Stage Lighting

The Fog (aka: The Haze)

Information answering a few questions about fog and haze in stage lighting situations.

Do you need to use the same brand of fog fluid as your fog machine?
Simply put…no. Although some brand names might be better for your system, using non-brand names won’t necessarily “break” your fogger. The truly important quality of the fog fluid is the purity. If you want your fog machine to last its longest, use the purest quality fog fluid you can find. If you can find fog fluid that is 1.5 parts impurities per million or under you’ll probably do fine.

Can a fog machine be used to produce haze?
Yes. If you want a very light Haze, you can dilute your fog fluid with distilled water until you get the grade of haze desired. (Never use tap water.) When you achieve a light haze, you may not see much fog coming out of the machine, but the air will be full of tiny particles that your lights will be seen shining through. Don’t be surprised if you have to activate your fogger more often than usual. That’s how it works with haze.

Will scented fog fluid clog your machine faster?
Nope. The biggest thing that will clog your machine is accumulated dust or jugs of fluid that have been left open for a long time.

How often should you clean your machine?
A clogged fog machine is trash. There is no reasonable means of removing the burnt clog. To keep it from creating a build up of impurities, run half a cup of UNCLOGIT through it after every 40 hours of operation or no longer than 3 months. This will help prevent clogs from forming. After running the UNCLOGIT through it, you should run a little regular fog fluid through it to provide lubrication for the pump.

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13 responses to “The Fog (aka: The Haze)”

  1. Kasey Allen says:

    Awesome advice! Lovn’ this site!

  2. Brad Martin says:

    Be careful! some hazer manufacturers will void the warranty if you use haze fluid other than what they tell you to. For instance…I use a Le Maitre radiance water-based hazer, in the users manual it says that if you use any other haze fluid other than Le Maitre haze fluid, your warranty will be voided. I dont know how they would be able to tell a difference, but it may not be worth using just any haze fluid.

    Here is the wording from the manual: Le Maitre fluids must always be used. Any trace of other
    fluids will automatically void ALL warranties.

  3. Micah Yost says:

    For those interested, we have been doing a lot of testing on hazers in our venues in preperation to purcahse. We looked at Le Maitre, Real Fx, Chauvet, Rosco and others. I wish I could report a great and inexpensive break through solution, but in this case it seemed the best really are the best. Settled on the long time standard for touring: Real Fx DF50. You just can’t beet the look of the DF50! Amazing! And the hang time of the haze is truly better than anything else we tried. Almost 4 times as long as some more inexpensive hazers, and uses significantly less fluid. We estimated saving $500 a year on haze fluid with this unit.

  4. Andrew Hunt says:

    We use the LeMaitre Radiance Hazer with excellent results. We typically run it at 20% to maintain a nice even haze but also have the headroom to push more if we need to balance out the HVAC.

    Also, consider the type of alarm system BEFORE purchasing a hazer or fog machine. Rent or borrow and try it at different levels for several days. Our fire alarm system measures particles of oxygen per cubic area and while some haze solutions claim to not interfere with alarm systems, they all can. There are no guarantees, except to try it and see what happens. I’ve set our alarms off several times while the system is in test mode in order to find out what the threshold is for how much haze it can tolerate.

    I also wrote up little “Hazer Fact” cards to hand out to folks when we first started hazing…though, no one really pushed back on it at all.

  5. Joe Norwood says:

    So… where is the best place to put your haze machine? On the floor, or up in the ceiling/catwalks?

    • I’ve seen most people put their hazers on the floor. I don’t know that it matters where you put it if you’re filling up the room with haze. The only concern might be your AC system…and the flow of air…you obviously don’t want to put it where the output will be sucked into the return air vents of your AC system.

  6. Chris Flood says:

    @joe the best place is usually on the floor. You will want to look at your HVAC and find out where the return is. When you find it you want to locate your hazer as far away as possible. The airflow in the room will then pull the haze towards the return usually filling the entire room in the process. I also try to keep my hazer on the stage this way when it’s time to turn it on the stage gets the haze first instead of in the house. With Haze less is sometimes better. the best haze is one that is barely visible in ambient lighting but once you turn on your theatrical fixtures it makes the beams visible. this is a very hard medium to find and can take some experimentation and practice.

    @everyone if your using a pro-level hazer (Ultratec/Le Maitre, MDG, Martin/Jem, HES/Barco) it is important to use the manufacturers fluid. Many of them will void your warranty if you use anything other than what they sell and its not just a marketing ploy. Different hazers sometimes use completely different mixes of fluid. If you put DF50 fluid in a Le Maitre you’ve just ruined your machine and its no longer under warranty. also if you’ve paid the money for a pro level hazer don’t put scented fluid in it this will gum it up and ruin it.

    Have a great day,

  7. Jonathan says:

    Ok, so here's my problem. I'm using Base Hazer (water based), and all of our return air vents are on the stage. The church was originally built as a traditional southern baptist church with return air on each side of the choir loft, and in middle of the ceiling above the stage. So as you can imagine, haze likes to disappear quickly whenever the AC is on. The Base Hazer is actually very powerful, and is plenty for our worship center which seats about 1500, but whenever that AC kicks in, it's like I'm running an American DJ product in there…any suggestions??


  8. richmond says:

    We are a church inside the mall(Seattle Washington)and we have limitations when it comes to fog machines, because of the fire alarm system and sprinklers.(one time there was a guy who was pressure washing the wall of the mall and i think the mist hit the fire alarm and it got activated) there any other way or machine i could use that would not affect the fire alarm system of the mall? we need to find a way to create a haze for our lightings. i hope you could help us out with our situation!thanks and Godbless!

  9. Perry Propst says:

    We are looking at getting a hazer. Does anyone have good ideas for casting vision on using a hazer? How did you introduce it? Did you get any negative feedback?


    • Cole Pierce says:

      Hi Perry, I was trying to use haze for a long time when I became the lighting director. We had the hazer and moving lights for our special concert type outreach we did once a month, but we never used it for our weekend service. Finally our production manager agreed to use it. The only problem was the first week I used it, our swamp cooler (we are located in multiple historic old movie theaters) was leaking and made the whole venue smell like fish. Most thought it was this “mysterious fog rising from the stage”. Needless to say it was not the best week to try it out. We did however keep using it and everyone got over the idea once the swamp cooler stopped leaking and it didn’t smell anymore!

  10. Neidy says:

    This was great tips and tricks…. The diluting really helps!! Thanks

  11. Michelle says:

    What would you suggest for a smaller church that seats 600? Most of the lights are facing stage but others are not. So we would need to light both the stage and a little into the audience. Our HVAC system also pulls everything towards audience and upward. (This doesn’t help to keep stage hazed.) Any suggestions would be appreciated. The haze machines we’ve used are very unreliable. We’ve tried Marq Haze 800 and Chauvet DJ H1600.

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