Working With The Flint Flasher
In keeping with our "back to basics" theme of the past few weeks, I'd like to briefly cover the basic things you'll need to know to create great-looking effects with our Flint Flasher. The Flint Flasher is not only one of our most popular devices, it's also one of the easiest to use. You needn't worry about checking glo-plugs or replacing batteries when you're using the Flint Flasher. I have, however, a few tips that will have you doing great effects in no time at all.
There are two basic types of effect you can create with the Flint Flasher: a quick flash that's gone instantly, and a sustained flame that lasts for about a second. To create the quick flash effect, get a piece of Flash Cotton about twice the size of a pea. Use enough cotton to mostly fill the cup of the Flint Flasher, and remember that the more cotton you use, the bigger the effect will look. Fluff up the cotton and place it in the Flint Flasher. When you strike the wheel you'll get a quick flash of bright, yellow-orange flame. For added effect, you can dust the cotton -- lightly! -- with Electric Sparkle Additive. This will add crackling, silver sparks to the burst of flame -- a great attention-getting effect!
To create a longer burning effect, try using a piece of Flash Paper. When working with the Flint Flasher, I prefer to use paper from a Flash Pad, as it's already cut to about the right size. To prepare the Flash Paper, use a method similar to the one for loading an Electronic Flash Gun. Make a loose fist and lay the square of paper over it, push the paper down into your fist and twist up the ends. You'll end up with a shorter "torpedo" to the one that goes into a flash gun, but it will work just as well. Since the Flint Flasher relies on sparks to ignite the paper, it's important to put the paper into the cup so that the loose, twisted ends point up. When you strike the wheel, you'll get a flame that should flare up a few inches above your hand, and last for about a second. (To increase reliability with this flash paper effect, put a pinch of flash cotton on top of the paper, so the cotton will catch the spark and act as a primer to ignite the paper. This way you'll get ignition on the very first strike, whereas with flash paper only, you may have to strike a few times before the flash paper "catches" the spark.)
In the event that you, dear reader, haven't read my previous articles regarding hand held effect devices, I'd like to quickly recap some important safety points:
-- When using the Flint Flasher, keep it pointed away from people, pets or flammable objects. It is safe, however, to use the Flint Flasher to ignite another piece of Flash Paper, Flash String or Flash Cord.
-- Use care when working with Electric Sparkle Additive as it produces hot sparks that could possibly damage carpeting. Remember, a little goes a long way!
-- NEVER, EVER attempt to use Flash Powder in ANY hand held device. Serious injury WILL occur.
As always, but especially now, remember to order your kits well in advance of your performance date. The beginning of the Halloween season means that Theater Effects will be busier than ever. While we don't anticipate any unusual delays in getting your orders out, it's always a good idea to give yourself ample time to receive, and rehearse with, any special effect.
Theatre Effects Customer Service Department
Theatre Effects, 1810 Airport Exchange Blvd. #400, Erlanger, KY 41018
Phone: 1-800-791-7646 or 513-772-7646 Fax: 513-772-3579