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View Full Version : Best prop response I got this year



ravensmoon
12-10-2012, 03:09 PM
So this was our first year doing this professionally. I had an idea for something completely different from anything I had seen before (I live in the LA are and have been to Knott's, Universal and the QM several times in the last 30 years so I have seen a lot) and came up with something that freaked out those who have height phobia's. I designed a bottomless pit that you have to walk over. To make it worse I added a laser switch that turned on the effect just as you were taking your first step into space (I was also going to add about a 3" drop in elevation at the beginning edge as part of the effect but thought it might be too much for some to handle after testing it out on a few people)

While I was building it, I even had an "oh Sh*t" moment when I leaned over it the first time (yeah I'm one of those people who HATES heights) My stomach actually dropped.

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So it worked... It was the biggest response I got and many people even refused to walk across it. We had to end up stationing a live monster behind them to get people to walk across the damn thing... the whole time they were freaking out screaming. my security people would just stand there watching and laugh all night long.

I placed 2 of them in a row(with about 5 feet of "normal" walkway between them) and the on the second one I fabricated a way for a live monster to spring out underneath your feet while you were walking across, nothing like getting people a second time with the same effect!

So my question for the off season is whether or not anyone on here would want one built for their haunt? Obviously price is a factor in anything we do but I wanted to get an idea of what people thought and I could look into what it would cost to make one that is transportable for shipping/storage etc.

thanks for the input
Brandon

BrotherMysterio
12-10-2012, 03:56 PM
We did something like that this last October, and it worked out great! Definitely want to do more like that.

C.

tonguesandwich
12-10-2012, 07:10 PM
I think about 1 n 3 haunts I've been to have one. My fav was one that you had to crawl out a window and then you were on the ledge of a building looking down .. Which was a bottomless pit. People tried to slide on the ledge but eventually fell.

BrotherMysterio
12-10-2012, 09:11 PM
I think about 1 n 3 haunts I've been to have one. My fav was one that you had to crawl out a window and then you were on the ledge of a building looking down .. Which was a bottomless pit. People tried to slide on the ledge but eventually fell.

And where did you see this?

C.

captpete
12-10-2012, 10:07 PM
Did you use plexi glass for the top and actually walk on it? How do you keep it clean?
Thanks, Pete

BrotherMysterio
12-10-2012, 10:09 PM
Did you use plexi glass for the top and actually walk on it? How do you keep it clean?
Thanks, Pete

Probably not an issue in dim lighting.

C.

captpete
12-10-2012, 10:44 PM
I was going to build a grated bridge that you walk on over the bottomless pit. We are inside and outside haunt, so there is a lot of debris tracked through.
Probably not as big of a concern on an inside only. I was thinking the grating would allow a view through, and keep debris off the top mirror. You wouldn't need as strong of plexi either.

Pete

Jim Warfield
12-10-2012, 10:47 PM
I put thinner, cheaper plexiglass over the thicker stuff, thinking I would be cleaning the thinner stuff or replacing it if it got too scuffed up, but then I got too busy to even remember to check this. I spent years building mine and it only impressed maybe one of 30 who walked over it, not dynamic enough lighting, I guess? (But then my design was a little different) There are numerous "Shutters" hiding the pit which are manully controlled via a large lever as the lighting changes showing the pit.
I spent 20 minutes sewing up a monster arm/claw and it terrorized a great number of people regularly. You never "know?' 20 minutes versus three years. Maybe I will get a minor modification done on the pit and make it work better?
I know that even if this display works very good, that for what it is will still pale by comparison to what happens to the human sensations elsewhere within my house... in the Bad Dream bedroom.

ravensmoon
12-11-2012, 01:46 PM
Did you use plexi glass for the top and actually walk on it? How do you keep it clean?
Thanks, Pete

Yes I used 3/4 inch plexiglass as the floor.

dust and scratches were a huge concern I had at the beginning. There was a dark, pitch black in fact, hallway you were walking down when approaching it which adds anticipation to what might happen. We put indoor/outdoor carpeting on the floor (which we had to fire proof:confused:) but that cleaned most of the dust and crap off of their feet. We would then just use one of those large dust mops every night before we opened.

The change in light from pitch black to bright light in your face and the fact of where their eyes were focusing on (the bottom of the pit) really made it irrelevant how dirty it got. I was amazed at the end of the night how dusty it would look when all the lights were turned on, but you really didn't notice it when the effect was working. I was half expecting to have to polish the thing once a week to get scratches out from high heels, but it never presented any problems either.

ravensmoon
12-11-2012, 02:00 PM
I was going to build a grated bridge that you walk on over the bottomless pit. We are inside and outside haunt, so there is a lot of debris tracked through.
Probably not as big of a concern on an inside only. I was thinking the grating would allow a view through, and keep debris off the top mirror. You wouldn't need as strong of plexi either.

Pete

If I were you, I'd put it inside towards the middle or end of your inside portion, that way most of the tracked debris would have already fallen off. I used some carpeting on the floor leading up to it which also helped with the dust.

The problem with the grate is that you will still have the debris and dust fall through the grate anyways and be seen just as much as if they were standing on the plexy, but more importantly they will just be standing on the grate, and loose the "leap of faith moment" and adrenaline rush when they step off into open space. We originally had a monster stationed in the corner right behind them to just keep people going. This ended up turning to be a location that all the monsters fought over because it was such an easy scare. EVERYONE was so distracted that they had no idea someone was 12 inches from their face. So they got it whether they were afraid of heights and refusing to walk or just trying to figure out what the hell was going on and whether or not it was real. It was the best distraction effect by far.

scottylmt
12-11-2012, 03:45 PM
Raven I love it. How it the effect achieved tho? A slanted mirror underneath? Noob question lol

Thanks

captpete
12-11-2012, 05:36 PM
If I were you, I'd put it inside towards the middle or end of your inside portion, that way most of the tracked debris would have already fallen off. I used some carpeting on the floor leading up to it which also helped with the dust.

The problem with the grate is that you will still have the debris and dust fall through the grate anyways and be seen just as much as if they were standing on the plexy, but more importantly they will just be standing on the grate, and loose the "leap of faith moment" and adrenaline rush when they step off into open space. We originally had a monster stationed in the corner right behind them to just keep people going. This ended up turning to be a location that all the monsters fought over because it was such an easy scare. EVERYONE was so distracted that they had no idea someone was 12 inches from their face. So they got it whether they were afraid of heights and refusing to walk or just trying to figure out what the hell was going on and whether or not it was real. It was the best distraction effect by far.

Good info. I agree the bridge would be a bit un scary. I was thinking of the high cost of 3/4" plexi with that design in mind, but if it takes away from the effect I would not opt for that.

Thanks, Pete

captpete
12-11-2012, 05:44 PM
Raven I love it. How it the effect achieved tho? A slanted mirror underneath? Noob question lol

Thanks

It is the classic " infinity mirror illusion" AKA bottomless pit. A box with a mirror on the bottom, and a two way mirror on the top.
When the light in the box is brighter than the outside light, the items in the box reflect between the two mirrors giving a infinity effect.
I did one as an escape hatch:
http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a388/captpete1/Halloween%202012/DSC02730.jpg
http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a388/captpete1/Halloween%202012/DSC02752.jpg
http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a388/captpete1/Halloween%202012/DSC02743.jpg

Jim Warfield
12-11-2012, 06:15 PM
Relatively thin plexiglass, so I bought a lot of it, stacked it up, fastened it together. The side span is as small as I could make it and still have people fit through it, everyone has fit so far, we have a walk-around passage if needed.
The straight ahead distance is maybe close to 8 feet with steel supports ever so often, these are what the moving shutters attach to. All the shutters move in unison as the control lever is moved as if they are being dumped to an area below. That space is only about 3 feet down but the red light alternating with the green light makes it hard to tell how deep it is. I was originally going to have a body, living or not under there but it probably works better without one.
They enter this passageway and are inside a real brick tunnel with a curved ceiling, the bricks curve sideways making a 90 degree entrance, then flair out at the other end for the exit. All the bricks are actually really old bricks from the 1850's and this fact is not hidden nor lost on most people and this part of it did take most of the three years I was building it. (I could not work on it full-time being open every night of the year.)
It all needs some "Tweaking" ... yet.

Jim Warfield
12-11-2012, 06:34 PM
The best response I got this year was probably from a small piece of everyday junk that thousands of us throw away everyday that I got people to flinch, scream, jump, even run across the room to get away from me once I began talking about what it was.
The real truth showing how good this routine was , was when ten people are all watching the others react, then they also,inturn scream or jump too! And all the lights are "on" , big and bright the whole time too!
Everyone left that room laughing at one another, mostly.
The fact of what I told them is true, then my own acting (or was it "Salesmanship") took it from there.
Most of my acting proceeds at a normal, everyday pace, which helps "sell" it better, in my opinion. Maybe because they then can't really tell if I am acting or not or just a crazed-looney SOB!? (Which is a good "card" to be holding sometimes because it sure ain't The Old Maid!

ravensmoon
12-12-2012, 09:14 AM
Good info. I agree the bridge would be a bit un scary. I was thinking of the high cost of 3/4" plexi with that design in mind, but if it takes away from the effect I would not opt for that.

Thanks, Pete

The plexi is expensive, but ay least its fireproof LOL

zombietoxin
12-12-2012, 09:35 AM
Awesome distraction scare for sure.

FYI- there are two common types of plastic sheeting-

Acrylic- commonly known as plexiglass- is approximately 10X stronger than glass, but is relatively brittle and drilling holes in 1/4" or less thick sheets will likely result in cracking the sheet. Cutting to size is also a cracking issue on thinner sheets and It scratches easier. It's the cheaper of the two.

Polycarbonate- commonly known as Lexan- is approximately 250X stronger than glass and WILL NOT CRACK when drilling and I cut mine with jigsaws, sawzalls, table saws and even tin snips without concern about cracks or breaking. It also is a little more resistant to scratching and buffs a little easier. It's more expensive.

Unfortunately I've never seen polycarbonate sheets at any DIY stores- just acrylic.

I've never done a walk-over with either of these plastics so I can't say which is actually better for the purpose, but I can say that I avoid acrylic when polycarbonate is available.

Moxley Manor
12-12-2012, 10:13 AM
Very cool! Awesome job!


It is the classic " infinity mirror illusion" AKA bottomless pit. A box with a mirror on the bottom, and a two way mirror on the top.
When the light in the box is brighter than the outside light, the items in the box reflect between the two mirrors giving a infinity effect.
I did one as an escape hatch:
http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a388/captpete1/Halloween%202012/DSC02730.jpg
http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a388/captpete1/Halloween%202012/DSC02752.jpg
http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a388/captpete1/Halloween%202012/DSC02743.jpg

ravensmoon
12-12-2012, 02:29 PM
Awesome distraction scare for sure.

FYI- there are two common types of plastic sheeting-

Acrylic- commonly known as plexiglass- is approximately 10X stronger than glass, but is relatively brittle and drilling holes in 1/4" or less thick sheets will likely result in cracking the sheet. Cutting to size is also a cracking issue on thinner sheets and It scratches easier. It's the cheaper of the two.

Polycarbonate- commonly known as Lexan- is approximately 250X stronger than glass and WILL NOT CRACK when drilling and I cut mine with jigsaws, sawzalls, table saws and even tin snips without concern about cracks or breaking. It also is a little more resistant to scratching and buffs a little easier. It's more expensive.

Unfortunately I've never seen polycarbonate sheets at any DIY stores- just acrylic.

I've never done a walk-over with either of these plastics so I can't say which is actually better for the purpose, but I can say that I avoid acrylic when polycarbonate is available.

Yes Poly is WAY stronger, doesn't crack, and mills much easier, but it actually scratches WAY more than the Acrylic and it also bows a lot when laid flat (which is one of the reasons it is so strong)... Unfortunately when I did this effect a few years ago I went with the polycarbonate for strength and it scratched very easily. this year I researched to find something that wouldn't scratch or bow (basically went to a large plastic manufacture in the area where I bought the stuff and told them what I was doing) and the scratch resistant Poly was 3x the price of normal poly. So I just got a 3/4" acrylic which was about 1/3 the price of normal poly, and was plenty strong enough for what I was doing. It held up much better and the scratches were pretty much unnoticeable.

Jim Warfield
12-12-2012, 02:31 PM
Cutting all sorts of plexiglass using a very thin circular wheel, .045", made for cutting steel , in my 4 1/2 inch electric grinder.
The blade is made by DeWalt and sells for maybe $2.20 each and one blade will cut a lot of plexi. (Or steel)
When I drill plexiglass I hold the drill back, allowing only a very slight pressure toward the plexiglas.
Make sure and drill the hole larger than the bolt you are going to put through it and use a large washer to distribute the pull, and don't go crazy over-tightening it. Use more holes and bolts than you need too to spread out the destructive cracking forces more evenly across the plexiglass. Maybe seek out some washers that come with a rubber washer attached to them.
That .045 DeWalt wheel changes my whole outlook when it comes to working steel, a Very Good Product.

zombietoxin
12-12-2012, 04:03 PM
Yes Poly is WAY stronger, doesn't crack, and mills much easier, but it actually scratches WAY more than the Acrylic and it also bows a lot when laid flat (which is one of the reasons it is so strong)... Unfortunately when I did this effect a few years ago I went with the polycarbonate for strength and it scratched very easily. this year I researched to find something that wouldn't scratch or bow (basically went to a large plastic manufacture in the area where I bought the stuff and told them what I was doing) and the scratch resistant Poly was 3x the price of normal poly. So I just got a 3/4" acrylic which was about 1/3 the price of normal poly, and was plenty strong enough for what I was doing. It held up much better and the scratches were pretty much unnoticeable.

Awesome- someone else did the guinea pig thing for us! Your info is good to know!

I'm wondering if when you spoke to the manufacturer- did the question of information about load rating come up? For instance- 3/4" plexi is good for your application but at what weight and how much longer could it be made and still support the same weight proportionately?

Steel beam load calculators are easy to find, but I doubt such a thing exists for plexi. Short of hiring an engineer to figure it out I'm not sure you could conjure the answer without expensive trial and error...

Thanks again for the info!

ravensmoon
12-12-2012, 06:01 PM
Awesome- someone else did the guinea pig thing for us! Your info is good to know!

I'm wondering if when you spoke to the manufacturer- did the question of information about load rating come up? For instance- 3/4" plexi is good for your application but at what weight and how much longer could it be made and still support the same weight proportionately?

Steel beam load calculators are easy to find, but I doubt such a thing exists for plexi. Short of hiring an engineer to figure it out I'm not sure you could conjure the answer without expensive trial and error...

Thanks again for the info!

No specifics but it was a 4' x 4' span and at most you could only have 1000 pounds on it at one time (6 people+-) that being said most custom aquariums are made from acrylic and that is only 1 foot of water over the 16 sq ft. so I don't think it even begins to come close to its breaking weight.

spookjj
12-12-2012, 10:19 PM
you could use thin layer of plexi over lexan... if wanting to prevent scratching lexan, not sure how this would work/look overall ...just wanted to throw it out there

BigT
12-20-2012, 01:03 PM
There is a way to calculate the load rating of Lexan. Ready?

The tensile strength is 9860psi while the tensile strength at yield is 899. Elongation at break is 130 percent, while at yield is it is 7 percent. The flex yield strength is 13900psi. Its falling dart impact is 125 feet per pound and notched Izod impact is 15 feet per pound.

Or you can ask an engineer ;-)

Found this info by the way on e-How. By the way, I buy Lexan at Lowes Hardware, although I don't remember if they had really big sheets. I use them for ticket windows, etc. I also use plexiglass for some applications. When mounting, they make a special washer with rubber that goes into the hole and around the hole (like a grommet almost). I get those at Ace Hardware. Keeps the stuff from cracking when I screw them down.