CO2 and Entertainment in Southern California and beyond

Carbon dioxide (CO2) has been used in entertainment for a long time. The gas is chilled to a liquid to easily (and economically) achieve special effects like fog and haze. Many people have witnessed haze effects at concerts to emphasize a spotlight or on TV for cloud effects.

Low-lying fog effects are achieved by using liquid CO2 that is usually placed in compressed cylinders. Low-lying fog is one of the effects of the liquid CO2 being used to decrease the temperature on theatrical fog which then creates a denser fog that stays very low to the ground. Fog can also be achieved inexpensively by using dry ice. Technicians can warm water to boiling or near boiling temperatures in large vessels and then put a couple of pieces of dry ice in those cylinders. Carbon Dioxide cannot be sustained in a liquid form in atmospheric pressure therefore, it instantly becomes a gas. Usually there is a fan at the top of the container to blow that gas into the desired direction for the fog effects.

Liquid CO2 by itself can be used as an atmospheric fog in place of pyrotechnics in Southern California. This can be done by emitting liquid CO2 in the air by using an electric solenoid valve. When the CO2 becomes a vapor and condenses moisture in the air, large clouds of gas are created. Since the CO2 vapor disappears immediately once the valve is closed, magicians will use this type of fog creation.

The entertainment industry not only consumes copious amounts of CO2, but generates high levels of carbon emissions as well. This is due to transportation, onsite generators and pyrotechnical effects that require the CO2 gas. Therefore the Producers Guild of America has created the Green Production Guide to lower carbon emissions on various film and TV production sets.

Find out more about CO2 and its effects by contacting your local specialty gas provider WestAir Specialty Gases and Equipment in Southern California.