In today’s episode, we’re tackling haze for events. As an event planner, you’re always wondering how to make the experience better for attendees. Obviously, there are tons of things to take into consideration! It’s easy to let a couple of details slide by you, and you might not ever contemplate certain aspects until it’s showtime. And by then, it might just be too late.

How to use haze at events is a question that pops up frequently. However, how much thought do you actually put into it? Do you even know where to start? Well, worry no more! On this week’s Whiteboard Wednesday, Will Curran answers all of your questions about haze at events. Join him as he walks you through what it is, why you should use it, and the best ways to go about it!

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Haze For Events

Video Transcription – Do I Need Haze For My Event?

What’s going on, Endless fans? It’s Whiteboard Wednesday. We’re dropping some more knowledge bombs, and today we’re talking about the most common question to get around lighting is do I need haze at my event? The question is usually, yes, you want haze, but we’ll talk about what that involves and why you want it really, really briefly.

What Is Haze?

If you don’t know what haze is, it’s basically a very thin particulate of fog, but it’s not the same thing as fog. If you’ve ever been to your Halloween party where the DJ pumps on the fog and this big plume of smoke come out and it’s super-thick, that is not haze. Haze is actually so thin that you can barely even tell it’s there most of the time. It’s just there to make the lights look better, which I’ll explain kind of how that works.

Essentially, the way it works is as a very thin, essentially mist, I will call it, in the air, of this haze. What it allows is that when light passes through it, it bounces off of all these little particulates of vapor and basically creates the look of the beam of light. Have you ever been out on a foggy day and you’ve ever seen headlights and how you can see the beams of headlights? Same concept when it comes to haze.

Should I Use Haze In Events?

How can we recreate that effect and why do I want it for my events? Well, let’s talk about it. Well, when you have haze for your event, particularly it’s good when you have what is called moving headlights. These are the lights that spin in 360 degrees, probably seen them at a club or concert, a lot of them have a very nice, cool tight beam so then, in that way, when you add haze to them, you can get this nice little beam of light.

Now, you probably think to yourself, “Yeah, that’s really cool, but why isn’t the moving headlight cool on its own?” Well, if you do no haze, these beams of light disappear, and you don’t actually see anything between the light and where it projects. Instead, let’s say, for example, if this is projecting a circle gobo before it would show this nice big fat beam of light, but now, it’s only going to show a circle gobo. No beam of light. It’s just going to show where the gobo is.

This is totally fine, but to be honest, not really worth the money. You spend all this money on nice lights, if you’re going to have moving headlights, you might as well do haze. So, again, my recommendation, no haze, you get just this gobo, whereas, when you get haze, you get this nice, cool beam of light. It allows you to fill the air and, to be honest, adds a lot of energy to an event as well.

What Should I Know About Using Haze In Events?

First thing is there are two different types of haze. You have oil-based haze and water-based haze. The difference is that oil-based haze tends to stay in the air a little bit longer than water-based haze. It can actually stay out a little bit further, it usually gives you a bit more bang for your buck, but it has this oily texture to it. It leaves kind of I’ll call it an oil spill around the haze machine, the hazer, whereas, water-based haze doesn’t stay in the air as long. However, there are some good machines that do last a long time, which your AV company should recommend to you, but it is more friendly to venues. It doesn’t leave any sort of residue, it doesn’t hang in the air, it can’t get on carpet or anything like that. It’s a lot cleaner.

With that being said, most venues are going to require you use water-based haze, so if you are asking to do haze for the event, just make sure the AV company is bringing water-based haze. Almost everyone has a water-based hazer for their event. So something to keep in mind, oil versus water, usually you want to stick with water. That’s the best way. If you’re doing an outdoor festival, though, and the sky is the limit and you need to stay in the air as long as possible, you can do oil-based all day long.

What About Venue Restrictions?

First thing they’re going to have to do is because you are putting particulate in the air, is that they can trigger fire alarms, specifically, the sprinkler system, the smoke detectors. It can basically make you think that it’s smoking inside the room and the last thing we want to do is cause a fire alarm to come up and the fire department shows up. What a venue will do is actually forcibly turn off a fire alarm. You might be thinking to yourself, “Well, that could be dangerous, right, what if there’s an actual fire?” It’s a great point.

Well, that’s why a lot of venues will require you to bring down a fire watch. This is when they’ll contact the local fire marshal, and they’ll actually have a fire representative come be onsite for your event. This is basically someone who helps monitor to make sure there’s no fire. If there is, it can be handled all right. To be honest, I’m not a firefighter, so I don’t know exactly what they do, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re going to use haze.

So, What Does This Mean For Costs?

It’s not just the cost of the haze machine, which can be real cheap. It can be $100, $200 to rent, but the cost comes in with bringing this fire watch down. They can charge somewhere $50 an hour, $100 an hour, $200 an hour, just to be there with, keep in mind, sometimes minimum calls as well. They might require you that they be there for five hours, for example. So keep in mind that you might have to bring a fire watch to replace basically turning off the fire alarm system.

Well, what that also means as well in some cases as well is that they also have to submit a permit and get approved as well. So the thing to keep in mind is not only you have a financial responsibility or financial commitment, but also a little bit of a time commitment as well. You can’t make this decision a week out for an event a lot of the time because these permits sometimes take a couple of weeks to get done.

That’s why it’s important to make sure that you submit your permits early on and that you talk to your venue early on about doing haze, even before your contractor AV company even know if you’re going to do haze or no haze. Because the best thing that you can do is always say, “Nope, at last minute, we don’t need the permit, we don’t need the fire watch because, guess what, we’re not going to do haze.” But if you are going to do it, you don’t want to be caught behind the times.

Conclusion

That’s it. Basically, do I need to use haze for my event? It’s obviously up to you and what you’re looking for. Obviously, there’s lots of videos on YouTube that show the difference between haze and no haze, feel free to google those. But the big thing is it makes your lights just look better. The answer is up to you in whether you want to have it, whether these are the headaches that you kind of want to deal with and the things that you want to execute. Sometimes it can be pretty easy. Or if it’s worth it to make your lights look a lot better.

We would love to hear your story and examples about how your event looked a lot better with haze, or maybe an example of how you got around using haze for an event. Let us know in the comments below!

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Will Curran

Author Will Curran

Information junkie, energetic, and work-a-holic are just some of the words we can use to describe Will Curran. Aside from spending 20 out of 24 hours a day working as the Chief Event Einstein of Endless Events, you can catch Will ordering a chai latte or watching The Flash with his cats. He is also well known for his love of all things pretzels.

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