Multiple Plate Effects
Both the Slow Plate and the Fast Plate were basically colored water with some colored oil on top. Usually it was the operator who caused it to be one or the other, however if you were making a Slow Plate from scratch for that specific purpose you might use more water than on a Fast Plate. The extra water would give more control over the clear water image within the oil and such control allowed for ameoba-like blobs which could be created and sustained with two, three, four or five distinct lobes. These usually moved much slower than their Fast Plate counterparts and were very complementary to a slower, bouncy song.
As mentioned, this was very similar to the above but usually with a bit less water (and if you didn’t make it that way on purpose, it usually became that way fairly quickly). It was manipulated faster and was usually dotted with more oil bubbles within the blob because of the vigorous action of the plate. There was usually no real attempt to maintain any specific number of lobes. Perfect for mid-speed to fast songs with a pronounced beat.
The Speed Plate was also similar to the above but usually held less overall volume of liquid and was manipulated very fast. It usually had many bubbles of color within the blob which could be increased by the addition of a little alcohol to the plate, the chemical reaction would break up the oil into many bubbles (but make the plate impossible to use afterward as a Slow Plate, though the addition of some extra water might provide a similar effect with more bubbles of color but less of a field of color around the blob). Great for fast and beat intensive songs.
Any of the above could be made with three plates with different color combinations between plates 1 and 2 than between plates 2 and 3. Often manipulated by two people and good liquids person could get two distinct sets of action going alone. This was one of my personal favorites. It took more consideration of color when creating so as not to appear muddy.
Although any of the above, especially the Speed Plate, was usable as a Squash Plate, wherein the main action is to squash the bubbles of oil across the plate (very often used by West Coast artists with a Speed Plate and switching between the attributes of the Squash and Speed Plates) East Coast shows like Pig Light Show, Joshua Light Show and Joe’s Lights usually made a special plate up of black water and clear oil. Sometimes the opposite was done, clear water and black oil. The one allowed the plate to disappear except when it was being squashed, the other was always obvious but let more of any other concurrent projections to show through when squashed.
This plate was dependent on homemade overheads constructed along the guidelines of Joshua Light Show’s, using an airplane landing light for a light source and a 10” heat resistant lens from an ellipsoidal spotlight. The bottom plate is primed with a layer of black alcohol. The top plate is then placed upon it and held just slightly from the bottom so a very thin layer of alcohol is held between. When it is dimmed up the heat causes the alcohol to boil fairly soon, and it could get quite rapid. Tilting the plate would cause the stream of bubbles to run first one way then another as the angle of incline changed. As another in a group of high contrast effects it was often used to cut through and modify other projections already on the screen.
Multi Plate Liquids
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