How much use of strobe lights in your haunt is too much for actors and customers? Could customers tolerate 20 minutes of continual darkness to strobe light back and forth?
Themes and epileptics aside: What do you think?
Last edited by mrfoos; 05-01-2012 at 12:03 PM.
The question is really how much do you think is too much before it is a detriment to the customers experience.
I wasn't really designing an all strobe haunt... but there's a lot of scenes with strobes. Over half of a 20 minute attraction. I've tested myself walking through that much and it's disorienting but I can handle it... but again, I love strobe lights! I'm wondering what the average customer can handle.
Last edited by mrfoos; 04-30-2012 at 10:08 PM.
More often than not, when strobes are used, they usually accomplish a certain effect. So, the question is, what kind of room do you want to use it in? Or what rooms (plural), if you plan to have nothing but darkness and strobes.
One of the most masterful uses of various strobe effects that I've seen was in JB's Castle Dragon. In every case, the strobe accomplished a very specific effect integral to that room's design.
The first strobed room, skull cavern, used no less than 12 strobes. They all pulsed at approx. one pulse a second, all out of sync with each other, which made all the stalactites and stalagmites seem to bounce around and come alive, which made for a very surreal experience. There weren't any scares in that room, and there didn't need to be. It was more than enough just to have to navigate that passage. JB had a pop-up near the end on occasion, but it wasn't always necessary.
The next strobed room used the strobe to punctuate a great scare to illuminate an actor popping out from a totally unexpected location. The effect was so strong that the room routinely suffered damage from teenagers collapsing to the floor or flying into the walls. In one case, four teens collapsed to the floor and broke the wooden joists under the room. One broke completely thru, and the next one 75% the way thru.
The third one had one strobe pointing down the hallway, straight into the eyes of the patrons, where they got another nasty surprise. In that particular case, the strobe was used to directly disorient to set up the scare.
The last one used a strobe to illuminate a cool spiderweb effect that the patrons had to crawl thru.
Out of a 4000 sq ft haunt, there were only four uses of strobes, but used to maximum effect. I'm not exactly sure what you were do in that same 4000 sq ft haunt using nothing but darkness and strobes.
BrotherMysterio, you're getting all theme-specific on me. Please stop.
I just wanna know experiences people have had with lots of strobe lights and whether not the customers complained.
We had to turn ours off the first year because so many of our volunteer actors complained. All ages said they felt ill when they were around the strobe too long. We haven't brought it back. We want our volunteers happy for the 6 hours we have them each night.
Basically, people who are epileptic, given to seizures, or otherwise sensitive to such things, usually avoid settings or venues where they may encounter strobe lights. That means haunted attractions, discotheques, and concert venues that heavily use strobe effects. That's why I asked about posted warning signs. Usually these people know who they are, and act accordingly. Those who do not have issues with strobe effects don't have an issue going to these venues.
I can tell you from personal experience that steady exposure to strobe effects has little to any effect on those who are not sensitive to their use, such as being epileptic. When I worked in Castle Dragon, I worked in and around all of those settings I outlined, and didn't experience any negative effects, nor did any of the other crew, and from what I recall, none of the customers had any issue with their use. Some customers mentioned feeling nauseous after going thru skull cavern, but then that was designed to totally disorient customers with 12 different strobes blinking out of sync from each other in an all white setting. Apart from that, there were no indications that the strobes had any negative effects.
Unless, of course, someone was specifically sensitive to it, but as far as I know, no one had had any seizures.
I even worked a haunt last year where I was doing a statue scare and there was a strobe pointed right at me. Instead of avoiding it, I stared into it and used it as a way to go into a trance of sorts and zone out, allowing me to become more relaxed and still, so that patrons wouldn't notice any micro-movement and realize I wasn't a statue. It worked like a charm.
But, again, I'm not sure what you would be doing with 20 minutes of pure darkness punctuated by a few strobe lights. Even if you wanted to, you couldn't pull that off if you tried, because if you did that - not giving your patrons any stable light-source at all - they would all immediately pull out their cell phones and light the way.
Last edited by BrotherMysterio; 05-01-2012 at 03:41 AM.
I too am considering mostly strobes for lighting. I can't speak directly for the op, butt this may help...
Going down a long hallway, with a couple slow strobes to build suspense.
The actor triggers a strobe that lights them up real good for greater scare effect.
Strobes and fog in a room with monsters to disorient and scare.
Faster strobes just AFTER a scare to help create a sense of urgency to get away.
That's a few I have thought of on mine, all in one show. I hope this helps in some way..
One of the key elements to effective Haunt lighting is that you manage the use of light in order to manipulate your patron's perception of light, going from dark to light to dark again. As your patrons' eyes adjust from the constantly varying light levels, they can't see what comes at them while their eyes readjust. Likewise, hitting them with a strobe in near darkness will also confuse their eyes and disorient them for several seconds afterward.
You can even stand right in front of them and be totally invisible to them as a light source shines directly into their eyes. Just step in front of the light source, and you appear from nowhere, which will scare the wits out of them.
Next key element, especially nowadays, is that you must always give them a light source. It doesn't have to be bright, and it can be very slight, but if you plunge your patrons into total darkness, your patrons will whip out their cell phones an provide their own light. Allen talks a lot about this dynamic in his book.
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