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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

I have an idea for a floating candelabra that I think will look great in our haunt if I can pull it off. Which is why my first step is coming here and asking you all what you think the best approach might be. I am thinking of taking my little plastic candelabra and turning it into a crank ghost of sorts.

The actual candelabra is very light weight plastic. It came with "candles", but they're simply white plastic that's lit up from the base with a white, non-flickering light. It started out as a black candelabra, so maybe that would have been fine for some Goth display, but it's just not what I'm going for. I want flickering candles, so I'm using three that I picked up from the Dollar Tree with really large, outrageous flames. It should be just the thing for being seen easily from a distance.

candle01.jpg

I have a darkened doorway in one of the mausoleums we're building this year. There will be plenty of room for a reindeer motor and the requisite pieces of a mini-crank ghost set up hidden above the doorway. If I tie the two outside arms of the candelabra at the sconces they can act as the arms of a crank ghost. The middle sconce can be the head of the ghost. By tying it up that way, and running it on a traditional crank ghost set up, I'm hoping it will rock back and forth as well as move up and down. (The same way crank ghosts do.)

So for any of you who have created a crank ghost, do you think that idea will fly... or at least appear to be floating? Are their any designs that you think simplify the crank ghost mechanism? Some of them look downright confusing. Any help you want to offer would be greatly appreciated. I have a long history of taking the long way around to making props work, so I appreciate suggestions from those who have gone before.

If there's an easier and simpler way than the crank ghost approach, I'm good with that too. I just want the kids to see a lone candelabra floating in the depths of the mausoleum come Halloween night.

THANKS!
 

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Thanks, J-Man. I have watched both of those videos before and returned to them to see if they gave me any guidance, but they're both addressing a different presentation that doesn't quite work for what I'm hoping to acheive. Paul's great tutorial includes components of the display that are used to hide the mechanism. I won't have any props to work with, just a simple black background. In the case of D-minor's equally great approach, the floating lantern layout was created to compensate for the lack of the one thing I have -- a way to hang the prop motor above the prop.

I have also been looking at crank ghost setups, and I guess that's where I run into a bit of difficulty in that the videos seem to confuse me at times as to exactly what's doing what while all the bars and wires are moving. I think I'm going to have to start looking for written instructions. I tend to be a visual guy when it comes to my own designs, but sometimes video just doesn't tell me what I need to know to make the prop, and this might well be one of those props.
 

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As far as how an FCG mechanism works - I have a YouTube video about a very basic crypt I made one year for my FCG. If you skip past the crypt tutorial stuff, I start showing you how an FCG rig is supposed to operate at about the 15:10 mark. Its not a tutorial on how to make an FCG but it might give you a better idea on what you're trying to accomplish. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RL0lzMmkf3g
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Its not a tutorial on how to make an FCG but it might give you a better idea on what you're trying to accomplish. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RL0lzMmkf3g
I realize the more I use Halloween Forum, the more I owe a debt of gratitude to the members who post on multiple platforms. I've watched all your videos, JCO, including the explanation of the crank ghost while investigating what I wanted to do. It is, indeed, what I am hoping to accomplish. I just think I'm going to have to buy myself some aluminum bars, a motor, and all the rest and start experimenting. It's early. I have time. hahaha. I said that about our cauldron creep two years ago. Last year we finally got him up and working and out in the haunt. :)
 

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JCO has a great idea using 3. As for Paul's version, I think a totally black background would be easy to hide the mechanism without any additional props.
 

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I like JCO's idea of using 3 single candles in a FCG configuration rather than a single candelabra. However, an issue in either case is "how do you hide the string?" Even if you use a flat black paint on the string, if it is close to the light source you are going to see it. That is why the solution that Paul Kreutz used is so interesting as you could implement his method of a weighted counter-balance AND something like a FCG mechanism like this.

IMG_0304.jpg


You would have to paint all the counter-balance stuff a flat black paint so it not visible and you would have to do something like tie a string from the counter-balance weight tothe wall to keep it from rotating but that is trivial. I had to do that with my FCG ghost to keep her inline. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Is that the only candelabra you have? The reason I ask is, if you can get two more you could rig up all three of them on a single FCG mechanism and have them all floating up and down independently of each other - different heights, different distances from the viewer, etc.
I only have one candelabra, but I suppose I could do three separate candles. I realize that a standard FCG set up would be overkill for a single candelabra, but that's why I was hoping to figure out a way to basically shrink it to fit the size of the candelabra I'm using.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I like JCO's idea of using 3 single candles in a FCG configuration rather than a single candelabra. However, an issue in either case is "how do you hide the string?" Even if you use a flat black paint on the string, if it is close to the light source you are going to see it.


You would have to paint all the counter-balance stuff a flat black paint so it not visible and you would have to do something like tie a string from the counter-balance weight tothe wall to keep it from rotating but that is trivial. I had to do that with my FCG ghost to keep her inline. :)
By the time it is all said and done, I might go the way Paul suggested in his video. Hiding the string could be problematic, but that too is something I will just have to check out. I'm kind of hoping that the flicker LEDs won't put out enough light to make the string real issue. Folks will be seeing the mausoleum from about 15 feet away, so that too might affect just how much I have to hide things.

The number of crank ghosts that have multiple counterweights was one of the things that initially made me question the idea. I have to admit that I get frustrated trying to keep things balanced by counterweights. But I guess we all have to sacrifice in one way or another for our art. :D
 

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If you want it real simple. Use a fish caster reel with fishing line(you will not see it). Attach a reversible motor relay to it. Run that motor off a 9v battery(no wires, easy to mount). This will provide the up down movement. Create a small platform and mount a second motor to the center. Attach the 9v motor to the end of the platform so it gets good circular rotation. Then attach that platform motor to the ceiling.

You will need two voltage adjusters to slow down both movements since both voltages are different.
 

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If you are wanting to float the candelabra like an FCG, it will work, just I would recommend using a very slow motor (3 or 4 RPM) for a subtle floating movement.
And the crank for your motor will be very short, since the candelabra is not that wide.
I would just experiment by mounting your motor and pulleys on the bottom of a flat board. Then try a short crank length and use that as a reference to judge what changes you need from there.
In my mind, your idea would look pretty cool. Kind of like the floating candelabra in the Haunted Mansion at the end of the long hallway.
Good luck with it!
 

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I think the FCG is the perfect animation for your situation.

If all three strings are attached to the candelabra then it will not only move up and down, side to side but back and forward in the room as well.

Monofilament will make the strings all but invisible, and should carry the weight You could hang a separate filament from each pulley and hang the candles from them.

Could be quite the show!
 

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Folks will be seeing the mausoleum from about 15 feet away, so that too might affect just how much I have to hide things.
>
You mentioned that the candelabra very lightweight & people will be about 15ft away. Maybe a simple oscillating fan would work to blow it gently around after it’s attached w/fishing line.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I use black braided fishing line. It's extremely thin, extremely strong, yet pretty much completely dispersal in front of a black background. My lights don't even reflect off of it.
I am going to go out and get some of this. You're about the fourth source that swears by it. I suppose if it doesn't work out the way I hope I can give it to the gent who lives downstairs as he loves to go out fishing. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I think the FCG is the perfect animation for your situation.

If all three strings are attached to the candelabra then it will not only move up and down, side to side but back and forward in the room as well.

Monofilament will make the strings all but invisible, and should carry the weight You could hang a separate filament from each pulley and hang the candles from them.

Could be quite the show!
Thanks. I will keep everyone nice enough to help out here updated by posting the final product whatever it may look like. I begin working on it this week. :)
 
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