Excitement Technologies helped the long-running Texas, an outdoor musical drama that has been dubbed the “official play of the state of Texas,” enhance its production with Look Solutions’ Viper fog generators for realistic, crowd-pleasing effects. The compact, powerful Viper features a simple operating system and DMX 512 control as standard.
Texas, produced by the non-profit Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation, depicts the settlers of the panhandle and their romance with the west. It has played during summers for 41 years to audiences at the Pioneer Amphitheater in Palo Duro Canyon, 25 minutes from Amarillo. One scene, depicting a big prairie fire, was portrayed by dancers snapping flame-like ribbons. “But audiences today want things bigger and better,” says Kelly Sticksel, CEO of Excitement Technologies, a science and entertainment company which custom designs special effects and high-tech elements for permanent installations, corporate attractions, and niche entertainment sites.
“The canyon is always very dry so using real flames is risky,” Sticksel continues. “We needed to employ some real flames but decided we could create the illusion of a huge fire by creating fog and illuminating that fog. Audiences see the small, real fire first, but they get the impression of a big conflagration from the illuminated fog in the air.”
He points out that the canyon wall behind the backdrop is 700 feet high. “We had to really fill the area or the effect would not work. The Viper is the only system we considered purchasing, the only fogger that would output the amount of fog we required.” Excitement Technologies engineered 90 feet of propane flame gas tubes enhanced with seven Viper foggers concealed in the bushes. “We flood the area with fog and use LED fixtures to create a fast-flicker effect in yellow and red,” Sticksel explains. “That gives the illusion of smoke rising from the fire. It’s pretty spectacular.”
He emphasizes that “the Vipers were integral to selling this effect: without them, it would fall flat. We’re very happy to have these foggers and plan on continuing to build our inventory for next year.”
The company has also deployed the Viper to create a free-floating fog projection surface. “We created a fog pendulum, a 30-foot heavily-counterweighted arm that swings back and forth and emits an amorphous screen of fog 60 feet wide and 30 feet tall,” Sticksel reports. “The Viper is the only machine I’ve found with the power to output enough long-lasting fog to make the application effective.”