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  • Episode 15 – Getting in the Atmosphere – What are Haze, Fog and Faze, and When Do I Use Them?

 May 8

by David

Lighting News

This week I don’t have any recent news that caught my attention.

But I do want to share with you a few websites that I like to check out for the latest in the Lighting Industry. Check out the industry magazines below:




These are some great magazines to subscribe to if you’re looking for more information on Lighting.

Main Segment

This week I want to share with you how to set the atmosphere and when you should use certain fog or haze atmospheres.

In most concerts, theater productions, or special church events there is normally some sort of atmosphere to set the stage. Using a fog or haze atmosphere can be a great way to get more out of your lighting.

Fire Alarms

An area I want to discuss is Fire Alarms and what to expect when putting on a show. One thing to note is to never ever turn off Fire Alarms. This is a big Do Not Ever Do!

Types of Fire Alarms

Ionizing Fire Alarms are usually home-based and looks for actual fire and smoke. Haze and Fog will most likely not set these off.

Optical Detectors are often used in a hotel or commercial building.  They allow the very quickest notification of fire, but with the downside that anything which crosses their path will trip them.

The best suggestion is to work with the Fire Alarm Company and your Local Fire Department to see if you can set the alarms in Silent Mode.

With Silent Mode you will be able to see the alarm trip on the Control Panel without the alarms going off and having people evacuate.

Theatrical Effects will set off the Optical Detectors.  For more information please check out the related articles below:



Types of Atmosphere

Buying a machine will do one of the following: Haze, Fog, or Low Fog. All are different in how they work and each unit has a specific purpose. I highly suggest not trying to make a machine do what it is not supposed to do.

You may also see “Fazers” on the market, but I really don’t recommend those becuase they don’t do fog or haze well!


Haze is a thin mist like atmosphere that will hang in the air. This is a great effect of showing off the beams in the air. Haze can really highlight the beams, patterns, and gobos. It is often used in a Concert setting and not usually seen in a corporate event.

Water Based Hazers will dissipate quicker. The particles are bigger and have more of a smokey effect and will rise quickly.

Oil Based Hazers tend to be louder to run so please keep this in mind if your show is a quieter setting.

Oil-based haze will not rise as quickly as the water-based will and will hang in the air longer. The downfall with Oil based is that you will need to do some maintenance and cleaning because the gunk will build up over time.


When setting up always make sure you know where the air is going. Obviously, you do not want to set up the machine right below the air intake. Be sure to set up on the opposite side of the room so that the air will float across.

Check out my full article on haze here!


Fog is exactly what it is which is a thick cloud. This is great when you’re looking for an explosion kind of effect. Lights will not pierce well through the fog clouds.

Something to note is that if a Fogger is not specifically listed as a Quiet Fogger then it will most likely be a loud machine. If you’re working in a quiet environment then you will hear a very loud spray sound.

Generally, fog will rise and evaporate but at its own pace. If you’re looking to speed this up check on setting up additional fans or equipment to help speed up the process.

Low Fog

Low fog is another great feature to have in a production. There are two ways to get a Low Fog effect.

  1. Using a regular fog machine and having the fog go through a chiller. This causes the fog to be colder and will stay low for longer until it warms up and rises.
  2. Using dry ice and warm water to blow it through a fan will help with a low fog effect.

Check out my full article on fog here!

Fog, Haze, & Throat

If working with fog or haze you will most likely be approached by someone who will be concerned with asthma or throat issues.

Studies have been done for years specifically on Broadway Shows that use fog and haze frequently. Performers have been monitored over the years to see if there was a permanent effect.

Studies do show that there has is no long-term damage or effect to the throat. For more information on these studies please check the link below:

Broadway Actors Equity Report: http://actorsequity.org/docs/safesan/finalreport.pdf

Some performers may refuse to work in a haze or fog environment so I would recommend checking with them to make sure there are no concerns or issues.


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