Fog effects are used in a wide range of applications including parties, dance clubs, Halloween haunted houses, popular music performances, Nutcracker ballets, Shakespearean dramas, horror films, fire safety training, and industrial testing applications. Fog and haze machines currently in our rental inventory.
The effects available range from wisps of smoke to impenetrable clouds, from mysterious low-lying fog to a thin mist in the air revealing dramatic shafts of light. The two prevalent "technologies" in use today for making theatrical fog effects involve 1) sublimating dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) and 2) vaporizing a specially formulated fluid (typically glycol-water mixture).
Dry ice is dropped into warm water where the frozen carbon dioxide (dry ice) sublimates into cold carbon dioxide gas which mixes with the humid air resulting in condensation and the formation of fog. (For those who have forgotten their high school science, sublimation is the process whereby a solid becomes a gas directly, without passing through a liquid state.)
Typically, in a theatrical setting, a dry ice fog machine is a large closed barrel (traditionally a converted 55 gallon barrel) with a water heating element, a hose or vent outlet with an exhaust fan and a way to lower a quantity of dry ice into the water on cue. Large hoses or ducts are used to deliver the fog to the stage.
Dry ice fog creates a magical environment - not unlike the fog over a body of water on a crisp cool morning - as it swirls around the performers feet, swirling and shifting dramatically in reaction to movement on the stage.
Today, most fluid-based fog machines work by rapidly heating a mixture of water and glycol, producing a vapor. The expanding vapor is forced out of a nozzle where the warm, moist vapor mixes with the cooler air to form fog.
Fluid-based machines are manufactured by a number of companies including Rosco, Ultratec, and High End. While there are a number of innovations and minor variations, for the most part they are similar in that they consist of a fluid reservoir and a pump for moving the fluid to the heat exchanger and a nozzle through which the vapor leaves the machine. Many machines are smaller than a typical microwave oven, quite portable and operate off a single 15amp electrical outlet. The manufacturers have developed a number of accessories or modifications to adapt these machines to meet specific needs.
With the various accessories and adaptations (described below), fluid-based fog machines are used to create a wide range of effects from low-lying to thick clouds, from thin wisps to pervasive haze. In addition to theatrical use, they have many industrial applications including the training of emergency workers, wind tunnel testing of aerodynamics, etc.
Haze makers use compressed air rather than heat to vaporize a specially formulated variation of the glycol-based fluids. Most frequently used in concert settings, they produce a thin, haze-like effect used to dramatically reveal the beams of lights and special effects.
Low-lying fog similar in effect to that produced by dry ice fog machines is achieved by passing the fog machine output through a cooling unit lowering the temperature of the vapor.
In addition to the easily portable versions of their fog machines, most manufacturers also produce larger, less portable units for theme park or arena concert applications. These machines are capable of producing enormous volumes of fog or haze continuously for extended periods of time.
Most orders for in-stock items, placed before noon, are shipped same-day.