Special effects

 23 March 2011

Special effects and pyrotechnics staff are responsible for special effects and pyrotechnics required as part of a production. In some shows, for example using magic, special effects may be an integral part of an act.

Staff that are involved with special effects may have to use a range of highly specialised materials and techniques:

  • Their work may involve smoke, small fireworks and the movement of objects and scenery
  • They may use toxic substances such as paint, gas, glue and explosives
  • The work may utilise dangerous tools and machinery, such as welding equipment and power tools.

Special Effects professionals often design, make and operate the Special Effects equipment and devices required for a production. A special effects expert may have specialised in electronics, construction, carpentry, or explosives.

There is a range of other work around the use of special effects that staff in this area may need to carry out, such as: 

  • Interpreting directions / design briefs and plan the effects needed in a production
  • Establishing a workshop to build and test effects
  • Carrying out tests and maintenance checks to ensure that effects will function correctly and safely
  • Coaching the actors and technical staff in the correct usage and dangers of any effects.

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