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Puff of smoke without pyro


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I need to generate an effect of exploding paint cans under the stage for a production of Hello Dolly.


A trap door in the stage will be open (representing a cellar). Actor goes down and while he's down there there are three "explosions".


The director just wants a small "mushroom cloud" type of sudden smoke burst to come out of the trap door with each explosion, a bit like you'd get with a flash pyro, but is very reluctant to use pyros as nobody will have sight of where the actor will be in relation to the pyro before firing.


I get the feeling I'm going to have to use a smoke machine to generate the effect, but don't really want the "stream" of smoke they usually generate, rather a short sharp "burst".


Any thoughts on devices which could maybe store a bit of smoke and release it all very quickly in a burst ? Something like flame cannons do with propane, but using smoke ?


Thanks in advance

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Would it be possible to use pyro, with the pyro operator monitoring the area via CCTV, since direct line of sight observation is not possible.


Provided that a good picture is obtained via CCTV, the procedure should be no less safe than direct sight.

CCTV cameras are now very affordable, and it should be possible to borrow a monitor/TV.

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lemaitre minimists used to be quite good for quick bursts of smoke - I saw one in a production of Brief Encounter years ago pretending to be a steam train - replicating the quick staccato bursts of steam that are emitted from the underneath of the engine quite effectively. easier and safer than pyros, and of course a repeatable effect, unlike the pyros where you would need three seperate charges. don't know if this "jet " effect can be attributed to it using an aerosol rather than having a reservoir and pump?


Until I saw one at PLASA last year, I thought these had long since been discontinued, but apparently not, they are still part of the le maitre range. they are quite a versatile bit of kit.

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How much space does the talent have in the cellar? It would be POSSIBLE to have pyro if there was sufficient space and distance in the cellar between the talent ad the pyro.


1/ the talent could actually fire the pyros


2/ the talent could hold a cue switch to tell the operator when he was in a safe place for the pyro to go


3/ the talent could stand on a pressure pad ( see alarm installers, maplin etc) to inficate that he was correctly placed.


4/ CCTV in the cellar


5/ telephone on the cellar wall away from the pyro - talent lifts phone say's "I'm clear"


Whether it's advisable to use pyro only the director can decide.

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