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Discussion Starter #1
Electric candles used by Disney & Universal that simulate real flame with moving part

Both Disney and Universal Theme Parks use a type of electric candle that have a lit moving part that fairly realistically simulates a real flame. I don't mean the cheap "flicker bulbs" you see in CVS, Walgreens, and the other Big Box stores--neat, but not the type of mechanism used in these theme parks. And I don't mean flickering LEDs. Quite literally, I mean ones that have a physical component inside that sways back and forth, simulating more realistically the dance of an actual flame. Don't mean the fan + light + silk effect either.

Not sure where I first saw them--Haunted Mansion perhaps. Semi-recently saw a *ton* of these in use at either the ride queues for Escape from Gringotts or Harry Potter the Forbidden Adventure (Hogwart's Castle ride). And perhaps elsewhere--maybe Nocturne (sp?) Alley in the Diagon Alley area of Universal Studios.

Seem to recall there was a thread a while back where someone pointed to a supplier for purchasing these. Thinking I'd like to have these in all windows for Christmas season. Can these be purchased anywhere online, or in a Big Box retail store, for a reasonable price?
 

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This may be what you're looking for. Look up "flickering flame" led wax candles. You can find them in gift shops. Quite a bit more expensive than the circuitry driven flickering bulbs, but pretty realistic looking.
 

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Funeral Crasher
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I know what you are talking about. A few years ago forum member HalloweenLady posted these candles available from QVC. I remember they were quite expensive, but I can't remember the actual price.
We were all wracking our brains trying to figure out how to create it ourselves.
I came up with this:

http://www.halloweenforum.com/halloween-props/106157-my-try-haunted-mansion-flameless-candle.html?highlight=haunted+mansion+candle

I even wrote up a tutorial for the Prop Builders Group on how to build one (using our favorite little motor from China):

http://www.halloweenforum.com/halloween-prop-building-group/126503-project-7-instructors-thread-1st-project-2013-a.html

I think you could make several of these very easily and save a ton of money by doing so. I always thought their candle had a better movement than my version, but I like the look of my flame better.
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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The line of candles you're thinking of is called Luminara. They aren't cheap but good quality fake candles. If you bought a couple a season you could have your house or haunt outfitted in a few years.

http://www.luminaracandles.com/
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Chris, Dave and Roger!

@Dave, I'll definitely be checking out your work soon. Since I'm very slowly gravitating toward the Build side of the Build vs. Buy scale. No guarantees, but I really feel I need to up my level of comfort with, and knowledge of, electronics to go further with effects. Although with Christmas approaching, I may purchase one first. Then build more later if I feel it's within my skill level--or at a project to help grow in that area. With guys in my office really into Raspberry Pi automation--evidently a second "new" RasPi was released within the last week--I can see taking things to a whole new level of show control, etc. And I'll need this sort of knowledge if I can get my Raleigh, NC-area annual Charity Haunted Attraction event established. Still working on finding a hosting org that can facilitate getting access to, and use of, a Show Building for the Haunt. There will be plenty of good, deserving charities who could be the beneficiary. But the hosting org has to come first--no Show Building, No Show. And if the hosting org has a preference of a charity or charities they'd like to support, if they are secular and non-partisan charities, then they'd get First Dibbs, or possibly exclusive choice, of which charity the Haunted Attraction fundraiser should benefit. Still in early stages of finding the hosting org.

If anyone in the Raleigh, NC area wants to participate in some way--or if you're anywhere in the world and have worked a pro or charity haunt, and could serve in an advisory role, please PM me your contact info, type of volunteer role you'd want to serve in, any specialty knowledge in this area (could be anything from Stagecraft to Security, etc).

@Roger, will check Luminara. Depending on price, this may be a great item to add to my Christmas List. My dear wife, who I don't deserve naturally--she's incredible--gets after me (in the rare moments when her strong reserve of wifely patience has run dry) to complete my Christmas List before Thanksgiving. Probably out of range for the $ level of gifts the adults in our family exchange with each other.

For now, I just found this video from my visit to Diagon Alley @ Universal Studios; specifically, this video of a candle I found in Knockturn Alley. Spent a lot of time lingering in that area, naturally, to see what effects I could sniff out. First the video, then below the video I'll post the Description I gave to the YT video:


YT Video Description:
"Realistic flame effect at Universal's Diagon Alley, Knockturn Alley. This may have been taken at one of the Interactive Window Displays--the one with the skeletal figures and the odd Projector Wheel / Steampunk looking gadget. If not, would have been in the large store within Knockturn Alley. There are some cool special effects within the store if you look closely, e.g. a motion activated claw hand, the sound of an animated trunk compartment, etc.

I've seen this realistic flickering light effect unit all over Universal Studio's Harry Potter based theme parks: both at Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, both of which comprise the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I believe these special effect flame lights became commercially available at least a year ago; perhaps two.

Disney may have some of these special effect flame lights deployed in Disney's Haunted Mansion or other attractions. Need to buy some of these for the Christmas Holiday season as well as for Home Haunting..."
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Please share any known great sales on Luminara candles that may come along

Thanks @Terra. I love the look of the Luminara tea candle array but not the price: ~$140. Really does look fantastic though.

All, if anyone finds a Black Friday or other good holiday deal on any of the Luminara candle products, please post here. It would be great to buy one or two difference varieties at a large discount, size 'em up, then see if I can or should follow in Dave's Footsteps to build my own.

A little hard to tell from Luminara's web site and other vendors selling Luminara candles--but it looks as if the moving part's surface--the simulated flame--isn't 100% illuminated; like the ones used in Knockturn Alley in the video I posted. Unless I'm misremembering (as I often do), the simulated candle flame moving part's surface is fully illuminated. Some of the photos I've seen of Luminara candles seem not to provide 100% illumination of the moving part--and so detracting from the realism.

Is that just an artifact of photography? Or are the Luminara candles available to consumers not quite the same as what I'm seeing in Theme Parks. It's important to me that the moving part's surface area be fully, not partially, illuminated. Or the effect is diminished, is it not? (perhaps not; dunno).
 

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Hauntless
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Those tea lights that I saw at the store - the plastic flame was fully illuminated but it is by reflection. It is lit by an LED light that is underneath it. The little plastic flame part is not a light. But, it looks like it is the thing that has the light in it. When the Luminara candle first came out in 2011 I got one. The technology and the color of the LED has improved since but it's still the basic design that I'm showing here in the video I took (back in 2011):

 

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The Luminara candles are quite realistic for sure, even up close. DaveintheGrave's design is pretty good for homemade but one big difference is the Luminara "flame" is not attached to the LED, so the "flame" is the only part that randomly moves. I think that's key to the realism of the effect.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Those tea lights that I saw at the store - the plastic flame was fully illuminated but it is by reflection. It is lit by an LED light that is underneath it. The little plastic flame part is not a light. But, it looks like it is the thing that has the light in it. When the Luminara candle first came out in 2011 I got one. The technology and the color of the LED has improved since but it's still the basic design that I'm showing here in the video I took (back in 2011):
Great video review Terra, thanks!
 

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My local hardware store has them--and one is burnt out--so be warned--too expensive for my budget for them to burn out so quickly
 

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Scared Silly
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Terra's looks like the flame is reflective. I saw some at the hardware store recently that had a white plastic part that was simply illuminated by the LED, rather than reflecting it. Not sure what to make of that, other than perhaps they figured out how to do it cheaper.
 

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The line of candles you're thinking of is called Luminara. They aren't cheap but good quality fake candles. If you bought a couple a season you could have your house or haunt outfitted in a few years.

http://www.luminaracandles.com/
I've used Luminaras for a couple of years now. I originally saw them at our local Garden and Decor store but they were pricey. I bought several at Homesense (Home Goods) for less than half the price of other shops. A couple of them are even scented. Like most items in Homesense, nothing is there all the time. You have to check in regularly and grab it when you see it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17


I've used Luminaras for a couple of years now. I originally saw them at our local Garden and Decor store but they were pricey. I bought several at Homesense (Home Goods) for less than half the price of other shops. A couple of them are even scented. Like most items in Homesense, nothing is there all the time. You have to check in regularly and grab it when you see it.
Thanks Poco and others. Will have to check out my local Home Goods / Home Sense. Any good strategy there with coupons?

In a Bed, Bath, and Beyond circular I just got in the mail, they're selling Luminara Pillar candles as follows:

* 5" model = $35
* 7" model = $40

With the ubiquitous 20% off coupons BBB doles out (I save them all and keep in glove compartment, that would knock the price per unit price down to $28 for the 5" and $32 for the 7". Anyone seen better deals than that? Tempted to drive to BBB during my lunch break today and get one. BBB probably has a good return policy too if I don't like it.

For anyone who didn't know, BBB, at least the two stores in my area, always accept the 20% coupons even if expired. Never been a problem. Or using one 20% off coupon per item you buy. So stock up your glove compartment. Or get on their mailing list. They send me 20% coupons at least monthly.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Do they have a timer?
Yes. The Luminara 5" Pillar model I bought says it has a "5 hour on / 19 hour off timer." I saw they also sold a small remote control for $10. Wonder if someone could reverse engineer the IR signals and use a pre-existing Universal Remote for this control. I didn't take a close look at the Remote Control--could just be on off vs. programming anything.

Picked up my Luminara yesterday from Bed, Bath, and Beyond ($27.99 after 20% of coupon on list price of $34.99). They had a 7" model for $39.99. Would have bought that one as well, but was out of 20% off coupons--those are in the glove compartment of my car, which is currently in the shop.

Haven't unboxed my Luminara yet, but they do take two D cell batteries each. Bought some of those too. Hopefully will get to test this weekend to see if I'm as pleased with the consumer model of the Luminara as I was with the model deployed in Diagon Alley / Knockturn Alley at Universal Studios.

Hope this helps.
 
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