is if you do want to cover the entire stage.

Hope this helps.

Regan

Jonathan,

Inresponse to the other questions. I don't think I would aim the snow at the audience. Mainly because it wouldn't show up well if it is behind the lights. The snow effect is very visual and it would look better going to the stage in front of the lights.

My machine has a handle with holes that enable you to mount it to a lighting bar. I have never used mine from a lighting track where it can be seen by the audience. I am fortunate to be in a theatre where I can mount mine up high and hidden from the audience's view. It just looks like snow starts appearing from nowhere above the stage. It is a very beautiful effect.

Regan
Mister Mystery
Andy Leviss
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I'm out on the road doing sound for "Sesame Street Live: Elmo's Coloring Book" right now, and our electrics dept. has a pair of Little Blizzards on one of our FOH trusses. The two, each one about a quarter of the way in from the edge of the stage, seem to work nicely.

I got to see the difference between only having one on and both this week, and it's quite incredible. The two together make a really nice, uniform snowfall that looks absolutely beautiful when hit with light. Way cool.
Note: I have PMs turned off; if you want to reach me, please e-mail [email]Andy.MagicCafe@DucksEcho.com[/email]!
Jonathan
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Okay, thanks! What brands/models would you all recommend I rent?

Also, if I put 2 on the lighting bar they would be next to each other. Is there a way to angle them any so that they cover more width?

Jonathan Grant

The depth of the stage is only about 10-15 feet so if the machine sprayed 20 feet it would hit the back decorations. Is there a way to make it fall more straight down while still looking as good?

Also, will it hurt carpet? I'm worried about the residue on the stage and the floor below it. Is the residue noticable? Will it hinder any performance after mine? Does it have to be cleaned up with a mop or what?

Thanks,

Jonathan Grant
Tony S
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Johnathan,
Check the theatre effects website :

http://www.theatrefx.com/store/commerce.......machines

They have a number of different machines with various options.

Tony
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Regan
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My machine has an ajustable "output" control and when you make the flakes larger it doesn't throw them out as far. You could also tilt the machine downward slightly, if you can start out high enough, or upward slightly if you are too low. I don't believe that my machine would reach 20' anyway.

I have used mine on indoor/outdoor type carpet without any problems. I can't stress this enough though: Get the good fluid!

On carpet it will not cause any problems for a following act and the snow will dissipate so no cleanup should be necessary.

All these statements are my opinion based on your statement that you are only going to turn the machine(s) on for about a minute.

Hope this helps.

Regan
Mister Mystery
Jonathan
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Yeah, thanks for the heads up on the fluid. On a wooden stage what will the residue be like? The reason I ask is that they just remodeled the auditorium and they are super super anal about anything that might mess up their stage. I'm trying to get info so I know exactly what to tell them when they interrogate me about it. I'll have to convince them that it will be okay.

Jonathan Grant
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