Fake Smoke is Not Usually Dry Ice

May 17, 2010 at 8:11 am 5 comments

I frequently hear people refer to fake smoke as “dry ice.” It’s true, you can make smoke from dry ice. But, in many cases, it’s dangerous and inconvenient.

That’s why they invented fog machines. Fog machines are made up of a small heater, a fluid reservoir and a pump. These machines vaporize mineral oil, glycol or glycol/water mixtures to produce fog. Low powered machines for home use are pretty affordable, you can get a decent one from Amazon for $40. Around Halloween, many other stores carry them too.

Fog machines are great for enhancing lighting effects and creating an eerie mood. The fog usually fills the room from floor to ceiling, but cooling the fog with ice creates layered fog that stays below your knees.

In sixth grade, my friend Troy and I had a vision for our school air guitar competition. He saw himself as lead lip sync-er, rocking out to Tone Loc’s Wild Thing. I didn’t know that song when he mentioned it, nor did I care — I just wanted lots of smoke and lasers.

I called a few equipment rental houses and got quotes to rent a fog machine and lasers. It was a hefty amount for an 11 year old, but I was making a name for myself in the newspaper delivery business and I was willing to spend the money — I knew that lasers would help us win the competition.

I shared my creative vision with the drama teacher and he said, “no smoke.” He had worked with dry ice before and said it makes the floor slippery; it was a liability he wasn’t willing to take on. I told him, “people don’t use dry ice anymore — there is new technology that is completely dry and doesn’t make the floor wet.” He wouldn’t listen and said his decision was firm: no smoke. Without smoke, you can’t see lasers, so that meant we were back to the boring house lights.

I told Troy that smoke and lasers were off. He could tell I was upset, but he said with great confidence, “It’s alright. We’ll still win.” Comparing our rehearsals to the other groups, I knew he was wrong

In the end, smoke and lasers wouldn’t have made a difference. You see, Troy was the most hyper kid I knew. On the day of the show, he focused all of that energy into his performance and he completely stole the show.

That day I learned, you don’t need smoke to see lasers. Everybody has amazing potential and the secret lies in how you focus that energy.

Broken Secrets | By: Chad Upton

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Sources: Theatrical Smoke, Fog Machines, Dry Ice

Entry filed under: Around The House, Demystified. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Frank  |  May 17, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    what a gay little story!

    Reply
  • 2. Charyl  |  May 17, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    And then there was New Years Eve. Apparently the fire department held a similar view to your teacher.

    Reply
  • 3. Adam  |  May 19, 2010 at 9:18 am

    In the first sentence, you spelled ‘hear’ incorrectly, you wrote ‘here’. Just thought I’d let you know.

    Reply
    • 4. Chad Upton  |  May 19, 2010 at 1:38 pm

      lol. great catch, thank you. You guys are my editors!

      Reply
  • 5. Ramen  |  October 2, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Ahahaha, I found this randomly on the net, pretty funny I must say!

    Reply

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