The South East Asian Games are the Olympics of Asia, and in 2011 Palembang, Indonesia was the host city. The opening ceremonies for any large-scale games event is always a lavish and over the top production and this time was no exception.
The director of the opening ceremonies wanted to fly their countries first Olympic gold medal winning athlete, Susi Susanti from one end of the stadium to the other where she was to throw a flaming spear into an 80’ high cauldron and ignite the flame for the games. No tall order!
There were a few challenges to this director’s artistic vision, not the least of which was the fact that this event was taking place in a huge open air stadium. This meant that there was no overhead rigging to attach to of course. Danger Boy was called on to propose a solution for this massive fly gag so our technical director, Tom Comet, flew over to Indonesia to take a look at the stadium and see how we could solve this rigging dilema.
The solution we came up with was to park two huge crawler cranes outside the building at each end of the stadium and suspend a horizontal cable track over the entire length of the field. When this cable track was tensioned it would provide the horizontal rigging that our trolley would run along. Two computer controlled high speed winches were placed at the end of this highline track. One to provide horizontal movement and the other the performer’s vertical lift. A series of cues were written to take into account the sag in the overhead cable track so that when the performer flew from one end of the stadium to the other she flew flat horizontally straight as opposed to following the slight sag in the line.
After a week of hard rigging work and rehearsal in the 40C+ degree heat the system was in place and worked perfectly. Millions watched as Susi magically flew from one end of the stadium to the other and lit the flaming cauldron with her spear.
A few years ago the Danger Boy team had the fantastic opportunity to work with Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Mobile Group to create a dynamic stunt for their “Escape Your Cell” live event. We were asked to both stunt coordinate, rig and fabricate all the props for a live stunt to be performed by Branson himself. The show was to be held at Yonge-Dundas Square in the heart of downtown Toronto.
Branson gave interviews all morning from a jail cell situated in the middle of the square. His cell was a poke at other cell phone companies and how, at the time, they didn’t make it easy to change providers and keep your current number. With the new number portability rules in Canada, Branson wanted to make certain that everyone knew that they now had the power to change providers and keep their old phone number.
The Virgin Mobile stunt that we implemented involved Branson himself shackled inside the steel jail cell hoisted fifty feet above the square suspended only from an industrial crane. Suddenly there was a huge pyro explosion, the jail cell blew apart in mid air and Branson was free! He then threw down an exceptionally long bed sheet (as you do when escaping from jail) and climbed down to safety. The crowd went wild!
“I felt totally safe and secure. The stunt went completely according to plan and was a huge success”
~Sir Richard Branson – Virgin GroupThis was a challenging, stressful and extremely fun project for us. It brought together many of the components that Circus Orange does best – stunts, rigging, fabrication and pyrotechnics. The tricky part here was that the stunt was not going to be implemented by one of our trained stunt professionals but rather by the A-list celebrity Sir Richard Branson. The other exciting part was that Branson was scheduled to arrive the morning of the stunt and our lead stunt coordinator, Tom Comet, would have a mere 15 minutes to brief him on his role. To say that this stunt had to be “turn-key” would be an understatement!
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!
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.
Last week we had the pleasure of bringing the folks from Discovery Channel’sDaily Planet down to check out our exciting FogScreen® technology. We always have a great time working with these guys, and can’t wait for more opportunities to collaborate with them in the future.
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.
In the ongoing quest to bring our clients the best selection of practical special effects in Canada, we are super-excited to announce that we now offer lasers. We have systems from small, self-contained club and corporate sized lasers to full featured, multi-laser systems for large touring shows. We can even provide very powerful lasers for use in outdoor settings.
We recently had a great example of how we can combine lasers with pyrotechnics at Toronto’s Cavalcade of Lights. For this project we added three high-powered lasers to our eight-minute long high elevation pyrotechnic show. In the past we had to allow time between songs for the smoke from the pyro to dissipate. This year we used the smoke to our advantage as it became the canvas for us to paint with 30w full spectrum lasers. It brought a new dimension to the overall show and we got a lot of great comments.
We plan to integrate lasers into more of our projects going forward and to offer them as a stand alone effect.
Photos of our lasers at this years Cavalcade:
Here is a video from this years Cavalcade that showcases our lasers outstandingly.
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.