VaporFlame will be launching their VF6b, safe flame effect, at this year’s USITT conference. The company’s patented process uses compressed air and water to create a realistic fire effect that is a safe alternative to the dangers of pyrotechnics. The VF6b is built as an an accessory that fits into a standard 7.5 inch gel frame slot and creates a 3-5 foot flame effect. What’s really amazing though, is that the stage and area stay dry!
Company Founder and CEO Levi Kaplan says “ We have been looking to solve the problem of realistic fire on stage, which designers and technical directors regularly face.” A perennial problem in the theatre is how to create a realistic flame that is safe to be around. The choices have historically been a tired silk flame effect, or the hassle and cost of pyrotechnics. Given the shift in policies in many cities and theatre organizations away from flammable effects, VaporFlame is offering a welcome solution.
Recent research has shown that many theatre companies are unwilling to take on the risk or liability of flammable pyrotechnics, and many cities are banning their use outright. Listing cost and safety as the primary factors in their decisions, solving this problem usually falls to that “MacGyver” of the theatre, the Technical Director. Technical Directors, ever resourceful, have tried all manner of things to create the desired effect, with one TD getting several students to blow into a collection of hoses all joining under strips of gel. It didn’t work. Enter the scrappy young upstart company- VaporFlame.
VaporFlame was founded in 2015, and has been working on custom projects for the last few years. Having created flames as small as 18 inches and as large as 18 feet, the company is now entering the production market. “We looked at a range of sizes and delivery systems for the VaporFlame effect, but ultimately wanted to create something that we as technicians would want to use on gigs,” states Kaplan. VaporFlame has produced a version of its effect that fits into the 7.5 inch gel frame slot found on most LED pars and older 6 inch Lekos. With an adapter the VF6b can also be used on Lekos with 4 inch gel frames. The process, which Kaplan invented in his garage a few years ago, actually atomizes the air so that the stage, and other gear stay dry. Additionally, there are water and air adjustment valves on the unit to fine tune the amount of moisture in the effect. The company includes an adapter for its fixture so that the unit can be powered by a scene shop air compressor, and fed water from a garden hose or shop sink. The company also offers their VFE “engine” unit which features an air compressor, water pump, and water tank built into a sound insulated road case. The VFE runs 4 of the company’s VF6b units.
VaporFlame is located in San Diego CA, and offers realistic and safe flame effects for theatrical and entertainment professionals. They can be reached on the web at vaporflame.net or via Instagram as vapor_flame.