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View Full Version : How do we do flying actors???



DeceasedFarm
11-05-2012, 01:18 PM
Hey everyone,

First off - I hope everyone had a great 2012 season.

Second - our haunt took a trip to Netherworld the last night they were open this year, and we saw they have a couple of flying actors. I also know some of the other big haunts do this as well...my question is - how is this done? Is there a company that sells the necessary rigging/harness/cables? Or do you have to make it yourself? If it is a company, who makes it? If you have to do it yourself; does anyone have some tips/hints/templates?

Thanks a lot! And here is to a great 2013!

Colie Stancil

Deceased Farm - Lexington, SC

rshorts
11-05-2012, 04:10 PM
I'm not sure how the big guys do it, but as a Theatre professional first and a Haunter second, I would HIGHLY recommend you hire a professional rigger who is certified to do any flying of props and especially actors. There are also two major companies that fly people in the US, zfx and flying by foy. I prefer zfx. I think you should give them a call and explain what you are wanting to do and they can point you in the best/safest direction. There is a great potential for injury to your actors/audience as well as for liability. I would really recommend you ask the pros for help on this one.

randy

imagineer
11-06-2012, 07:42 AM
Netherworld introduced me to the flying actor rig. I helped install an "I" beam that used a trolley and chain. The actor just hung with a harness and flew from one end to another. At the time, about 6 years ago, this was safe and effective. Since then I have seen actors fly on thick cables stretched from one wall to another. Please don't do that unless you know your cables, and even then, there are better ways. I strung up an actor using a barn door track. Video below. This worked well and inspired other haunters to add it to their haunts. The wire I used was the black aircraft cable. If you use this version, please make sure there is a good daily inspection of the cable and rig.
I would say that if your funds allow it, go for the I-beam. You can make a quiet trolly that will do what you need.

FYI: I drew plans to get the wall-walking rig made where the actor walks around the room. I am trying to get Larry at the Darkness make it happen. If he does, the rig, will replace all the above.



http://youtu.be/LebF7mHDV8k

Andrew

Wellinton
11-06-2012, 01:38 PM
I love this!! I would love more information how you were able to rig this guy up to do this.
Is this a product I may buy or is it a build?

Jim Warfield
11-06-2012, 03:57 PM
Baked beans, tacos.. cleared for take off!
The illusion of flight may be accomplished as the audience faints, passes out from your fumes, you will seem to be rising up as they fall down.
Recently Penny Marshall ("Lavern & Shirely") told how when they had her "flying" something came loose and she hit the concrete hard and could not work for several days.
Like the old saying"People can drown in an inch of water", as applied to falling the same extreme may hold true.
I personally would be and remain THE MOST impressed if someone was "Flying" and made to seem to be a very LARGE person which would really make them wonder, now wouldn't it?

Trail of Terror
11-06-2012, 06:38 PM
Man that is cool... I might have to steal that idea from you... can you give me more details on the rig and track...

Thanks

Geoff


Netherworld introduced me to the flying actor rig. I helped install an "I" beam that used a trolley and chain. The actor just hung with a harness and flew from one end to another. At the time, about 6 years ago, this was safe and effective. Since then I have seen actors fly on thick cables stretched from one wall to another. Please don't do that unless you know your cables, and even then, there are better ways. I strung up an actor using a barn door track. Video below. This worked well and inspired other haunters to add it to their haunts. The wire I used was the black aircraft cable. If you use this version, please make sure there is a good daily inspection of the cable and rig.
I would say that if your funds allow it, go for the I-beam. You can make a quiet trolly that will do what you need.

FYI: I drew plans to get the wall-walking rig made where the actor walks around the room. I am trying to get Larry at the Darkness make it happen. If he does, the rig, will replace all the above.



http://youtu.be/LebF7mHDV8k

Andrew

screamforadream
11-06-2012, 07:00 PM
Andrew that's an incredible rig!

Could you post a how-to or a parts list??

Total hats off to you for it!

imagineer
11-06-2012, 07:41 PM
The wall walker rig is a simple barndoor track. They can be found at most farm supply stores and even some hardware stores. The one in the picture (and video) is 18 feet long. There are mounting brackets that are sold specifically for the track.
14071 14072

I built the uprights out of doubled 2x4s they were 14 tall. I screwed them into the wall and then screwed them into the concrete floor. Lastly I ran supports running across the top, all on the backside of the wall.

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I will post more pictures in next post.

imagineer
11-06-2012, 07:55 PM
The harness used came from from the same company that made the flying rig for the broadway play Peter Pan. It holds a wire on either side (or both). A simple push of the pin and u are free or connected.

14077

I think the company was called Z rigs (or something similar). The wire used was black air craft cable. I built it all to hold 500 pounds just to be sure.
-Instead of using a barndoor, use a small metal rod about 12 inches long. Weld the two wheel brackes to this bar drill a hole through the bar or weld a metal ring to hold the cable.

The track is not too expensive. the don't look like they support much, but if you have a barn, you know those suckers can hold up a lot of weight. The wire is not a bad expense either. The harness put us back about $5,000. But it was worth it for safety.

Hope that helps.
If any other haunters are interested in the more advanced track rig and willing to make one, send me an email.

Andrew

Joe P
11-07-2012, 01:04 PM
please tell me you hit the 0 button too many times on the harness price

Marr Branch
11-07-2012, 06:21 PM
That is awesome!

freak 'n' stein
11-08-2012, 09:13 AM
please tell me you hit the 0 button too many times on the harness price

LMAO!!! I thought the SAME thing !!! :o

The Gate Keeper
11-08-2012, 12:06 PM
Try looking at zip lines suppliers. You can get the harness at a fraction of the price.

imagineer
11-08-2012, 12:55 PM
The harness we bought was expensive and I wish there was an accidental "0" added. We got the harness anyway. Better safe and all that...
I will say that from the same company, you can order a harness with only one hook-up instead of two. We never used the left side anyway. We figured on moving the illusion to a new location in the haunt so there might be a chance we needed it. Still, if you can find a harness cheep, get it.

Please remember to use caution with this. 2 years after I left the Hex House, there was supposed to be daily inspections and a replacement of the wire each season. Well, there was not and the wire snapped. The actor fell and was injured. So, use the right wire (ours held 400 pounds) and inspect it daily. Replace every season.

rshorts
11-08-2012, 02:28 PM
Hey guys, thought I'd chime in again here. Couple of VERY general rules about ANYTHING flying - at least in the theatre biz. If it falls and won't kill you, use a safety factor of 5x. If it falls and it can kill you, use a safety factor of 10x. In other words, a 30# curtain should be hung by something with a working load limit of at least 150#, and a piece of scenery, or a person should be rigged with something 10x. Like a 200# piece of scenery should be rigged with something with a working load limit of 2000#. You cannot be too safe when you are flying someone or something. And, every rigger I know will only use equipment marked and made in the USA. Some of the stuff from China is much less expensive, but they don't trust the real WLL's of it, since there is less oversight in the manufacturing and testing processes. I don't mean to be a pest, but in my business, this is one of the most dangerous aspects of what we do, so I thought I'd share some of what I know.

BTW - that barn door rig looks super cool!

Randy

Terrorknight
11-08-2012, 04:40 PM
Well by mid season I feel like throwing them off the roof and watching fly but I'm guessing thats not what you mean, lol

mrfoos
11-08-2012, 05:07 PM
I know I should keep my opinion to myself but personally I don't get the appeal. I saw them doing it a lot at one I went to and thought, "look, there's a dude swinging on a wire." At no time did it even remotely look like flying to me. Just a dude swinging on a wire. He could have been swinging on a kids' playground swing for more effect. To each his own scare I guess.

Allen H
11-08-2012, 05:16 PM
Here is who I get mt harnesses from now.
http://www.attackopgear.com/category/Rescue-Full-Body-Harnesses.html
I used to use the $50 ones from northern tool, but they are super unfomfortable.
shoot for 2000lb test on all your cables and hardware. A 200lb actor jumping into position can make 3Gs easy turning him into a 600lb weight.
If you can, consult a pro- if you cant then I wouldnt do it.
Allen H

Jim Warfield
11-08-2012, 10:19 PM
The location was a concrete basement with a high ceiling, concrete posts holding up the ceiling , all built around 1925?
We used a heavy, thick steel cable, pulley, a tree-trimmer's harness, a heavy bulky thing that was!
Nobody fell, we scared some people because it was totally unexpected for anyone to be flying. With a little practise at launching ones self you could fly straight enough long enough to make that effect, and it was dark enough to hide the massive-sized cable(s)
We walked groups through the Grave yard, our Vampire would fly up behind them but not over them as he "bombed" the graveyard, returning a bloody torso, since he was now done with it.
One young girl was scared, impressed and it was only years later she discovered the Vampire was her Brother, their Dad owned the building.
It was the Mt. Carroll JC's Haunted House, about 400 years ago, it seems like...

BigT
11-10-2012, 08:05 PM
The harness seems a bit pricey. $500 is more inline with that form of harness (I own two of this style). The company that rigs Peter Pan is Peter Foy, of Flying by Foy. He actually patented his system for that production and sells a complete rig for theaters doing Peter Pan.

Aircraft cable is what we use in theater for fly rigs because of its strength, and its black. Its the connections that will kill someone. Please make sure you have someone that really knows what they are doing when they attach the cables to the rig. Rigging is a science, and while it may seem like its simple there are a lot of things to consider.

All that being said, this is a cool looking rig and I wish I had the ceiling space for an effect like this one. Really cool guys.

john haines
11-10-2012, 10:01 PM
those guys come outta the trees in the total darkness and swoop down on the hayride. incredible !!!!! find out what those guys use.

imagineer
11-11-2012, 07:23 AM
These pictures are from Bob Shaw or Ravenwood haunt. I can't get in touch with him, I think he might not be doing Ravenwood any longer. He built this version of the wall walker based on my barndoor track. And like most everyone on here changed the harness too. We emailed back and forth a while with ideas and pics. The following pictures are the final results.
FYI, the rope was for testing only, and notice the rig could either be used for flying or walking on the wall. None of the pictures are photoshopped.

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14090

freak 'n' stein
11-12-2012, 08:20 AM
These pictures are from Bob Shaw or Ravenwood haunt. I can't get in touch with him, I think he might not be doing Ravenwood any longer. He built this version of the wall walker based on my barndoor track. And like most everyone on here changed the harness too. We emailed back and forth a while with ideas and pics. The following pictures are the final results.
FYI, the rope was for testing only, and notice the rig could either be used for flying or walking on the wall. None of the pictures are photoshopped.

14086


14087


14088


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14090

That's ridiculous!! How cool would this be after walking through a vortex tunnel and everything is nailed to the walls? Trippy.

Gore Galore
11-13-2012, 06:31 AM
I need to check with our supplier but we carry a heavy duty certified and licensed superman harness (Belly down harness) for flying overhead prone. and no where near $5000.
And we also sell the barn door tracks in 8' lengths so we can ship them UPS.
We setup a flying rig for House of Horrors. We also did 2 for "Scarywood" in Athol Idaho and we added Screamcubes to the harnesses. Both said the effect scared the crap out of customers.
We can provide custom lengths of cable.
The most important thing about a system like this is redundant safeties so even if the system fails the actor can't fall.
We have also seen problems with the tracks opening up but we discovered that the tracks were not being installed correctly.
SO, if you do something like this be sure and do it right.

wipp
11-13-2012, 09:18 AM
jim when u were young, flying actors were shot out of circus cannons

Farmer
11-13-2012, 10:05 PM
Hey guys, thought I'd chime in again here. Couple of VERY general rules about ANYTHING flying - at least in the theatre biz. If it falls and won't kill you, use a safety factor of 5x. If it falls and it can kill you, use a safety factor of 10x. In other words, a 30# curtain should be hung by something with a working load limit of at least 150#, and a piece of scenery, or a person should be rigged with something 10x. Like a 200# piece of scenery should be rigged with something with a working load limit of 2000#. You cannot be too safe when you are flying someone or something. And, every rigger I know will only use equipment marked and made in the USA. Some of the stuff from China is much less expensive, but they don't trust the real WLL's of it, since there is less oversight in the manufacturing and testing processes. I don't mean to be a pest, but in my business, this is one of the most dangerous aspects of what we do, so I thought I'd share some of what I know.

BTW - that barn door rig looks super cool!

Randy

DITTO.
I have theatre rigging experience too. Always consult pros before doing any rigging. There are several companies that host rigging and fall protection training classes from time to time, such as Tomcat. I'd recommend checking one out.
http://www.tomcatglobal.com/training.html
There are other companies that offer training, but the theme park I used to work for would send its theatre guys to tomcat.