Building special effects and equipment for the SFX world
I have been involved in many different projects over the years.
These projects have usually been built while I have worked for special effect companies, either freelance or on their payroll.
Therefore I do not own these effects, I just helped bring the idea to life.
For instance, on the right is Hailee Steinfeld, trashing a flyer for the Bilbao EMA's for MTV in 2018.
Simple request, reproduce the shedding picture that Banksy created.
To be used as a 'lead to break' stunt for the televised MTV awards.
Oh, and you have 24hrs to do it.
So, some timber, a commercial shredder, some acrylic sheet, some gold spray paint and a very long drive to Bilbao in Spain to deliver it.
Sometimes the projects are far more involved.
This request was for 8x machines that produced smoke filled bubbles upon request.
They were to be DMX controlled, and the bubbles needed to be a reasonably large size.
There was also the ability to add Helium (so they float upwards), or CO2 so they descend.
Previous versions of these machines caused significant problems with reliability.
The new design was incorporated into the old flight cases to save money.
The microprocessor at the heart of the unit allowed the precise control of it's internal pumps, fans, and smoke generator.
One of the biggest issues faced was stopping the machine becoming full of sticky, gloopy bubble fluid when left for periods of time.
We incorporated a motorised drainage system into the unit to allowed the system to recycle unused fluid back to its large internal reservoir.
You could also pump out the unit when not used for longer periods of time.
Bespoke flight cases.
LEDS. Can never have enough LEDS (well, illumination anyway).
The Galaxis charger cases to the right here had the internal charging ability to recharge around 40x Galaxis products, such as 10 way receivers and PFC controllers.
It also has full LED lighting, and a USB charging hub.
The unit on the left here had an integral monitor, with 230v outlets and lighting.
Now occasionally, you get really odd requests. But, these can be the fun ones.
Left here, you see Lana Del Rey on her 2019 tour, with peaches lowering from a tree.
I won't give away how it was done (although, it doesn't take much imagination!), however the system needed to control up to 35 of these 'peach' lowering devices.
They were controllable manually, by DMX and by Galaxis.
This project used a lot of 3d printing and I cleaned out Ebay.
They also requested flowers that 'grew.
Again, I will not give away the specific design, but as you can see left here, I built 50 flower stems that could raise and lower by Galaxis control.
For those that do not know what Galaxis is, it is a special effects industry 'go to' for the wireless control of pyrotechnics and other special effects.
If you design something from scratch, you usually try and incorporate Galaxis compatibility.
Other interesting projects have included the 'heat ray' used in the 2018 live War of the Worlds tour, gas flame bars for
Ozzie Osbourne's live tour, flamethrowers and much more.
If you are interested in effects such as these, then please let me know and I will forward your details to the owners of the above effects (I built them, I don't own them).