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Topic: Floating Lightbulb Materials?
Message: Posted by: Sam Weiss (Apr 1, 2010 05:52PM)
Hello,

So I'm beginning my long journey of learning the floating lightbulb illusion and I have a couple questions.

The first question is:
What is the right type of IT to use for this effect? I'm not doing the version with assistants (I'm doing the one U.F. Grant published... I believe it's on lybrary.com) so the floating ball hook-up wouldn't work. A direct link would be great here ;) I think regular or even kevlar IT is too weak for the bulb if I'm not mistaken.

The second question is:
Where is a good place to get the proper ring (preferably 16")?

Thanks,
Sam
Message: Posted by: IDOTRIX (Apr 1, 2010 06:48PM)
Try the craft store for the ring
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Apr 1, 2010 07:39PM)
When the stage folks, Blackston, et al, did the bulb, IT didn't exist. Learn it with strong stuff, then learn to light it and camo it with short streaks of marking pen.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Apr 1, 2010 09:58PM)
Use an embroidery hoop from a craft store.

Get Burling Hull's book and then (as Pete said) learn to light it and do it. While you are at it you better learn what to do when the T***d breaks. It will happen. I saw it happen with Blackstone several times. There really is no out to this failure. Don't bother with IT unless you are doing something closeup.

Richard
Message: Posted by: Father Photius (Apr 2, 2010 12:30PM)
IT is not the way to go, it won't hold the weight, follow Richard's and Pete's advise. Especially the advice of what to do when it fails, it failed on both Uncle Harry and Harry, Jr. more than once. Real professionalism with this illusion is in knowing how to recover.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Apr 2, 2010 01:42PM)
I saw Mandrake do the Dancing Hkf. and the T broke... he recovered nicely by getting it around the mike stand.

I think if I did the Bulb and the T broke, I'd say, "Oh dear, the battery died."
:kermit:
Message: Posted by: mumford (Apr 2, 2010 02:04PM)
I've never done the Floating Bulb, but is it possible to have a second hookup ready just in case?
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Apr 2, 2010 07:44PM)
Ask Bill Smith in Las Vegas at Magic Ventures.... He was the assistant that did it with Harry Jr.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Apr 3, 2010 07:15AM)
This is not the type of thing that Bill should or would talk about unless he knows the person quite well. Nor would I. That is out of respect for Harry.

I will say this. This effect is much more specialized than one would think at first glance. Years of practice and thousands of performances in many venues cannot be substituted. Even with Harry, I have been there for the failures of the effect. No two situations were alike. But Harry's strong personality could cover it.

Richard
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Apr 3, 2010 11:59AM)
Good point Richard.
Message: Posted by: makeupguy (Apr 3, 2010 12:23PM)
The thread you want... for parlour and stage work is UNI-THREAD 8/0

it's strong enough for a lightbulb... [b]super[/b] thin..., and change it frequently..., it's resistance to rubbing isn't super good.

You can get it from fly fishing stores.

For regular stage work, I'd go with something thicker..., better safe than sorry.
Message: Posted by: Sam Weiss (Apr 10, 2010 03:22PM)
Thanks everyone!

I think you guys answered all of my questions.

Let me just be sure... so you all are saying that I should just use either normal black T****D or fishing line and then be careful with lighting? This makes much more sense if that is so.

Sam
Message: Posted by: magicmatt (Apr 13, 2010 09:39AM)
I second the UNI-THREAD 8/0. I have been using this thread for my Dancing Hank, Dancing Cane, Floating Light bulb, and Don Wayne Floating Ball for years. Does very well, but I only use the thread for one performance because of rubbing. I also agree with makeupguy, if you are on a big stage use a thicker thread. This might sound weird, but for the Floating Ball and Light Bulb, I put a Vaseline lotion onto the thread. This makes the thread supper slick and cuts down the rubbing tremendously. It does make the thread a little more shiny, but it want matter if you have a shiny backdrop to hide the thread like I do.
Message: Posted by: Sam Weiss (Apr 14, 2010 10:42PM)
Great! What kind of stage lighting do you recommend specifically for the UNI-THREAD 8/0? I know that might be kind of a broad ranged question, but I would like to narrow down my options before experimenting/practicing.

Thanks :)
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Apr 15, 2010 07:52AM)
What color UNI-THREAD 8/0? A google shows various colors, but no purple.
Message: Posted by: magicmatt (Apr 15, 2010 01:33PM)
I have always used a dark brown or dark navy thread. Purple is said to be a good color also. I have also used black and it works fine. It really depends on your back drop. If you are using a plan single color backdrop then the lighting and thread colors need to be matched up. Which is more difficult but it can be done because I have. You need to have a busy backdrop that will break up the thread and camouflage it. If you have a shiny backdrop like "INFINITY NU LASH" (link below) then you can hide pretty much anything and also with a backdrop like that the brighter the lights the better. It doesn't have to be a flashy backdrop just one that has some type of repeating pattern on it. A good book that helped me get started with floating effects was (Conjuror's Optical Secrets - S.H. Sharpe). Another thought, it also depends on the distance between you and the audience of which thread you use. I have only performed my floating effects in a parlor style atmosphere and the audience was maybe 15 feet way. If I was on stage I would use an even stronger thread because my length of thread on stage would be greater. The max distance I have used UNI-THREAD would probably be 20 feet. That's from a high hookup to the magician. UNI-THREAD is strong but you have to be graceful when using it. I start performing my floating effects in my parents garage as a kid. I would line one wall with a large blue tarp as my backdrop and with the proper lighting it allowed me to hide UNI-THREAD easily. The blue tarp put off enough shimmering light the helped camouflage the thread. Not the best but it worked being on a budget. Ok, I am at work on my lunch break and I have rambled on long enough. I hope what I have written above makes any since given the time frame I spent writing it. If you have anymore questions please ask as I will check this topic periodically for updates.

http://www.magicauction.com/Mag_auc/IllusionStageAccessories.htm
Message: Posted by: Sam Weiss (Apr 15, 2010 05:07PM)
So I'm going to use my black art backdrop. Would black UNI-THREAD 8/0 be the right color for this backdrop and would the backdrop I'm using work from about 10-15 feet away (auditorium setting on the edge of the stage)?

Under these conditions, what does anyone recommend for specifics on actual lighting (i.e. dim stage lights with a spotlight)? What is the optimal dimness of lights so you cannot see the thread, but at the same time not arouse any suspicion of cover?

Thanks again,
Sam
Message: Posted by: Rudy Sanchez (Apr 15, 2010 05:14PM)
[quote]
On 2010-04-15 14:33, magicmatt wrote:
I have always used a dark brown or dark navy thread. Purple is said to be a good color also. I have also used black and it works fine. It really depends on your back drop. If you are using a plan single color backdrop then the lighting and thread colors need to be matched up. Which is more difficult but it can be done because I have. You need to have a busy backdrop that will break up the thread and camouflage it. If you have a shiny backdrop like "INFINITY NU LASH" (link below) then you can hide pretty much anything and also with a backdrop like that the brighter the lights the better. It doesn't have to be a flashy backdrop just one that has some type of repeating pattern on it. A good book that helped me get started with floating effects was (Conjuror's Optical Secrets - S.H. Sharpe). Another thought, it also depends on the distance between you and the audience of which thread you use. I have only performed my floating effects in a parlor style atmosphere and the audience was maybe 15 feet way. If I was on stage I would use an even stronger thread because my length of thread on stage would be greater. The max distance I have used UNI-THREAD would probably be 20 feet. That's from a high hookup to the magician. UNI-THREAD is strong but you have to be graceful when using it. I start performing my floating effects in my parents garage as a kid. I would line one wall with a large blue tarp as my backdrop and with the proper lighting it allowed me to hide UNI-THREAD easily. The blue tarp put off enough shimmering light the helped camouflage the thread. Not the best but it worked being on a budget. Ok, I am at work on my lunch break and I have rambled on long enough. I hope what I have written above makes any since given the time frame I spent writing it. If you have anymore questions please ask as I will check this topic periodically for updates.

http://www.magicauction.com/Mag_auc/IllusionStageAccessories.htm
[/quote]

Or..... http://www.brownbeautymagic.com
Message: Posted by: Sam Weiss (Apr 16, 2010 01:31PM)
[quote]
On 2010-04-01 20:39, Pete Biro wrote:
When the stage folks, Blackston, et al, did the bulb, IT didn't exist. Learn it with strong stuff, then learn to light it and camo it with short streaks of marking pen.
[/quote]

Ah! Sorry Pete...

I somehow missed this comment about the lighting.

What do you mean by camouflaging the thread with short marking streaks?

I'm guessing that lighting is something you learn and changes with every stage set-up then?

Thanks,
Sam
Message: Posted by: ALLEN TIPTON (Apr 17, 2010 06:12AM)
The basic stage lighting needs to be Primary Red filters. Red light seems to affect audience's eyes and they do not focuss properly.
Do not have light behind you or coming directly down onto the thread. Keep the LX coming from out front.Check how street lighting hitting telegraph wires from above makes them shine!
A pin spot on the floating object--again experiment with the colour filter in it--I use one of the blues with my Floating Ball which I have performed for 30 odd years.

NEVER use a black or plain background

If you read up on Willard the Wizard you will discover he did have a black backcloth BUT it was covered with a multitude of white spots, quite close together.
This enabled him to present various items with threads, including puppets, in nearly full stage lighting.

Allen Tipton UK
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Apr 17, 2010 09:31AM)
Sam Weiss, the topic of thread control is far beyond the scope of the Café, we can only suggest a few things and give you source material for you to locate and purchase. We cannot hand you on a platter all the information needed to perform this effect, as it would take pages and pages to explain every detail and this is an open forum that anyone on the Internet can locate.

Yes, things have changed from the time this effect was initially performed, through technology it has made some improvements. You can start experimenting and find the solutions your self or buy some of the DVDs on the market that covers thread theory.

It is apparent you are not reading and absorbing the material thus far, your statement after some of the most important advice, you post "I am going to use my Black Art Backdrop." Do you know what a Black Art Backdrop even is? [b]THROW OUT YOUR CURRENT BACKDROP AND PURCHASE THE "NU LASH" MATERIAL, THAT IS THE MATERIAL TO USE IN THE 21st CENTURY! THEN BUY THE BURLING HALL BOOK, ONLY $6.00 OR SO, THIS WILL GIVE SEVERAL ROUTINES. THEN BUY SOME OF THE 5 OR 6 DVDs ON THREAD THEORY.[/b]
Message: Posted by: Sam Weiss (Apr 17, 2010 04:04PM)
@Allen Tipton
Thank you for the advice on the lighting :)

@wmhegbli
I have no intention of having anything handed to me on a platter. At the same time, I also think it is counterproductive to redo research that has already been accomplished and tested tenfold. This is why I ask these questions here.

Thank you though for enforcing the statement made by magicmatt earlier. My assumption of using my backdrop was obviously wrong. I did however, read and absorb what he said. What led me to the decision of using my "blackdrop" was that he also said he successfully used a solid color backdrop. Since I do not happen to own a "Nu Lash" backdrop, and one of the MANY uses of a "blackdrop" is to conceal black on black objects, I ASSUMED (wrongly I suppose) that it would be good in this case.

I will try to purchase the "Nu Lash" now, however I hope it won't seem out of place whenever I perform it in the far future. My setting would probably be on stage and not a parlor...

:lol: I won't throw out a perfectly good "blackdrop" though... that would be quite a useless waste.

... And I guess I'll buy the Hall book too before I get mobbed :thanx:

Anyways... thanks to EVERYONE on this thread that posted. You've all been a great help and a kick in the right direction. I'll shut-up now because I'm afraid this thread has revealed too much, even though I tried not to from the start.

-Sam Weiss
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Apr 18, 2010 08:36AM)
Sam Weiss, glad you are taking our advice. You are correct, black on black is the worse method for this effect, now that we have superior choices at our fingertips. The new drapes are the Mylar strips and the NU Lash. These will help reduce the need for purchasing and carrying your own full stage light assortment. If you invested in a 100% black velvet drape, I am sorry, but this was an error on your part. Just chalk it up to a learning experience or check out the Black Art booklet that Abbott's Magic sells, you may be able to go in that direction.

Take a look at Sean Bogunia's Dancing Hank routine, he uses NU Lash back drop and recommends it. Watch his demo of the Hank in the Bottle. Do you see anything? That gimmick is almost string thickness!

If you wish to learn what others have done and found out about this type of work, you may want to get the DVDs from Losander and Voitko. You can get them at Stevens Magic or your favorite dealer.

Remember you will see the gimmick while on stage from your stand point, but from the front audience side it will be invisible. An example would be to look at the moon on a dark night, you can see only a portion of the moon, as the suns light is coming from one source. Now in the daylight the moon is not visible, why because the moon is surrounded by light. It is still there, but because the light totally surrounds the surface, it cannot be seen. This is the same for gimmick work using thread. The light must surround the thread from the audience side.

Another example, ever see dust cob webs when the light is on them, you did not see them before the sun shined from a window directly in the path of the web. The when the shade was drawn illuminating the one light source direction, you could not see the web. It was invisible, not because of lack of light, but because it was totally surrounded by low light that was equal on all sides.

Now you have the principle of thread work. Black Art principles are for Black Art Magic, if you were a black clothes on stage you will be a head and hands floating around. I hope you are wearing a brightly colored clothing when using this drape set up.
Message: Posted by: Sam Weiss (Apr 18, 2010 01:06PM)
Just a couple more questions... won't a small "Nu-Lash" backdrop look out of place on a large auditorium stage? Is there anything more suiting to that environment or can the "Nu-Lash backdrop be made less inconspicuous? Does the same lighting rules apply as said by Allen above to the "Nu-Lash"?
Message: Posted by: Rudy Sanchez (Apr 18, 2010 02:14PM)
[quote]
On 2010-04-18 14:06, Sam Weiss wrote:
Just a couple more questions... won't a small "Nu-Lash" backdrop look out of place on a large auditorium stage? Is there anything more suiting to that environment or can the "Nu-Lash backdrop be made less inconspicuous? Does the same lighting rules apply as said by Allen above to the "Nu-Lash"?
[/quote]

Many magicians use Infinity Nu-Lash as their complete stage backdrop. Kirby Van Burch purchased hundreds of yards last year for his new theater.

Anthony Reed also used it in his show at the SandCastle Saipan Showroom. You can see the curtain made of Nu-Lash in his video here.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Cx3vXQRQoE

I also know of performers setting up their Spider Frames with Infinity Nu-Lash in auditoriums and theaters.
Message: Posted by: Sam Weiss (Apr 18, 2010 06:16PM)
Ah... I wish I had the money to purchase that amount of material. Sadly, I do not :(

Can a parlor sized backdrop work on a big stage?
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Apr 18, 2010 09:19PM)
Sam,
This topic has changed from a Floating Lightbulb to a floating ball on a fully lit stage. There is a major difference in the dramatic effect and presentation. A floating lightbulb is done a darkened theater where you can not really see anything except a lightbulb. It is very dramatic and very effective.

Allen gave you a lot of very good information on the lighting. John Calvet uses a piece of flowered cloth for his backdrop. The new materials are great but are expensive. I think there are other ways to do this for your needs. Also different colors of lights have different wave lengths. Red is shorter. Blue is longer. (I hope I have that right). I might add that you do not need expensive thread to do this effect. I know guys who worked for over 50 years doing it with nothing more than cotton thread.

I would suggest that you design a set type piece with some of the flowered fabric or something that fits the decor of the set piece. You need to try to develop this effect so the lighting requirements are minimal. That will let you do the effect in more venues.

Richard
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Apr 18, 2010 11:44PM)
Richard, I know you worked with the Blackstone's setting up many a stage for the floating light bulb. Thus you are still talking of methods from the old era. The stage does have to be completely dark any longer. Thinks and technology has changed things. Being both the Blackstone's are gone now, can you supply me with the thread configuration that Blackstone used at Abbott's?

Sam Weiss, if you want to do a floating light bulb on stage you will need a full stage curtain, as all the hook-ups work from the wings and battens.

Good news is if you want to get the Bulling Hull book it tells you how to day a one man floating light bulb. Then you can use a small curtain as you described. These are called Jet Set and sold by Abbott's Magic in 6' and 8' sizes.

To answer your question as to looking out of place on a large stage. No it does not. This brings the focal point of your presentation to a confined spot on the stage. Many magicians use this method to tell the audience where the action on stage will occur. Abbott's Magic also sells a large floating light bulb, they made the bulb for Blackstone, I was told.

So start saving your money as this little effect uses more then some thread, a custom light bulb and a hoop. That's about all the info you need to begin your adventure.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Apr 19, 2010 06:44AM)
Wm,
Old methods still work. The dramatic effect of the lighted bulb on a darkened stage is hard to beat. When Harry did the dancing hank in his full show he used full light (new technology).

I respectfully decline to reveal anything about the Blackstone light bulb.

Sam, the one man floating ball methods might work for your needs. If not, look at John Calvert's Dancing hank to get an idea of the background I am talking about.

Richard
Message: Posted by: Magic Researcher (Apr 19, 2010 08:36AM)
The Blackstone method really should remain in the hands of only a few. I know that at one time (still?) Gay licensed it to and trained Darren Romeo in the effect. He did a nice job with it.

Sam, if you can not afford cloth for your background, you really can not afford to do the Blackstone version. Build a small say 12' wide by 7' high back set for doing the effect. Nu-Lash, several of the mylar thread type of fabrics will work, or the classic busy floral pattern. For a floating light bulb routine the lighting should at least be dimmed enough that spectators can tell that the bulb is lit! It should not be done on a brightly lit stage.
MR
Message: Posted by: magicmatt (Apr 19, 2010 10:55AM)
Yes, at one time I was successfully able to use a solid backdrop for my floating light bulb but that was the only time I used it. Richard Hughes stated exactly what I was thinking in my last post but didn't write it and that was the floating light bulb was performed almost in the complete dark. That worked to my advantage. I would never perform the Floating Ball or Dancing Hank with a solid backdrop. It's made to be performed with a well lighted stage. I have seen John Calvet perform his Casper the ghost and it felt like I was inches away when I saw it. He did use a flowered backdrop and it worked perfectly. I saw Darren Romeo perform the floating light bulb and it was really well done and very pretty to watch. It was cool to see it fly out over the heads of the audience stop and slowly creep back to the hands of the magician. Anyways, Sam Weiss I wish you the best of luck and remember each place you perform this effect will be different so make sure you check the lighting and all angles before every show. I have seen some magicians take beautiful effects and ruin them by not following basic principles for setting up a show. You must guard the secrets because thread work can be easily reveled if not done properly.

- Cheers
Message: Posted by: Sam Weiss (Apr 19, 2010 08:08PM)
I'm not doing Blackstone's version... I already stated that I'm doing the one man hook-up by U.F. Grant.

That being said, I do agree completely that the floating lightbulb should be performed under darker conditions like Blackstone did. If you notice the video of it on YouTube though, it is not completely dark and as Allen suggested, he used a red filter light from the front. The darker conditions allow the audience to better see the LIT bulb. I would imagine if you had brighter lighting, the light would be washed out from the bulb.

I also noticed Blackstone practically used a solid backdrop in his, even with just semi-dim red filter lights. Can a regular black stage curtain break up the thread if this is true? I mean, I know you all have stated over and over that no patterns is a no-no, but I'm kind of confused now.

As an update, I have currently bought the embroidery hoop and the uni-thread 8/0 black. I purchased a floating lightbulb from Hank's Magic Factory and it came today but for some reason they sent me a floating flood light. The advertisement clearly showed a regular bulb and described it as such. I'm going to call tomorrow to see what is up.

Thanks,
Sam
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Apr 19, 2010 09:08PM)
Harry used a black curtain that was already hung in most places. Abbott's was always just what was there. Most theaters have a black cyclorama curtain. But I also saw him perform it in the round and in front of a mirrored background. The you tube video was lit for television not normal performances. Television lighting for this effect was extremely tricky.

I understand that you are not doing the Blackstone version. I think the one man ball is going to be more practical for your needs.

Good luck.

Richard
Message: Posted by: Sam Weiss (Apr 19, 2010 10:53PM)
I would like to eventually pursue the floating ball, but right now I am set on the floating lightbulb. I am confident I will be able to eventually pull it off one way or the other. (extensive practice of course)

Interesting how one question just keeps leading to another.

It seems like some people are saying any backdrop will work with the right lighting and others are saying you MUST have some sort of pattern drapery to break up the stuff.

I think at this point I will have to do my own experimenting and see what actually works in my situation... who knows... I might find that a regular stage curtain works fine for me. Or on the other hand I will notice that I HAVE to have the Nu Lash backdrop (or similar).

Thanks Everyone!
Sam
Message: Posted by: GlennGary (Jun 11, 2010 10:19PM)
Sam,
If you are still following this tread I am kind of late coming in. But keep in mind with the floating light bulb the room has to be dark enough to see the light and it should be bright enough to hide the T. Other words, just like blackart, the light will cause the eye to dilate and they will not be able to see the T. Also, on a big stage with the audience several feet away any backdrop will work in dim light as long as a light is not shining down and reflecting off the T. You can even get by with a black curtain but you might have to wash it with red or sometimes blue will work better.
Also the flowered curtain worked on the large stages with theatrical lighting but does not work in small venues or on small stages with improper lighting. For example, florissant ceiling lights will make the T very visible even from a good distance away. Lights in school rooms, gyms, lunch rooms, offices, etc will not work with a flowered curtain. It must be a shiny curtain for most of today’s venues except a legitimate theater. I made my curtains with Lemay material from JoAnn Fabrics . A good frame is the two tripods with a cross bar that photographers use. They are light weight and set up in minutes.
Depending on the venue, your T can be different. For stage I use Brownell Nylon T. You can find it in sporting supply stores as it is used to make bow strings for archery. It is very strong and will not break but it is small enough not to be visible on stage in most lighting situations. But it sounds like your one man floating is going to be more close up so the UnI T might be better for that. For light weight work I have used just regular cotton sewing T. But that has also broke with me a few times.
Just thought I would give you some more experience from the road.