Friday, January 9, 2015

Perfect Storm Lightning Simulator

Every year, the day after Halloween, I try to hit the local Halloween super store looking for half-off deals. While the costumes and props always interest me, what I end up walking away with is a steal on some kind of practical effects device. Last year is was a fog machine with timer and this year it was Perfect Storm.

When I first came across this device I didn't even know what I was looking at. A simple box with only one knob and a switch, it is pretty underwhelming. Upon second look, it seemed to be a way to create realistic looking lighting effects on set. The crummy way of doing this effect is to plug lights in to the wall or a switch and just turn them on or off, which looks terrible.

Perfect Storm will make up to 1000w of  lights flash and strobe, just light real lightning. It has built-in microphone that you are supposed to park in front of a speaker playing thunder (CD included) and give you that random flashing just like Mother Nature. Fortunately, you can also trigger the lights by blowing on the mic or rubbing it with your finger, making it perfect for on-set cues.

This box will set you back $40-50 online, but in a couple of weeks I'm going to show you how to make your own lightning box for around $20. It won't handle as much wattage (the max is 200w), but with LED bulbs becoming more affordable, that shouldn't stop you from getting lots of realistic looking lightning for an affordable price.

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