Halloween is a time for ghosts, get-togethers and of course CANDY. If you want a unique treat for your Halloween party this year – might I suggest some blacklight candy:
This candy will sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of the old ultra-violent:
Ummmm… I mean… ultra-VIOLET.
One of the most frequently asked questions we receive at Rosco, especially around Halloween time, is what gel to use on theatrical fixtures to turn them into UV blacklights. Unfortunately, my brothers and sisters, the tungsten lamp in those theatrical lights does not have the Ultraviolet energy needed to excite the fluorescent and phosphorescent pigments you want to make glow.
Sure, I can suggest R383 Congo Blue combined with R375 Cerulean Blue that will effectively remove the visible and let the UV pass; but filters only remove wavelengths of light – they can’t put energy into the beam that doesn’t already exist. That’s why those cheap purple ‘blacklight bulbs’ sold at novelty shops around the country never work – there’s no UV in there!.
What you need is a source rich in UV to begin with – like fluorescent bulbs, metal-halide, CID and other arc sources or an LED flashlight like Becky used in her candy video above. Using gels on sources with high amounts of UV is problematic though because the extra ultra-violet will make the dyestuffs in the gels fade ultra-fast. However, installing Rosco’s new Permacolor #3660 UV Pass Filter in front of a UV-rich source will do the trick perfectly. The formulation of the filter necessitates us to coat both sides of the glass, so this filter is more expensive that the other colors in the Permacolor range – but its dichroic formulation will hold up for many hours inside your newly created blacklight.
In the above video, I placed a piece of the Permacolor #3660 UV Pass dichroic filter into our X24 Effects Projector, which has a UV-rich metal-halide source, and projected a ghostly blacklight effect onto some UV sensitive spider web material I bought at my local Halloween Superstore:
Blacklights are only effective when they shine onto materials that will fluoresce, or excite under UV light. Rosco manufactures a wide range of paints and tapes that will glow brightly when you hit them with blacklight.
UV effects are often associated with Halloween and nightclubs. But an imaginative designer found that blacklight solved his director’s dilemma while mounting a production of Eurydice by Sara Ruhl. The director wanted the stage floor to be a solid color for the ‘Overworld’ scenes and have an abstract water concept for the ‘Underworld’ scenes. Designer Gregg Buck used Rosco’s ClearColour to paint the abstract water design on top of the solid colored floor:
ClearColour goes on clear under normal light and appears as bright fluorescent colors under UV – so, in the ‘Overworld’ scenes, the stage lights are on and the blacklights are off, leaving the floor a solid color. The blacklights come on when we enter the ‘Underworld’ scenes and the floor transforms into the abstract water effect. To learn more about how Gregg Buck created this scenic element for the Department of Theatre and Dance at Sam Houston State University, click here.
Similarly, a church production of Phantom of the Opera needed a solution for their set design because they have no way to move larger set pieces off-stage. They had to look for creative options, like ClearColour UV effects, to take their audiences from the Paris Opera House into the Phantom’s Lair using the same set pieces:
Christian Youth Theater Group’s “Phantom of the Opera” set design before adding UV paint
If you’d like to learn more details about how Jim Kumorek used ClearColour to create his Phantom of the Opera set piece, check out this month’s Church Production Magazine.
Whether you’re adding a blacklight effect to your stage production or just making your pumpkins fluoresce at home – Happy Halloween from all of us at Rosco!