To be successful, special effects must trick an audience, replicating stimuli that convince their brains that different illusions are identical or close to what they represent. This requires great effort on the part of the entertainers, who must use these effects in a way that is only beneficial to the people being entertained. During October, an obsession with the culture of Halloween appears in many forms of entertainment and events. This requires creation of the mysticism revolving around the holiday, which is enhanced by a foggy setting. However, artificial fog or mist is not just limited to October and adds emotion to many different kinds of entertainment. ANSI E1.23 – 2020 Entertainment Technology – Design, Execution, And Maintenance of Atmospheric Effects details the guidelines needed for proper use of these effects.
ANSI E1.23 – 2020 is applicable to the creation of theatrical events featuring artificial fogs or mists in theatres, arenas, and other places of entertainment or public assembly. It is intended to offer atmospheric effects creators and operators guidance in the planning the execution of the artificial fog or mist. The standard specifically covers twelve liquids that create fogs and mists. Examples of these include triethylene glycol, liquefied nitrogen, and water. It establishes specific guidelines for the effect designer and the effect operator.
The artificial fogs and mists created in accordance with the guidelines laid out in ANSI E1.23 – 2020 are only meant for entertainment. One of the main interests in this standard is to prevent any harm or damage to people and equipment. Since the creation of some of these fogs or mists requires the use of different chemicals for dispersal into the air, it is essential that the fogs or mists are not toxic or harmful from direct contact. The equipment should also be maintained in top condition so that it best achieves its purpose and does not contribute to any unwanted hazards. This includes protecting it from different environmental hazards and unintended contact and keeping it in a controlled temperature so that it does not produce unhealthy aerosols.
In accordance with the same theme throughout this standard of only providing entertainment without causing harm, the guidelines state that the dispersal of aerosols should not cover up any hazards. This could be more problematic than just having open hazards, since it gives the entertainer or entertained the appearance that the environment is safer than it is in actuality.
This standard also brings up the term, “qualified person”, which is featured in many different standards. In ANSI E1.23 – 2020, this describes an individual who can specifically mitigate hazards in relation to theatrical fog equipment. Sometimes referred to as a “competent person”, this individual acts as a certified figure who can manage different dangerous aspects of the standard’s subject. While there is some universality to this position throughout many different standards, it is very important to read the guidelines closely to see what exactly designates a qualified or competent person in a particular field.
ANSI E1.23 – 2020 is a standard written and published by the Entertainment Services and Technology Association (ESTA), an ANSI-accredited standards developing organization (SDO). Other ESTA standards relating to the management of artificial fogs and mists include:
ANSI E1.14 – 2018 – Entertainment Technology – Recommendations for Inclusions in Fog Equipment Manuals
ANSI E1.29 – 2009 (R2018) – Product Safety Standard for Theatrical Fog Generators that Create Aerosols of Water, Aqueous Solutions of Glycol or Glycerin, or Aerosols of Highly Refined Alkane Mineral Oil
ANSI E1.5 – 2009 (R2018) – Entertainment Technology – Theatrical Fog Made with Aqueous Solutions of Di- and Trihydric Alcohols
Introduction to Modern Atmospheric Effects 5th Edition