Sunday, June 9, 2013

Torches, my how-to research for your viewing pleasure

I've actually done torches before (see "The Word" trailer), it was exhilerating! Well, afterwards, during it was seriously terrifying lighting a whole scene on a windy hill top with 2 small fire extinguishers and some buckets of sand and water to prevent any spread of flamey death. So this time around, I'm doing my safety research and figuring out the best ways to build torches that won't drip jets of flame down their sides.

Also, minimum, 5 full size extinguishers on set at all times. Just in case... Enough worrying. Let's talk fire!

This was the best how-to I found while hunting around the interwebs:

I've taken some of my research finds and mashed 'em together into this tutorial:

Step 1: Gather your materials.

  1. tiki fluid, or if you want to go full medieval, pig or beef fat
  2. 100% cotton cloth- because things made of of plastic not only drip and stay in a burning blob on whatever it drips on, but also release all of those delectable chemicals into your eagerly waiting lungs.
  3. hammer
  4. staple gun
  5. staples
  6. chicken wire or baling wire
  7. a sturdy stick or stick substitute
  8. something to soak the torch end in, half a can, a metal pail, etc.

Step 2: take that stick and staple fabric onto it.
Step 3: wrap the fabric around tightly and staple it again on the ending edge to secure it.
Step 4: To keep chunks of burning from falling off the torch, wrap baling wire or chicken wire around the cloth.

Step 5: Soak the fabric in tiki fluid
Step 6: let the extra accelerant drip off.
Step 7: Light it up!
"The Word" feature film 2013

Other thoughts for safe(er) torches are:

  • Buy the fire breather type torches and texture them to look like a stick.
  • Or, buy the fire-breather wicks and then take a small section of a metal rod and hide it in the top of whatever prop styled solution I want. 2x4, stick, goat leg, etc. Then I can light and replace the wicks a lot easier.

As for the safety aspect- can I just have a firefighter hang out on set? That'd be awesome.

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