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June 27, 2009
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My group is doing Godspell in October. This time I decided to go out for the show and made the main cast, so as a person who normally does the lights, video work, special effects and helps develop sets, I'm trying to get alot of things done early since I will have songs and a script to learn. So with that I have a question that is a little more on the tech and special effects side of things.For the beginning of show I want to create what looks like something crashing into the back of the stage, we have a huge screen that comes down behind the stage. Well, at impact, not only do I want the video to have the effect of smoke, which is not an issue, but I want a good size puff of smoke to come off the back of the stage and maybe a few pieces of paper to look like it damaged something, just for effect. As a group we have 2 smoke machines, but they don't throw smoke fast enough to create this effect and make it look right. We don't have a whole lot of room to work with, the stage is only 16' by 16' and don't want to spend a fortune on something. We also couldn't really use pirotechnics, too close to the audience and during Halloween, while doing a Haunted theatre, in this theatre, our smoke machines set the fire alarm off. I am open to any ideas, whether it just be ideas that you thought of or already proven ideas that you may have done once before.Thanks for all the help.
3 Answers

December 28, 2015
I'm going to second the suggestion to use your smoke machine into some kind of container(s)--bags or large boxes that can be quickly collapsed. When our community theater did BRIGADOON, we ran the smoke machine onstage with the curtain closed before the second act--if we started too early, the smoke collected behind the curtain and a wall of fog collapsed toward the audience when the act curtain was opened.

December 23, 2015
Use the smoke machine with some kind of container. Collect the smoke and let it go in a puff when the impact happens. Large garbage bag?

September 25, 2009
A big rug with, lots of talcum powder on it stuck from behind will cause a giant puff of smoke. We had to use a similar effect in the show "Everybody Loves Opal" when the roof has to collapse onstage.