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Fri, 05 Dec 2003 6:01:07 am . . . . Tom Dobes [bubble update; still waiting for 3 units]

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I want bubble machines and pyrotechnics. This is my senior year, let's not get cheap now. I love choir! And Tom is one cool cat! -- Rebecca T (comment moved from SpringConcert2004/LightingDesign)

In this spirit, I'm looking for cool special effects for a couple key points in the concerts... but, at the same time, trying to keep the budget small as it appears I'll be paying for this stuff myself.

I'll be using a four Chauvet B-250 bubble machines (http://chauvetlighting.com/system/fixtures/bubble.html) for the concert. I've received one from an eBay auction (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3720055150) already and purchased four more from http://etronics.com on May 3rd. (I've already received one of the etronics units, but the other three still have yet to ship.) I tried out one of the machines from eBay in the catwalk and it worked quite well... I'm not actually going to put the bubbles above the audience, but rather place them above the aisle between the stage and the 1st row of seats. I'll point a few PAR cans at them so we can change the color of the bubbles as well. Four machines should spread out the bubbles fairly well across the aisle. (Two machines on each catwalk, pointing in opposite directions)

Also: I tried a variety of soaps in the bubble machine, and the one that seemed to work the best was laundry soap (Tide, I believe)... specifically the type for high-efficiency washers. Since this is available for fairly low prices, this is quite good news for me. Purchasing the "official" fluid for the machines would really break the bank. It's worth noting that I tried some "All" detergent as well, which did not work as well. This may be because of a difference between brands, or it may be because the "All" has not for high-efficiency washers. Either way, the "Tide" is inexpensive enough to make further testing of various brands a waste of time.

Mr. Emig and I discussed using small pyrotechnics to end the finale a few years ago, but he was concerned that students might injure themselves by screwing around near the equipment. I would imagine his opinion is still the same. In lieu of pyro, I'm considering setting up a large array of strobe lights. I considered using a lot of cheap cameras and just rewiring them so I can trigger their flashes by remote using a control line. Does anyone know where I can find some inexpensive cameras on which to try this? Unless someone finds a lot of cheap (as in less than $10 each) cameras/camera flashes somewhere, I doubt I'll end up doing this.