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Topic: Floating Lightbulb - How to light?
Message: Posted by: Oli (Nov 2, 2003 08:39AM)
Hi All,

My first post - so be kind!

I'm currently putting together a floating lightbulb routine using a newpaper. I've managed to figure out a good system to float the bulb, but I need a way to light it up. I have a Blackstone version but I want to use a real bulb.

Does anyone have any ideas as to how to do it? I've looked at various LED (ala D'lite) but it needs to stay on.

Mnany thanks,

Message: Posted by: Namzyr (Nov 3, 2003 05:06PM)
Oli -

There are loads of ways to do what I think you want, but with varying levels of complexity.

Your LED idea would be fine, but I'm assuming you'd want the light source inside the bulb. It actually could be positioned at the rear, which would simplfy your rigging, but certainly limt your flexibility.

If you're OK with carefully removing the metal base from a bulb, you open up many more options.

To start, I'd recommend checking out your local electronics parts shop, look for high-output LED's and the batteries needed to power it. Once you've got that, some basic soldering skills and a little care avoiding broken glass is called for- I'd consider using gloves.

As far as a switching system goes, I've got some ideas there. But have you done a good check on the Internet? I'd bet someone out there's got a good gag bulb for you!

But if you're really interested in a DYI job, let me know!

And welcome to the Café!
Message: Posted by: Oli (Nov 3, 2003 05:12PM)
Cheers Namzyr!

I've had a search for lightbulb ideas but haven't found much in the way of practical gaffs. I'd be interested to hear your ideas. PM me or email at closeupmagician@btopenworld.com


Message: Posted by: Namzyr (Nov 3, 2003 05:46PM)
How handy are you? Are you comfortable with my suggestions thus far?
Message: Posted by: Oli (Nov 3, 2003 06:05PM)
Pretty handy. Can get into a lightbulb fairly easily. It's just what goes on inside that I'm kinda stuck at. I can get some bright LED's from Maplin's over here. It's the switch etc, that I could do with some ideas on.

Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Nov 3, 2003 06:08PM)
What about using the lights that Jay Scott Berry sells? They are very small and can be locked in an on position but can also be turned off. They are very bright and should show up well. It might be worth looking into. Hope this helps.
Message: Posted by: zombieboy (Nov 3, 2003 08:22PM)
Yes, the finger fazer might be appropriate...
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Nov 4, 2003 07:02AM)
Yes, that is what he calls them. I had forgotten the name of his product. His pure white lights give off a lot of light and should be small enough to fit and to rig up.
Message: Posted by: -The Scot- (Nov 4, 2003 07:23AM)
Then you might come across the same problem as 'lite flight' where there is a bright spot of light somewhere in the bulb, and the rest of it is dimly lit.

If you were really stuck you could get a cheap joke light bulb (plastic) and take it apart and try and reassemble the components inside of the glass bulb. That is if you really want it in a glass bulb anyway.

Good luck, and let us know how you get on ;)

Message: Posted by: Oli (Nov 4, 2003 07:52AM)
Thanks Kevin. A glass light bulb is really what I'm after. I'm looking to explode the light bulb at the end of the routine so I'm going to need something that can be re-used. I may call up a light bulb company and see if they can come up with anything.

Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Nov 4, 2003 10:06AM)
Keep us all informed on what you find out and what information you come across. Good luck with it.
Message: Posted by: -The Scot- (Nov 4, 2003 01:38PM)
You could always float a plastic one, and switch it for a glass one. If you use the finger fazer method, or and LED method you will need a switch anyway so when it breaks open an LED doesn't fall out.

Good luck.
Message: Posted by: Namzyr (Nov 5, 2003 11:28AM)
Whoa- you can sure miss a lot around here in a few days!

Oli, it's nice to see you getting acquainted with some of the big brains here at the Café!

I'd definitely check out the "Finger Fazer" and consider the switch as The Scot suggests. While I feel pretty confident I could guide you into a working gaff, you're still going to have to deal with the rig inside the bulb after it explodes.

By the way, I hope you're considering wearing some kind of eye protection for the finale. That's not safety glass!
Message: Posted by: -The Scot- (Nov 5, 2003 01:10PM)
Do keep us informed, about how your getting on ;)

Thanks, Kevin
Message: Posted by: Namzyr (Nov 5, 2003 03:24PM)
You know, I just thought of something I kind of mentioned before ...

If you use a gimmick that's actually placed behind the bulb, it would simplify a few things. It would save you from having to rig a new bulb each time, and assuming a frosted bulb (a clear one would be pretty useless either way)the light should still shine through pretty effectively. But angles would be an issue.

On the other hand, a behind-the-bulb gaff would allow you to rig a pull on it so that we'd have no "fall-out" problems after the shattering, as mentioned before.
Message: Posted by: Oli (Nov 5, 2003 04:24PM)
Thanks to all who've replied. I'm now thinking along the lines of rigging a spherical casing on the back of the bulb. This way it will extended the shape of the bulb and disguise the fact there is a gimmick there.

When it comes to floating the thing I will probably attach something to the top. Or an extention of the light gimmick. It's just a case of sorting out weight distribution.

Message: Posted by: -The Scot- (Nov 6, 2003 02:32AM)
Heres a suggestion, you could float the socket too - which would explain why its lit. All the mechanics and hookups could be on the socket, and when your finished floating it you remove it from the socket and it's completely regular.

What do you think?
Message: Posted by: Oli (Nov 6, 2003 06:57AM)
Sounds like a plan! Would make more sense anyway. I'm going to have to look at the set up of the thread as the cable would have to be balanced perfectly so the bulb doesn't swing too much.

Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Nov 6, 2003 11:19AM)
Is this a Zombie type setup or the Okito Floating Ball (Blackstone) way?

You just need strong batteries and a bulb within a frosted bulb. You can use a reed switch with an external magnet to turn it on/off.

Both Bob Swadling and Scotty York made great bulbs, but they were tiny for close up routines.

I just noted you are from the UK, as is Bob Swadling. Try to locate him, I think he still lives in Wantage, Berks. :exclaim:
Message: Posted by: Oli (Nov 6, 2003 11:34AM)
It's a setup I've been thinking about for a while. I do the Blackstone lightbulb effect but I would like this one to be self contained. I'm planning to use a newspaper as a cover then ditch the paper and carry on the effect. I've thought of a giant loop which would use both hands to manipulate the bulb.

Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Nov 6, 2003 11:56AM)
I love Kevin's suggestion of the light socket. it is one of those ideas where we often overlook the obvious. It makes sense to an audience and works great in that it will hide the gimmick and can be removed for the finale and then reused. You would not be having to rerig it everytime you do the effect.
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (Nov 6, 2003 02:32PM)
Plastic light socket are available in hardware stores that are very light weight and not much in diameter from the screw in part of the bulb.
Message: Posted by: -The Scot- (Nov 6, 2003 02:42PM)
Would it be light enough for IT, or would you need to use wire? I think the socket way is the best way to go (you can use my suggestion by the way ;)) because it would be a lot easier than making moulds for casings etc.

Good luck
Message: Posted by: Oli (Nov 6, 2003 04:01PM)
Cheers The Scott. I will credit you when the tme comes! I think wire is the way go to although I always have trouble finding a suitible thickness (or not as the case maybe!) I haven't performed the Blackstone version in a while so I think the wire has ended up in that big magic void where props seem to go to!
Message: Posted by: Namzyr (Nov 10, 2003 03:45PM)
Hey- if you're going to include the socket base, why not put all the works in the socket, where you can leave it (no fallout!), and all you'll need to do is bore a whole in the bottom of the bulb so the light can get in!

I was going to suggest the reed switch as Pete Biro mentioned (I was going to surprise you with it- really!), but he gave it away! :bwink:

Just thought of something- the boring part? Problem!

If you were to take any kind of drill bit to the metal socket at the base of the bulb, you're going to get tiny little shards of metal that may fall into the bulb itself, putting tiny little scrapes in the frosted coating, really a fine powder. That'll kill your illusion pretty good!

I'd definitely take up Mr. Biro's idea and try to locate your local trick bulb maker! :goodluck: