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  • Writer's pictureIan Bennett

Fog, Smoke & Mirrors, Why Fog Machines are Important & How Entertainers can Trick with Light

Updated: Oct 25, 2019

Fog Machines & The Problem

A Vertical Fog Machine bening used By Alt. Entertainments mobile DJ, Disco, Lighting & Events.
Alt. Entertainments demonstration of Vertical Fog Machine

I'll admit it this is a pet peeve of mine and I'll explain why further along but first let's talk about the problem. We're not allowed to use smoke or as I refer to it as of either fog or atmosphere at a great number of venues. Even if we can a lot of clients veto this citing respiratory conditions such as asthma for a reason not to use it.

Let's separate fact from fiction, there have been no studies (to my knowledge) suggesting fog can affect conditions like asthma. However that said no one is ruling it out either, certainly it will displace a percentage of the air (including the oxygen in the room). So all in all there are no recognized health risks to fog.

Venues have a very different reason not to use fog machines they trigger fire alarms. I used to think that if you didn't use a lot of fog affect the alarm wouldn't go off, I mean How did the UK Cope before 2007 (when the smoking ban came into play)? However let me tell you first hand they do! So even I'm resigned to leaving my fog machine at home. (See video below for more information on fog machines and fire alarms.)

So Why Do DJs and Entertainers want to use Fog?

Well if you're interested in the light shows DJ's and entertainers use fog effects to make them look incredible! I mean incredible. They create what is known as an ariel effect, and it's truly spectacular. Even the worst of light shows can look really impressive with some for fog or atmosphere. For example how many pictures of DJ's have you seen where you can't see the set up but you can see light beams and it looks really great, but before the house lights go down, you may have thought the presentation was poor. Well that’s the power of fog. This is because fog/atmosphere allows you to see a light beam with out fog you would just see a spot (or what ever the shape) at where the light is pointing.

The fact that venues don't allow fog irritates me for several reasons for one as some one who has to buy DJ lights and set-up DJ lights. They are all sold by showing you what they look like with fog. Take the video below as an example in it you will see a display for the American DJ 3 Sixty 2R these lights cost roughly £1800 each and they look very impressive, but notice 1 thing they do not show how they look without fog/atmosphere in the air would these lights look as impressive if you couldn't see the light beam?

So What Can We Do?

The truth is not a lot but be aware of light shows that are sold on the strength of fog/atmosphere, particularly laser shows as 99% of lasers are solely aerial affects. With this knowledge be aware not all light shows are created equally, my advise if a light show is to sway your decision on choosing a DJ/Entertainer over another see if you can see a light show without fog in their website as chances are your venue will not allow it.

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