The DangerBoy rigging team just finished up WEDay Toronto where we provided two unique flying effects for the concert event and the live TV broadcast.
The first flying effect was for the lead singer from the band Hedley and this one proved to be a very challenging indeed. The goal was to reenact a scene from Hedley’s recent music video Can’t Slow Down where the lead singer Jacob Hoggard is seen riding his track bike through various scenes and dance sequences.
For the WEDay Toronto live event we set up an automated 2D rig build around our VisualAct flying winch system. This 2D fly system enabled us to fly Jacob from one stage at the Air Canada Centre (ACC) to another about 15’ above the stage deck with millimeter precision. Next came the really tricky part… In order to make this effect work our team had to fabricate a custom, wireless rotate head so when the rider changed directions and came back across the stage in the other direction he was facing forward at all times. We also had to build a custom, fully adjustable spreader bar to suspend and balance the bicycle and the rider while suspended in the air. Phew…
For our second fly gag at WEDay Toronto we orchestrated a complex lowering effect where Jason Derulo appeared “from out of nowhere” and flew down onto the stage deck. Here again, we used our high speed, performer rated winch system but thistime in a simplier lowering configuration. The trick here was that for this act we had to load the performer onto our system from the catwalk 100’ above the stage and get him out into his start position on the high steel beams that support the roof of the ACC. Now, our team regularly traverses beams 100’ up and higher and for us this is easily done. A-list rock stars like Jason Derulo aren’t so accustomed to heights so for this stunt we had to design the rigging and the choreography with him in mind so that he was safe, comfortable and felt 100% confident in the stunt at all times. This gag was the opening to his song and dance number so he had to perform immediately after the lowering stunt so there could be no hickups or missed cues getting him to the stage.
Both our flying stunts at WEDay Toronto worked flawlessly and really impressed both the live and TV audience. The live nature of the event added extra stress but made it all more exciting as well. The show was a huge amount of work but our team rose to the task and pulled it off flawlessly. Thanks to everyone who was involved and helped out along the way, we are looking forward to doing it again next year!
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.
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.
Here’s the skinny: PRDs are basically a type of harness that you wear when working at heights, to keep you from falling to your death! Pretty important around these parts. What sets the Latchways PRD harness apart is the integration of a release tab to slowly lower you back to the ground, because having a fall-arrest system is one thing, but being able to get back down is an entirely different problem to solve. This harness lowers you at 2 metres per second, to a distance of 65′, to return all personnel safely, and in one piece, back to Earth.
We got to create a really fun (and very educational) stunt for the 3-day conference, and have attached the vlog above. Check it out!
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.
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.
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.