Archive for June, 2012

Hazers

Posted: June 19, 2012 in Atmospheric, Product Recomendations

Pick a hazer, any hazer!!!

I have been asked a lot lately about hazers. Tons of questions about the different types of hazers, decibel levels, size, and cost. Well here you go. This post will explain the difference between the different types of hazers as well as give you my recommendations on whats best for you. We actually tested all of these units at our venue over the past two years all except for the F3 Fazer. We did test the F3 Fazer at the Elation’s Road Show at the Ballpark at Arlington this year. The first thing you must understand about atmospheric equipment before you purchase them is the differences between them. Atmospheric machines basically come in three different groups. Haze, fog, and low-lying fog. Haze is a long-lasting with low dispersion time. Fog is a smoke type effect that is good for large volume but needs to dissipate quickly. Last is low-lying which is just that, fog that stays on the ground. Now since were dealing with hazers today let’s look at the two different types that they make.

There’s two main types of hazers. There’s compressor based and heated. Compressor based models will be able to start-up with no warm up times where the heated models will have a heating cycle prior to use. Most heated units will be water based while most compressor units will be oil based. Now that doesn’t mean that a compressor based hazer can’t use water based fluid. You’ll have to look at your owner’s manual to know for sure whether your machine can run water based materials. On the other hand though most heated models are water based. Water based models will use a Glycol based fluid that is heated to produce smoke. The water based units will create a much drier haze but doesn’t last as long as the oil based machines. Oil based hazers use a food grade mineral oil to produce the haze. Oil based haze will generally end up hanging almost twice as long as water based. The downfalls to oil based hazers is you do get a residue from the haze. Now a lot of the companies that we will look at today have formulated fluid that will truly not leave a lot of residue so truthfully I really don’t think this should ever be a factor in buying a hazer. First let’s compare the non heated units, two of which are from Antari.

DF 50

First up is the DF 50. WOW what output. The DF 50 has been the stable for the entertainment industry for years. This machine is a compressor based machine that uses a mineral oil based fluid to create haze. Now the tank size on this machine is about 1.5 quarts which gives you about 32 hours of continuous run time. Total amperage used is about 5 amps. Talk about a rock and roll fiend. I have for years toured with this unit and there are several reason why. Long hang time and the thing can take a beating.  Plus in a 50,000 Sq Ft theater I can haze the entire space in about 10 minutes. Now with that said there are draw backs to this unit. It is extremely loud. There have been several shows that I have done where the DF 50 was just too loud to use it. Not a good unit for television, just too loud but all in all it’s a great unit for concerts. This unit will run you about $2,300 new but will reliable and will outlast most of your gear. The fluid tends to run you about $50 to $80 dollars a gallon.

Antari HZ 500

Next up is the Antari HZ 500.  It has a 2.5 liter tank and can run continuously for 20 hours. The HZ 500 will run Antari oil based fluid and Antari Water Based fluid. The haze output is around 2,800 CU FT per min. The HZ 500 uses about 4.5 amps and has switchable power input. Finally it does have DMX control capability so you can have total control of your equipment.  I was excited about this unit. First off I’m a sucker for anything that comes with its own flight case. Flight Cases are cool!!! This turns out to be the unit that I bought for Davis Lighting simply because it uses both oil based and water based fluids. I’ve used it on several shows and love it for theater due to its quietness. When I say quiet I mean almost silent. I have actually been able to use this product during a television broadcast running constantly and never being heard.  When we fired it up in our venue, once again we are 50,000 SQ FT with 1,700 seats in our main bowl, it took it a little over a half an hour to fill the venue with a complete layer of haze. Now that was with oil based haze. With water based haze it took a little longer and looked a little more like smoke with splotchy results but it did work in the venue. I know that in the specs above it states that it will run for 20 hours continuously. Listen I filled my machine up to the proper level, it has a window on the front so you can see your fluid level, and that puppy ran for almost two days continuously which amazed me. I called the Elation tech guy to ask about replacement parts one day for curiosity sake. His answer, which I loved, was listen if it stops working it’s time to buy a new one. The parts should last regular touring for years. That endorsement mean a ton to me. I toured for years and know how much stuff gets beat up on the road. It is truly the perfect hazer for theater’s that are looking for something that can be controlled via DMX plus be silent. This hazer was also listed on the approved list from Actors Equity which was a driving factor in my purchase. Like I said less output than the DF 50 but worth it for the silence.  I paid a little over $1,600 for my unit and I usually pay $80 for 5 liters which is almost a gallon.

Antari HZ 350

This is the little brother to the HZ 500.It has wireless control, a 2.5 liter tank, runs on 120VAC at about 4 amps, is oil based and finally has about a 2,400 CU FT per Min output. The HZ 350 was an interesting machine. It had a much lower price point but as well there were several extras that you end up buying to make it do what the 500 does. The other thing that got to me a little was the way it was advertised it sounded like it had wireless DMX on board. That’s not really true. It does come with a wireless remote  that was kinda cool especially for say a club that wants to put their hazer up in truss and let it run all night long.  It was quiet though. Not quite as quiet as the 500 but comparable. This machine took almost two hours to get full coverage in our space. For us that’s just too long. Now the hang time after we finally turned it off was quite fantastic!. Took almost three hours to dissipate.  Another great product from Antari but it wasn’t enough for a space my size. The price point on this unit was $700 and it uses the same oil based fluid the HZ 500 uses so $80 for a gallon.

Now to the heater based machines.

MDG Atmosphere

Let’s just start with the Cadillac of the smoke based hazers. It too has a 2.5 liter fluid tank. Runs on MDG neutral fluid which is oil based or water based.  She will run for 45 hours continuously. It has an 8 minute warm up time and requires a separate CO2 tank for propulsion. We actually weren’t even going to take this machine out of the box. The price point was way too high for us but we’ll get into that later. I have never before seen a hazer with this many different parts, things, stuff, ETC. It like the Martin 24/7 will automatically purge the system to keep it clean. If you remember earlier I stated that the HZ 500 was quiet, HA HA HA, this unit is truly silent. It uses CO2 instead of a pump to push the fluid into the heating chamber. SILENT. The orifice on the output nozzle is so small that your particle output is about .5 microns. Lastly the output was outrageous!!! It took less than 10 minutes to fill my space. Now as with any smoke based hazer the hang time was much lower than the oil based haze. Now comes the bad part the cost. The base model was right around $3,100. The problem was that everything cost you more. Want DMX control there’s a module you have to buy. Want your own CO2 tank you have to buy it. Want a portable CO2 bottle that’s an extra. Want a timer that’s extra. Trust me it’s a great unit if you have the money. Remember if you go with this unit you will be purchasing CO2 on top of fluid. Fluid runs about $50 a liter.

Ultratec Radiance Hazer

The Radiance Hazer is a water based hazer. It has no tank, it uses the bottle that you buy the fluid in as the tank. It will run on 120 AC at 8 amps. The output that is listed is insane, it says 25,000 CU FT per min. In my space I hazed completely in 7 min. INSANE. I have done arena’s with two of these and been able to have the entire thing hazed within an hour. Ringling Brothers uses two of these units for their tours. It rocks and for the price it’s probably the best buy for a smoke based hazer. Since it’s water based it tends to not leave as much residue as the compressor based models. It is extremely quiet as well was quite surprised by it. Price is close to $1,200 and fluid runs about $70 a liter but a liter will last forever. They don’t list continuous run time for this unit but we used it for our Christmas show every year before I bought my own hazer. Thats two weeks of rehearsal daily and three shows. Great product.

Elation’s F3 Fazer

This unit is switchable power from 100 V AC all the way to 240 V AC so at 120 your running at about 8.5 AMPS. The tank is a 2.7 liter tank and the output is about 300 cu ft per min. It goes through about a liter every 5 hours. What I loved about this unit is a 90 second heat up time. Now we tested this unit in another venue that was a lot smaller so I’ll try to be fair about this. You have the same built-in control like the HZ 500 with an added volume output. You have DMX control which is nice for people who like to program into their shows. It comes in a flight case (WHICH I LOVE) and can be stood on end like this.

On End

Just a great unit. Now Antari has this unit priced around $1,500 and fluid is right around $60 so this is a cheaper alternative to the MDG but does not have the output of the Radiance. Because of how this unit outputs the haze is much more uniformed rather than the Radiance.

Listen all of the machines listed above are great hazers. Some are better suited for different situations. I hope I have explained in detail enough for you to make a decision that helps you and your company enhance your production. All of these machines are available for purchase through Norcostco, PRG, Vincent Lighting, Barbizon, and Eclipse Lighting.

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