WEDAY TORONTO FLY GAG

WEDay Bike

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!

JUMPJET AT THE EX

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.

SOUTH EAST ASIAN GAMES

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.

OUR 3D WINCH SYSTEM CREATES VERTICAL DANCE

In September of 2016 DangerBoy was very pleased to once again work with our performance partner Circus Orange in order to assist them in staging a custom, vertical wall dance performance on the side of a building as part of the SuperCrawl festival in Hamilton, Ontario.

What is a “vertical wall dance performance” you ask? Well, imaging taking a flat stage and turning it 90° so that it now stands straight up and down (think wall, side of building etc.). Now attach eight performers to an intricate dynamic rigging system that redirects back down to our four VisualACT high-speed, computer controlled winches. Voila – Wall Dance!

The team first rehearsed the show and worked out the choreography on the ground before adding in the vertical element. Next, for a week we rehearsed at our facility on a custom built wall structure designed to simulate the actual venue, or, to be more precise, the side of the venue After that we moved the whole system to the performance site in downtown Hamilton and re rigged it on the building where the performance was to take place. At that site we rehearsed for another week and really fine-tuned the show and the choreography. Eighty or so precise cues were written, costumes, music, pyro and effects were layered on and then came the big night. How did the show go? Well, the team blew the audience away with something they have never seen before and everyone had an amazing time. Thanks SuperCrawl for staging this amazing event and for trusting us to play on the side of your building.

This was the debut of our new VisualACT high-speed winch system and we were very pleased with the results. This time around the show was staged on a six storey building. Next time we are looking for something a little taller. Anyone have any 60 storey buildings that you would like to see turned into a vertical canvas?

VIRGIN MOBILE STUNT WITH SIR RICHARD BRANSON

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!

3M PRD DEMO @ GLOBAL PETROLEUM SHOW, CALGARY AB

Two weeks ago, the Danger Boy team headed west to Calgary, AB for the annual Global Petroleum Show. While there, we helped 3M Canada showcase some pretty incredible new tech in the world of PRDs (Personal Rescue Devices) from the team at Latchways.

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!

XBOX CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS STUNT

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!

DANGER BOY TO PROVIDE ALL THE FLYING EFFECTS & RIGGING FOR TV SHOW

We are super excited to announce that Danger Boy has been asked to provide all the performer fly rigging for the new show called Japanizi. This show is based on those crazy Japanese stunt shows where the contestants do insane stunts and appear to really hurt themselves. The twist here is that it is all done with kids (and they don’t hurt themselves). It has been a lot of fun coming up with custom fly gags for some of the unique “games” that the producers have designed up with for the show. We will have more information on this project once the show airs.

INDOOR ZIP LINE

Last night we got to do an awesome stunt for the grand opening of Nashville North in Barrie, Ontario. This is a new country bar built in the old Roxx Theatre, so the building and stage had some terrific potential for theatrics.

We worked with the owner to come up with a spectacular custom zip line stunt.  We rigged our zip line from the upper level to the back of the stage and dressed two of our stunt performers as crazy cowboys for the gag.  Right at midnight the manager, a big burly dude in a huge overcoat came out on stage for a big announcement.  Part way through his speech he “noticed” two ne’er do wells on the upper level.  This was in fact our two stunters dressed up in cowboy duds.  They were supposed to represent guys from the other country bar in town.  Once the audience was looking the right way they came flying down the zip line and crashed right into the manager initiating a choreographed fight scene that culminated in the manager shooting both of our baddies and dragging them off stage while announcing to the screaming crowd, “Barrie – there is a new sheriff in town”.

This stunt was a lot of fun and a good example of how we can work in even relatively small venues and create really fun, original stunts.  Thanks to Kitt and everyone at Nashville North for having us and we wish you the best of luck with your endeavor.

Here are some picture of this great event.

FLYING MARTIN SHORT

Yesterday our flying FX team had the fantastic opportunity to fly actor Martin Short during his opening song and dance number at the inaugural CSA Awards Show in Toronto Ontario. Martin Short has had a lot of experience with fly gags in live performance and really wanted to fly for this event but it was a last minute addition. Our fly rigging team had to move really fast in order to put this show together but it was worth it and the act turned out awesome. Martin short was so courteous and professional and everyone on the show had a great time making this flying effect happen.