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.
To say that our work here at Danger Boy is diverse would be an understatement, particularly these past couple of weeks. One of the more “out there” stunts that we have been asked to create this past year was an epic battle between Romans and Barbarians that took place last Monday in Yonge-Dundas Square. This live stunt was for the Toronto launch of the of the new Xbox One console, and specifically to create a lot of buzz around the next gen exclusive game called Ryse®: Son of Rome.
Danger Boy was asked to design a dynamic fight scene between fourteen authentically costumed Roman and Barbarian stunt performers. The battle was complete with pyrotechnic arrows (hey, it’s a video game and doesn’t have to be completely based on reality…), background explosions, and lots and lots of blood, guts and gore when the Romans inevitably kicked the Barbarians to the curb.
We spent weeks in the shop and the costume department building everything from battle axes to authentic buckskin Barbarian costumes. The most fun we had was in creating the blood effects. Usually we are doing blood for film and TV where there is time to “reset” between camera takes when the blood can be added, or cleaned up as needed. This was not the case in this five minute long live stunt where we had just one take to get it right. For this dynamic live action stunt we designed and built custom, wirelessly triggered, “blood belt packs” that could pump out up to a half a liter of blood from any of the eight characters who got axed during the scene. The fake blood was plumbed to any part of their body via surgical tubing and could be triggered in any sequence based on the live timing of the event.
This stunt show that we did for X-Box Ryse® represents a new form of advertising that we are being asked to help create content for more and more of these days. I call it viral stunt marketing. The goal is twofold: 1) to make a scene for the live audience and certainly impress the hell out of them and 2) for the content created by the stunt to hopefully go “viral” on social media sites like Facebook, Youtube and Instagram. It is a different way to think about stunt performances, choreography and story but we are really enjoying some of the new venues and opportunities it is opening up for us.
It was a huge amount of work for a five minute show but it was also a lot of fun and the kind of thing that we hope to have the opportunity to do again sometime soon.
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.
This past Monday the Danger Boy stunt team had the awesome opportunity to create a dramatic live stunt for the X-Box Call of Duty: Ghosts release in Toronto. The site was Yonge-Dundas Square, which was made up to look just like a military encampment with everything from real Humvee vehicles to training exercises, costumed performers with replica firearms and, of course, demos of the awesome new Call of Duty video game.
Danger Boy was asked to create stunt performance to fit in with this scene. Our client wanted something truly over the top so we went out and sourced a real ex-Canadian military Kiowa helicopter, and rigged it so that it could be hoisted 60’ in the air by an industrial crane. We then created a stunt scenario where the helicopter appeared to be “shot up” and catch fire while “flying” above the square. The two characters inside were forced to throw down ropes and rappel down to safety with the help of a “ground control” character waving signal flares.
Of course this whole scene was done with special effects magic, pyrotechnics, and our daredevil stunt rappellers. The whole thing was then made even more real with the live sound effects from our friend Mr. Ian Goodtimes. We performed the stunt twice just before midnight, and it had a huge impact on the crowd of eager gamers who all seemed to appreciate seeing the action of their favorite game come to life right before their eyes.
Yes, it was another awesome day at work!
Yesterday the special effects team at Danger Boy had the fantastic opportunity of working on an exclusive photo shoot with Allan Davey and his team from Allan Davey Photography. The goal of this photo shoot was to capture extremely high resolution images of some of our very best flame effects. This was a terrific excuse to fire off some of our favorite flame effects over and over, outside of the normal constraints of a show (no time deadlines, no audience perimeters, no formal cues etc.) This was a dream gig!
We started by helping his team set up a large black background so the flame effects could be “separated” from the rest of the image in post production (Photoshop). Allan Davey is a master at creating extremely complex photo montages made up of many photos and individual elements. He creates a lot of book covers for authors as well as corporate marketing for the aviation industry. He told me that sometimes he will be asked to create detailed photos of air planes that don’t even exist yet. He will be given just the specifications and has to create a better than lifelike representation using photo elements from other objects. His work is really is amazing and you really need to see it.
We started the shoot with one of our propane dragon units. This is a propane gas effect that fires a repeatable, billowy fireball up to 15’ high. Right away I could see that Allan was getting some spectacular shots and we weren’t the only ones having our dream gig. He was shooting on a Phase One, 60 megapixel camera so the detail he was able to pull out of the flames was like nothing I had ever seen before. I felt like I was seeing flame for the very first time in his viewfinder window. Amazing!
Next up we moved on to shooting one of our liquid flame throwers. This unit we built ourselves and I still don’t think any other effects company has anything quite like it. Our hand held flame thrower is capable of firing very long, skinny flames up to 30’. What makes it unique is the fact that the flame can be fired in any direction from vertical to horizontal and even straight down. It is like writing with fire in the sky! Our flame thrower is extremely precise which is why we use it when we are doing shows with Circus Orange where we fire it right under trampoline performers as they jump high above the flames. Again, Allan Davey and his team got some wicked shots of this custom flame effect.
We saved the biggest effect for last – a pair of gas bombs. What is a gas bomb you ask? Well, this is a staple effect in movie special effects industry – a 50’ diameter fireball explosion that lights up the night sky. When you see the huge fireballs when cars are blown up on film you are probably witnessing a variation on a gasoline bomb. A gas bomb is an effect that we fabricate out of black powder and gasoline and assemble by hand in a large steel V-pan mortar with extra strong ¼” steel side walls. It is an effect that needs to be treated with the utmost respect and it is always worth the effort.
I think everyone was very impressed with our massive gas bomb fireballs and all the effects fired last night. I know I will be impressed with Allan Davey’s photos once he is through manipulating them at his studio. We will post some of the results here as they become available to us. Oh, and we are already planning our next joint venture photo shoot with Allan and his team. He said he wants to shoot our high voltage Tesla coil. It is another one of our effects that I have never been able to get a good photo of but I just bet that Allan can. We will keep you posted.
Here are some of the photos we took during the shoot. THESE ARE NOT ALLAN DAVEY’S SHOTS – his will be posted at a later date.
On Friday night we teamed up with The Toronto Bagpiper and Circus Orange Inc. to create an all new hybrid act called the Pyro Piper. What is a Pyro Piper you ask? Well, it is pretty much just what it says – a bag pipe act combined with a boat load of pyrotechnics. It is a little bit crazy for sure but we had fun doing it and, who knows, maybe it is an act that will catch on.
This is one of those cases where we had to be very careful because we were combining pyrotechnics with weird things like bear skin hats and irreplaceable bag pipes. We thought it turned out pretty good.
Some times we like to look back at some of our big success from the past. This time last year we were right in the middle of a Canada wide tour with our favorite new country artist, Johnny Reid on his Fire it Up tour. We had worked with Johnny in the past so when he was looking for a company to do all the special effects for his 33 date tour all across Canada, he came to us first. We put together a wicked special effects package, specially designed for his show, and sent one of our best technicians across the country with him. The results were spectacular, and the show was a huge success. We loved working with Johnny and his entire team, and look forward to the next tour.
Hello and welcome to Danger Boy! We are very excited to introduce you to this new business entity. Danger Boy is a division of our parent company, Circus Orange Inc.. At Circus Orange we have been doing pyrotechnics, special effects, stunts and rigging for over 15 years. First it was within the context of our own shows but as time went by we found ourselves offering special effects as a stand alone service more and more. By the end of 2012 we were doing at least as much pure special effects work as we were live shows and that got us thinking about starting up a dedicated company with these specialized services in mind. This is it!
So what is Danger Boy? Basically Danger Boy is all the special effects, rigging and stunt goodness from Circus Orange. Same team, same expertise and gear and the same awesome ability to create spectacular effects fast, safe and on budget. Danger Boy is a division of Circus Orange Inc.
Why did we make this change you ask? Well, I am sure any business owner will tell you that what they had in mind when they started a business is not always what it turns into down the long winding road. Circus Orange has been an evolutionary company and an constantly morphing business vehicle for us. It literally started out with myself and my partner Rebecca doing live stunt, fire performances and evolved into the company that we have now capable of creating large-scale spectacle productions with huge casts, pyro, flying, stunts and special effects. Along the way people started asking for more and more purely FX work from us which we were more than happy to offer because we just love this area of work. Putting together custom machines and creating unique solutions to time sensitive practical problems in the entertainment industry has always been a huge passion for us. Now we have a dedicated business vehicle to do just that. It is very exciting!
Is Circus Orange still around? Circus Orange is currently bigger than ever and continues to thrive. We are hoping that by splitting out and removing the pure SPFX from the Circus Orange brand that we will be able to grow even more as a dedicated performance company. A Circus of Fire if you will.
So now you have the low down on Danger Boy. We look forward to blowing your mind and exceeding your expectations as this new business grows. Call our office if you have any questions. (905) 304-7504