Looking to add a little “atmosphere” to your event? Perhaps some smoke, haze, or fog? Smoke machines and hazers are popular for large-scale events because you can create a cool look that permeates your room or generates special lighting effects.
Here are some ways these machines can enhance your event.
Know the Difference
First of all, although you may hear the terms “smoke machine” and “fog machine” or even “hazer” used interchangeably, there is a distinct technical difference between each of them. Haze, in particular, falls into a category all its own. But it doesn’t have to be confusing — as long as you understand the basics, your AV pros can advise about the details.
Create a Smoke-Filled Room
Smoke is an effect that starts out thick and white, then gradually rises and dissipates. Smoke machines use a special fluid that is heated to produce the initial smoke, which rises because it’s warm. This is your best choice when you want that smoke-filled room effect for parties, spooky atmospheres, concerts, or other types of shows. You can add a fan to gently move the smoke around, creating a “misty” feeling.
Make Fog Float Atop the Floor
Fog is also thick and whitish, but it drifts around close to the floor or ground. Fog is a good choice for times when you want a smoky effect but want to see across the room. For example, for wedding receptions, shows, concerts, and Halloween or other themed parties. Fog machines use either dry ice or liquid CO2 to produce this low-lying effect. Note: your effect will last much longer if you use the cryogenic (CO2) process.
Enhance Lighting with Haze
Haze is designed to create specific lighting effects, not a general atmosphere. Hazers use either oil-based or water-based fluid to produce tiny particles that essentially hover in the air. Because the particles are translucent, beams of light can shine through them, making the beams visible to your audience if the light is shining toward them.
Factors to Consider
Smoke, fog, and haze machines will not affect your venue’s ventilation systems, but smoke can cause issues with the smoke detection system. Smoke detectors are designed to sense particulates in the air, and that includes dry or moist stage smoke particles. That doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot have that smoky, foggy atmosphere you want. But it does mean you’ll have to do a little more detective work.
Ask the Professionals
If you're not sure what look best suits your event, ask a professional. They can help you decide whether a smoky, foggy, or hazy approach is best to enhance your audience’s experience.