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Beauty and the Beast

Now here's a show with LOTS of special effects potential!

To keep things simple, we'll go through each section of the show that normally requires special effects and cover the main methods customers use to create memorable moments in their production.

"Be Our Guest"

What a great opportunity to shoot a bunch of confetti and/or streamers! Most productions do this in one of two ways: they either shoot cannons from both sides of the stage, or mount them inside/behind large fake champagne bottles onstage and shoot them out over the cast or audience. We recommend the AE07 Boss Cannon (for a hand-held shot from off-stage) or the AE08 Stage Boss (for mounting them inside/behind a set piece).

Either way you do it, you'll need AE51D 16g CO2 Cartridges, 2-inch Lift Cups, and 2-inch Cannon Caps. All of these items are sold by the dozen or in bulk. You'll also need to decide if you want to shoot Confetti or Streamers... or BOTH! We've found most productions prefer a mix of the AS18F-W 18-foot White Tissue Streamers and the CF32M-G Gold Mylar Confetti. You'll want to use at least one full sleeve of Streamers in each barrel per/shot and at least 1/2 of a sleeve of the Mylar Confetti. This effect really sells the "Champagne POP" effect and is truly magical!

Lumiere's "Candle Hands"

As most theatres don't wish to accidentally set their actors on fire, it's usually safer to use a simulated flame effect. We highly recommend using the Candle Lites by City Theatrical. These 9v-powered fake candles are EXTREMELY realistic! They come in a KIT form (allowing you to custom build them into whatever prop or costume piece you wish) and in a pre-made Stick form, with a built-in power switch on the back.

Another option is to build the candle hands around one of our Handheld Torches. These aren't as realistic as the Candle Lites, but they are MUCH bigger and will show up better on larger stages.

Either way you go, you'll create a wonderful fake fire effect... and your actors will applaud you for keeping their safety at heart.

To add to the effect, many productions wish for Lumiere to "blow fire." This can be accomplished by using our MG34 UFK Flash Gun and MG35 UFK Ignition System. This wonderful system is easily built into any prop or set-piece; allowing the actor to shoot a ball of fire on command.  This product requires Flash Cotton and Flash Paper to operate.

Maurice's Invention

Now here's a fun prop build! Just as all productions are different, this important prop is quite diverse depending on the designer. Regardless of the aesthetics of the prop, it must do one important thing: it needs to create smoke! There are two ways to do this: a Fog Machine or a Smoke Cartridge.

Smoke Cartridges are very affordable and offer many color options; however, they do produce real smoke and this could be a deal-breaker for many venues. The other option is to use a Fog Machine; however, having a power cable running off-stage from the prop kills the illusion! ...and that's where the Tiny Fogger comes into play. This battery-powered German-built piece of precision machinery is exactly what you need. The price tag puts it out of the budgets of many productions; however, any theatre who owns one quickly finds MANY other uses for this machine and find themselves lost without it!

The Transformation

The Wizards at Theatre Effects get this question asked a lot: How do I create a POOF of smoke that will last long enough to cover a quick-change of costume (or switching of actors on stage)? Until recently, this wasn't an easy answer. Not only does the use of Pyrotechnics require special licenses and permits, but the flash and POOF create only lasts a split second... which doesn't give enough time to magically switch actors on stage. Now, we have a MUCH better option: The Geyser P7 Cryo/Pyro Simulator

This powerful machine is capable of creating photo-realistic "flashes" with "poofs of smoke" that are completely harmless and require NO special permits. You can even create a 6-foot-tall BLAST of fire for up to 10 seconds! Being that it's completely safe, the transformed prince can make his entrance "through" the fire - which is extremely surprising to the audience! Also, since the machine can be mounted upside down and shot from your light grid, there are no concerns of having a machine on your stage floor or trap doors to contend with. Finally, since the effect can be shot from above, the misdirection is fantastic and the plume of smoke shooting down will cover a 6 to 10-foot wide area - which gives you PLENTY of coverage.

The Geyser has several other benefits:

  • It's DMX controllable (so you can cue it with the rest of your lights).
  • It comes with a FREE Wireless Controller (so you don't have to use DMX if you don't want to).
  • It's CHEAP to operate (a gallon of our Quick Dissipating Fog Fluid will last for 200+ sustained blasts or 2000+ quick pulses!)
  • Did we mention you don't need permits to use this thing?!?!? ;)

You can find more information (and a great product video) of the Geyser here.

Also, since the Geyser uses our Quick Dissipating Fog Fluid, the "smoke" disappears within a minute, so you don't have to worry about smoking out your audience!

We hope these ideas help you with your production. As always, the Wizards of Theatre Effects are happy to assist you with any questions you may have. Feel welcome to contact us any time at 1-800-791-7646