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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Floating Car on B'way (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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WRandall
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I saw the B'way show "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" last night. I pretty much went to see the flying car, and in that sense, I wasn't disapointed. It's a terrific effect - the car has a lot of mobility and the flying mechanism is invisible.

The car, automation and effects are credited to Hudson Scenic Studio, Inc. Does anyone know if the same company built Lance Burton's flying car illusion? The effect and method look the same, except the Chitty car flies around a lot more than I remember Lance's car flying - at one point it's almost over the first rows of the audience. I haven't seen the LB illusion live, though, so maybe he does that, too.

Anwyay, just curious if anyone knows if there's a behind-the-scenes connection between the two effects.

Thanks,
Will
The Mirror Images
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Sounds like a cool effect. What theatre did you go to to see this show. Must be broadway since you are in NYC.

Michael
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WRandall
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Yeah, it's playing at the Hilton theatre, which is a Broadway theatre on 42nd Street. To be honest, I made a mistake and thought "Chitty" was the show Jim Steinmeyer had designed F/X for, but once I got there I realized I was confusing the show w/ Mary Poppins, which hasn't gotten to Broadway from London yet. Oh well, at least I got to see the flying car.

For those visiting NYC: kids and fans of the original film will probably enjoy the show that's going on around the car, too.
Magicmatt1982
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Is there anywere I can see a video of it?
Paul Arthur
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The great thing about the design of that effect is that all of the lighting on the actors in the car is coming from inside the car (i.e. the dash) so as not to light up "protected" areas around the car.
WRandall
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Wow, I didn't notice that. It just seemed like everything was being lit from the front. That's a cool detail.
theaterfreak89
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It is a cool effect, but in my opinion not as cool as Steinmeyer's transformation in Beauty and the Beast. Ive seen that show three times and all I can say is that effect is beautiful.
"...Now lift it up...over your head..."
Paul Arthur
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Quote:
On 2005-04-17 16:39, theaterfreak89 wrote:
...Steinmeyer's transformation in Beauty and the Beast. all I can say is that effect is beautiful.


... but somewhat flawed in my opinion. The actual spinning/lifting effect is quite nice but it seems that little was done to mask the seperation in the wall behind. It just seems to stand out like a sore thumb.
WRandall
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Haven't seen the Beauty and the Beast effect, but it sounds a little like the witch's transformation in the recent production of Into the Woods. Basically, Vanessa Williams did a short, spinning levitation while she transformed from a witch into a beauty. Steinmeyer did the FX for that show, too. Anybody seen both illusions? If so, how similar are they?
NFox
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The lighting cues were off when I saw Beauty and the Beast, so the actual transformation was brutally clear. I could see how great it could have been, but was ultimately let down by the effect.

Nick Fox
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Magic Nathan
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I was looking for something that looked more like the transformation in the animated film. I was also disappointed in the results of the stage effect. It was very ovious.

Nathan
Paul Arthur
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Quote:
On 2005-04-18 11:32, WRandall wrote:
Anybody seen both illusions? If so, how similar are they?


I saw both... the Into The Woods transformation looked better in the way that it seemed distanced from the scenic units more than in B&B. The witch tranformation spun her in a standing position, while the B&B moves head over feet as well as a front/back pivot. I agree with the above posts that the B&B transformation is not as good as it could be.
theaterfreak89
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I do not mean the Transformation in Beauty and the Beast was amazing from an illusionist standpoint, but as a special effects designer myself, it is a marvel from a tech theater standpoint. I do love the show, and the synchronization of a great musical score, great illusion, and great lighting makes it a great THEATRICAL effect.
"...Now lift it up...over your head..."
WRandall
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Well, I've got to check out B&B at some point, cuz all that spinning in the air sounds pretty cool.

I was really impressed with the "Into the Woods" levi/transformation. Knowing the show, I expected her to transform, but the floating and spinning took me by surprise. I loved that there was no obvious get-ready for the levi. It just happened like real magic. Here's hoping my favorite illusion designer and my favorite composer/lyricist will team up again real soon.
IllusionJack
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The B&B effect is pretty cool, though I would agree it is not as magical as it probably could be. Better effects in that show, in my opinion, are the rose petals falling, and the part where the guy falls off the castle ledge as he and the beast fight. The transformation is still cool - don't get me wrong!

I think a very good effect is the one in Les Mis where Javert jumps off the bridge and kills himself. This is done very simply with lighting and flying of a set piece. It works like a charm.

Another good effect is the helicopter in the current US and UK tours of Miss Saigon, which uses projection and some BA to accomplish the effect.

--Jack Smile
The Mirror Images
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Yes the helicopter was amazing. It was a hologram of some sort. If it wasn't then it was projected on to some type of scrim material. Cause it looked cool. ANd with the lighting that they use to make that effect come to life was amazing.

Michael
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Magic Nathan
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I agree that the Les Mis production did some great illusions with simple staging. When Javert supposidly jumped of the bridge into the river ..the bridge was yanked up away from him giving the impression he was falling away from it. Seconds later the revolving floor took him away as if the current of a river was sweeping him away. VERY NICE!

Nathan
Paul Arthur
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The Les Mis jump is very nice.... there is a similar effect in Urinetown, only from a different perspective. It's as if you see the actor fall from above and get closer and closer to the ground before impact. It was staged very simply, but it looked amazing.
Having seen both the original Miss Saigon and the new tour (non-equity), I have to say that the original helicopter was SO much more effective. To this day, it's one of the best theatrical special effects sequences I've ever seen. It was as believable as it could be.... you really believed they had a helicopter on stage. Anyone who's seen the original knows what I'm talking about.
I think that one of the better effects in B&B is the dining room table with chairs that hide the "chip" actor. Everything is very well hidden.
IllusionJack
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The original Miss Saigon helicopter was extremely cool. It was very believable, and one of the best and most memorable theatrical effects ever, as Paul said. I too have seen both and the new effect has grown on me. The fact that it uses magic principles is very cool, and that the tour is able to bring the effect to theaters in which it would be impossible to fit the old set piece is remarkable. The current US and UK tours were re-designed to fit into smaller venues in smaller markets, and those audiences are able to see an effect that is very similar, yet entirely different from that which was seen on Broadway, in London, and on the 1st and 2nd national tours in the 1990s.

--Jack Smile
Paul Arthur
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The 'non-equityness' of the new tour also created the smaller budget of the show... creating scaled down set pieces and effects.
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