The annual Cavalcade of Lights pyrotechnic show fired from Toronto’s iconic City Hall is an event where Danger Boy really ratchets it up a few notches. Cavalcade takes place every November, and is the official lead up to the Christmas season in Toronto. We have had the opportunity to be a part of this production for many years now and it is always a privilege. This is the largest pyro and fireworks show held in an urban, downtown setting in Canada and that in itself creates many challenges and opportunities.
In order to keep this show fresh, and to stand out, we work with our performance division, Circus Orange, to come up with some pyro/performance hybrid elements. This gives the event a special flavor, and makes the production a lot of fun for our entire team. Instead of creating just a pyro and fireworks display, we step it up a notch by designing a unique performance with live stunt elements that usually take place right on the building itself.
In 2008 we staged two pyro rappellers from each of the two towers of City Hall. These daredevil stunt performers had large revolving pyro backpacks that fired remotely in sync to the music. For this stunt we created our own special pyro proof ropes, and we feel that we are at the forefront of the stunt industry for our ability to work with pyro in a rope access environment.
Another year we created “Pyro Man”, a live action super-hero capable of climbing the 330’ high east tower of City Hall in thirty-seconds and then leaping from the east tower to the west all while bringing his pyro goodness wherever he went. In reality “Pyro Man” was played by five different stunt professionals who each performed one aspect of this extremely complex gag. We implemented everything from an ascender gag to a super high-angle pyro zip line stunt to pull this one off.
Cavalcade of lights is one of our favorite shows because it has grown with us. It is a show where we are given the opportunity to develop new effects and stunts in a familiar, local environment. The production team at Toronto Special Events is second to none and we always have a good time no matter how cold it gets outside. Much of what we have developed for Cavalcade we have taken out in the world and implemented on other sites and events.
When our partner company, Circus Orange, got the 18 day contract for an outdoor spectacle show at the Canadian National Exhibition (The EX) in Toronto, we really needed to up the scale of our special effects, stunt and rigging design.
This show was to revolve around a one ton dramatic flying set piece called “The JumpJet”. This jet was to appear just like a real live flying vertical take off jet with theatrical, aerial and stunt performances taking place on and beneath the flying framework.
We spent a month designing, fabricating and testing the JumpJet rig at our shop before any of the complex theatrical and stunt elements were layered on top.
Simulated jet engines were what the story called for to create the illusion of lift enabling flight. We created this by mounting our custom liquid flame generators in a hydraulically angled body designed to look like a jet engine. When the action called for the jet engines it was the combination of live sound effects with the thirty foot long flames that gave the appearance of the real thing. Because these were liquid flames they could be fired just as effectively horizontally or even straight down!
The second part of the illusion was actually getting the whole Jump Jet rig off the ground so it appeared to “fly”. This we did with a 70 ton industrial crane and some complex rigging that would give us full control of every axis. The JumpJet could pitch, roll and yaw just like the real thing. In the dark night’s sky the crane vanished leaving just the illusion of a mad max styled contraption high in the sky.
We rigged a circus trapeze and bungee act below the JumpJet and a live action stunt scene above. One particularly dramatic moment in the action called for an engine “malfunction” to send the JumpJet into a spiral to earth with the pilot character hanging by one arm from the wingtip. We stunt coordinated and provided all the training and stunt safety protocols for this aspect of the show as well.
This show called on all of our specialized services to “get off the ground” and was a dream gig for us. There were many other unique aspects to this performance and we invite you to read more on the JumpJet page of our partner company Circus Orange’s web site.
When music video director Chris Stacey was looking for some awesome flame effects for the band Manafest, he had to look no further than Danger Boy. This video was shot outdoors, at night, in downtown Hamilton, Ontario and the idea was that it had that gritty, raw quality.
Our Sigma Propane Dragons were the perfect match for Chris’s directorial vision. We set them up behind the band, and created elaborate chase sequences perfectly timed to the music. The nice thing about propane effects such as this is there is zero fallout and the effect can be precisely controlled so that it is exactly the same every time. Flame height can be adjusted as required, making our Propane Dragons the perfect choice for large stadiums, concert tours, or outdoor shoots such as this.
We recently partnered up again with photographer, Matt Barnes, and Westside Studios to work on a firefighter training shoot at the Brantford Municipal Airport. As always, this team is a blast to work with, and the shoot has been one of our best days on site to date! Check out the gallery below for some behind-the-scenes stills we took!
Danger Boy recently had the honor of creating a custom high-elevation pyrotechnic show for the opening night of the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. This show was an extra special event for us as we were given special permission to fire our pyro off the historic Toronto landmark, the Princes’ Gates.
Now we love pyro and we especially love it when we get to fire pyro off of an interesting piece of architecture as it just adds so much to the show. Add to that the fact that the Princes’ Gates are an historic landmark and this made for one truly awesome show! We had great weather, a fantastic turn out and the show went off perfectly. Now, to just convince our friends at The EX to do it every year…
Well it is video game launch season again and that means some super fun, FX laden events for the team at Danger Boy. This recent event we just completed for Sunset Overdrive was particularly awesome due to the amazing props and effects seen in the game. Our job was to recreate these props and effects safely in real life as an “experiential” marketing experience for hundreds of eager gamers. We helped crate an interactive “mayhem playground” where gamers could enter a cordoned off 60′ X 60′ area, and basically cause as much havoc as they wanted for two whole minutes. Crazy! There is nothing better than when your job description includes building teddy bear launchers and making 500 gallons of green slime! Here is a little video with some of the highlights.
We get to create some pretty awesome practical effects at Danger Boy on a very regular basis but it is always fun to partner with another creative company in order to create something larger than we could even dream up. This is exactly what happened recently when our good friend Allan Davey from Davey Photo asked us to provide some flame effects and stunts for a fantasy photo montage that he was building up from scratch. Allan builds up spectacular photos out of unusual individual elements. He shoots with the best gear available and then brings a bunch of disassociated images together in Photoshop where he creates finished shots that totally blow your mind. Allan is the kind of artist that I admire most. He has the technical skills to get the very most out of his gear but he also has the creative ability to take the imagery that exists within his head and make it real. Here is a brief overview of how we worked with Allan Davey to help him create the stunning photo you see above.
A few months back Allan and his team shot a bunch of our flame effects outdoors on a black background. We used our propane “dragons”, our liquid flame throwers and even fired off a few of the huge 40’ diameter gas bomb effects to suitably impress the boys who spend too much time working with Photoshop fire.
After Allan had all the flame he could handle he went back to his studio and shot everything from cabbage leaves to zoo animals in order to create the montage for his fantasy dragon. I don’t know how you turn a cabbage leaf into a dragon but I am not sure I want to sit in front of a computer long enough to learn either. I guess that is why I do effects and Allan does photos.
He then added in the flame effects shot earlier in the year to create a truly spectacular fire breathing dragon photo. For most photographers this probably would have been enough but Allan is a bit like us so he chose to step it up a few more notches. He called me up and said that he wanted his fire breathing dragon to be roasting someone. “We can do that!”
Allan and his team came back to our shop ( I think they like it here) and we did a fire burn day. Our lead stunt coordinator Tom Comet did the “hero shot” burn for the actual photo. Tom has been performing burn stunts for over 10 years now and still enjoys the smell of singed eyebrows from time to time.
As fire burn stunts are not something that we get to do every day so we set this job up as a workshop and photoshoot so some of our team who have not been involved in burn stunts could experience what it was like to do partial burns and be on the stunt safety side of it. It was a great day, no one got hurt and we got to help make some incredible art.
Photo by Allan Davey Photography
Thanks again goes out to Allan Davey for the opportunity of working together.
Danger Boy recently went to Mexico with our sister company Circus Orange to implement all their pyrotechnics, special effects and rigging. When we work in a foreign country we always work with a “local license” on the pyro side of things. This local company helps us with all of our local pyro needs, from sourcing to transportation, on site storage and show day implementation. In the case of our show in Mexico, the local company encouraged us to use locally manufactured pyro. This video documents some of our experiences with this Mexican pyro.