DJ Smoke Machines
If you are running any sort of light show, and even if you aren't, a good smoke or fog unit can really transform that school hall or social club into something with a bit of atmosphere.
Mobile Dj’s have a lot of responsibility as the primary entertainer, with an expectation to provide good visuals just as much as the audio side of things, which is very difficult with the size of rooms and venue changing job to job.
The use of a good smoke or fog system is essential for creating an environment that's different from people's everyday experience. It immediately has an effect on the perception of a room's size, and evokes childlike playfulness along with memories of night club visits long since past.
For the Dj using any form of beam lighting effects, and especially if using a laser system, it is a requirement to have a decent quantity and density of atmospheric smoke in order for the lighting systems to be properly seen. Even in a darkened room, you cannot see beam effects as intended without some form of vapor in the air to interact with, and there are several ways to achieve this.
The standard smoke machine. The traditional and classic format of smoke distribution, it uses a simple pump and heating element to vaporise either water or oil based glycerin liquid into a dense plume. The more powerful the pump and heater system, the more volume the unit can produce. They start at 500 watt output for small venues, going up to 700 watt for the larger semi pro units, and 1200 watts for pro level units which can fill a hall easily, and feature timer controlled firing for night long hands free usage.
A newer take on these systems is the vertical firing fogger, which are designed to shoot dense plumes vertically from a floor position, often with huge force, and usually complemented with built in LED uplights to colour the effect as it fires. These are more of a show effect than room filler, and will often be used in conjunction with a separate smoke machine to create a show. They are extremely powerful, with some units featuring 2000 watt heaters which allow enormous output, with plumes up to 7m.
The other option for room filling atmospherics is the Haze machine. Working on the same heat exchanger technology as standard smoke machines, but using a different mix of liquid and slower dispersion outlet, they produce a much finer mist effect, which has longer hang time in the air. Slightly different heater components allow Hazers to constantly output, compared to the burst design of a traditional machine, so the effect will remain constant throughout the night. Haze fog doesn't have the density of classic smoke fluid, so is more acceptable in many situations as it won't hinder visibility as much, but is still dense enough to highlight your beam effects and other lighting.
It's not quite as dramatic as smoke, but sometimes that's exactly what's needed.
The final option is the ground fogger or ‘dry ice’ machine. Now technically a dry ice machine was an industrial film and theatre unit that used blocks of solid carbon dioxide that evaporated after being immersed in boiling water, however this is fairly impractical for public use and also fairly dangerous, so an alternative was created. The modern day low ground fog machines operate in a similar manner to the other consumer based smoke machines, using an electric pump and thermal heat exchanger which evaporates specially designed glycol based fluid into a thick fog. The difference being that this heated vapour is then fan blown across an internal storage tray holding ice cubes, which chills the fog as it exits the machine, causing it not to rise above ankle height. This gives the classic ‘pop star’ stage floor coverage, and will cascade off platforms down onto the floor like a waterfall. Ground foggers usually feature large 1200 or 1800 watt heaters to allow continuous running and fog production, and will cover large areas so are perfect for dance floors in halls and wedding venues