Smoke vs haze: difference and which one to use where?
Haze and smoke over the years have been used in events to maximize the effects of lighting and lighting beams. In the old days with fix lighting fixture the haze or smoke created a nice effect and was somewhat important to create the atmosphere and improve the light effect. In recent years where moving lights are used throughout most events, the effect created by the smoke or haze is so much more pronounced and outstanding and the moving light beam can be much more visible.
I won’t go into too much detail on how from the technical point of view the fog machine is different from a hazer machine and how it vaporizes the fluid with heats rather than use a compression chamber as the hazer does, but if you want more technical explanation check out this link from the great Wiki… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haze_machine
Hazer. These machines are quite common throughout the events and live productions / hire companies. There are entry-level units that normally are ok for small events / small rooms or small stages. Once you step up to bigger events you also would have the need to step up to professional, high output Haze machines. Sometimes we also use haze machines for big outdoor stages but we normally tend to use multiple units on the same stage as the wind is an enemy of haze.
Fog machine. These units have been around for a very long time and have been over the years cheaper and cheaper to buy, however, there are quite big differences between professional units and “ consumer” units. One major difference, in my opinion, is the warm-up time and the reheat time where the unit needs to go back to a certain temperature before it can pump out smoke again, which could cause issues when you have specific cues to follow in an event… can you imagine the main act coming out from backstage and you trying to pump out smoke and the machine is in re-heat mode!!!! That’s one way to annoy the client and piss off the performer and you know what I think about keeping the performers happy… you can check my previous article, follow this link http://staging4.rtrproductions.com.au/speakers-facing-band
Using professional smoke machines, means you overcome this problem as most of them don’t have gaps in re-heat which means continuous smoke distribution and happier clients. Other differences are, more smoke, faster outputs, DMX control not only remote, self-cleaning cycle when the unit is turned off and overall peace of mind that the unit works when you want it to!
On a quick note, I suggest you use water base fluids for both machines as in my opinion they are better for the environment, people and equipment than oil-based fluids.
This is Paul, looking for the light beam, with some smoke he would have found it straight away.
You can use a combination of each, the hazer to keep a continuous haze/mist of smoke over the stage or dance floor so the light beams look awesome and the smoke to accentuate some special situations like songs, part of songs, special light effects etc.
In short, I would say that I normally use Hazers to create atmosphere and smoke machines as a special effect….. And of course you can argue that you prefer dry ice special effect or the faze effect which is more cost-effective, but this is a discussion for next time… till then…. I see you later unless you just turned on your smoke machine at full blast and you can’t see past your nose…. Ciao
Photo of stage lights with smoke fx