Pro-Light-News Studio & Theatre

The White Light Snow Machine

The White Light Snow Machine is a new take on the traditional theatrical falling snow effect, designed to meet the requirements of the most demanding theatrical environments and to integrate into modern DMX-controlled lighting systems. The White Light Snow Machine was originally developed for the smash-hit musical Billy Elliot, where the show's creative team wanted to create a falling snow effect over the forestage, downstage of the proscenium arch. For a snow machine to be successful in this area it had to be compact, reliable and low-noise. The Snow Machine met these design briefs so successfully that Paul Arditti, Billy Elliot's sound designer, subsequently suggested it to the Royal Shakespeare Company when they need a low-noise snow effect.
! A drum-type snow machine using the same paper or plastic snow material as the established Pacman range, the White Light Snow Machine offers the advantages of DMX control and more versatile rigging, complementing the falling snow effects that can be created with White Light's VSFX Optical Effect System.
The White Light Snow Machine is 1200mm long, making the unit easy to handle on the ground while allowing a wide range of snow fall widths to be achieved. It hangs from a central hook clamp. This allows units to be rigged end to end along a bar to create a traditional snow drop, or rotated where a greater depth of falling snow is required.
The White Light Snow Machine uses an external power supply. This receives non-dim power and DMX in/thru and has a DMX address set using rotary switches. It then feeds the snow machines using 4-pin XLR cables which connect from the PSU to the first snow machine then loop through to subsequent snow machines before, ideally, returning to the PSU to complete the loop, as with many popular scrollers. Snow fall is then controlled by DMX from the lighting console, the speed governing the amount of snow fall from stopped (no snow falling) to full speed (blizzard-like snowfall!), with all machines on the same power supply running at the same speed.
The White Light Snow Machine was designed to generate the least possible noise, particularly when running at low speeds, so allowing it to be used on quiet shows and in positions where noise has traditionally ruled out the use of snow effects.
A range of fire-proof paper and plastic snow materials are available and suitable for use with the White Light Snow Machine, giving slightly different visual effects for different applications. If the snow falls onto a clean surface then it can be swept up and re-used at subsequent performances, reducing running costs.
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