View Full Version : Motion sensors

01-31-2011, 03:10 PM
Hey guys, my name is Dennis and I'm new to this forum and wanted to say Hi. You guys rock!

I was looking for advice on which motin sensor works the best. Indoor and out. Did a little research on it but didn't really find if one is better then the other.

Also wanted to ask if anyone knows where I can get, or how to make, a harness for a actor to hang in that the actor can activate a release to drop him/her to the ground. It must also be easy for the actor to reconnect themself back up to it. Any input would be greatly apreciated. Thanks

Jim Warfield
01-31-2011, 04:55 PM
That motion detector switches are all pretty much the same now. They weren't at one time though.
I have maybe bought 90 of them in the last 25 yrs.
The very first one I bought is still working fine in the damp wine cellar, it was one of those bulky goose-necked looking things, heavy, aukward.
I have probably disguarded a few perfectly good ones because they often re-set themselves..eventually when I assumed they were done. This began happening when I would notice one not working but was too busy to replace it right away, next day it's "Cured!"
I have about 4 of them still needing to be manually re-set by me after a whole-house/town power outage and they are a pain and can waste electricity when located in out of sight out of mind locations.
Some have to be re-set by interupting the power with a series of on & offs, some re-set by pointing a bright light into their lense and one I have is manually switched with a small lever on it.
I have had success with even cheap ones put out on sale in bargain bins(but still brand new)
I would buy the most inexpensive ones and try them, they will probably work fine unless you are needing one with a huge pick-up pattern for long-range motion detecting.

02-02-2011, 08:11 AM
Thanks Jim. I'll go that route and see what I can get to work best.

02-02-2011, 10:28 AM
The harness for the wall-walking illusion:

When I designed the wall-walker, I had no idea how troubling it would be to get a harness. I found some rock climbing ones and contractors and builders harnesses. But I too needed the actor to be easily removed. Our actor needed to run along the wall and then back again. He couldn't turn around unless he disconnected the attachment on one side only to reattach the other. This sounded like a pain to us, until we found that our actor never needed to turn around. Once the people walked through, he followed them along the wall walking backwards.

The harness is called the seat harness and sells new for $600. It was built and sold by the same company that does shows on Broadway like Peter Pan. ZFX Flying Effects. If you buy from them ask for Katie Cooper and tell them Andrew deRuiter of Hex House sent you. Also, they are the same company that supplied us with the aircraft cable (black) we needed to hang the actor.

Notice in the picture of the harness that it only takes one hand to effortlessly disconnect. I have also posted a behind the scenes of the structure I built to hold up the actor. A link to the wall-walking illusion can be found on my profile. Hope this helps.





02-03-2011, 09:08 PM
Thanks for the info on the harness. That helps alot. Also a thanks for the reference. I will be checking them out asap.

I looked into rock climbing ones too but they weren't enough to do what I wanted the actor to do. So your actor is in the harness the whole night? If so, is there any comfort issues that he or she brings up when their done for the night?

Also, did the quick release come with the harness or was that a seperate purchase somewhere else?


Allen H
02-03-2011, 10:28 PM
I used the Harness from northern tool supply, the harness dosent do the releasing, there is a special clip you need for that. That wasnt my need so I dont have a source for that off hand, but I know they exist as thy build them into alot Mythbuster rigs.
The harness from Northern tool supply has a ring inbetween the shoulder blades to hook to, so thats why I think it will work for your hanging and why I used it for my bungee jump.
It does hurt the actors crotch, We padded ours with pool noodles and that helped. In your case you could add straps that go down the actors legs and around their feet and back up to the harness, putting the weight on their feet as opposed to their crotch.
I will dig for the quick release
Allen H

Allen H
02-03-2011, 10:32 PM
make sure you get one rated for 500+ pounds

02-04-2011, 07:46 AM
Our actor did need to remain in the harness all night. He didn't however remain suspended. I would assume these were made for flying actors around a set and that thankfully doesn't last very long. So, our actor (who was a teenager) just needed to hang for about 2 minutes at a time. The only discomfort he had was being attached to a "leash." Now, the harness did come fully ready to be used. It has the releases (exactly how they are pictured above), just adjust the belts and your ready to go (up to 500 pounds). Hope that helps.

02-14-2011, 07:21 PM
Thanks guys. Your info helped me out alot. I will check on the items, and ideas, you listed and get to work on this asap.