Author: cris cochis

Smoke vs Haze:difference and which to use and where

Smoke vs haze: difference and which one to use where?


Haze and smoke over the years have been used in events to maximize the effects of lighting and lighting beams. In the old days with fix lighting fixture the haze or smoke created a nice effect and was somewhat important to create the atmosphere and improve the light effect. In recent years where moving lights are used throughout most events, the effect created by the smoke or haze is so much more pronounced and outstanding and the moving light beam can be much more visible.


I won’t go into too much detail on how from the technical point of view the fog machine is different from a hazer machine and how it vaporizes the fluid with heats rather than use a compression chamber as the hazer does, but if you want more technical explanation check out this link from the great Wiki…


Hazer. These machines are quite common throughout the events and live productions / hire companies. There are entry-level units that normally are ok for small events / small rooms or small stages. Once you step up to bigger events you also would have the need to step up to professional, high output Haze machines. Sometimes we also use haze machines for big outdoor stages but we normally tend to use multiple units on the same stage as the wind is an enemy of haze.


Fog machine. These units have been around for a very long time and have been over the years cheaper and cheaper to buy, however, there are quite big differences between professional units and “ consumer” units. One major difference, in my opinion, is the warm-up time and the reheat time where the unit needs to go back to a certain temperature before it can pump out smoke again, which could cause issues when you have specific cues to follow in an event… can you imagine the main act coming out from backstage and you trying to pump out smoke and the machine is in re-heat mode!!!!  That’s one way to annoy the client and piss off the performer and you know what I think about keeping the performers happy… you can check my previous article, follow this link

Using professional smoke machines, means you overcome this problem as most of them don’t have gaps in re-heat which means continuous smoke distribution and happier clients. Other differences are, more smoke, faster outputs, DMX control not only remote, self-cleaning cycle when the unit is turned off and overall peace of mind that the unit works when you want it to!


On a quick note, I suggest you use water base fluids for both machines as in my opinion they are better for the environment, people and equipment than oil-based fluids.


This is Paul, looking for the light beam, with some smoke he would have found it straight away.


Paul lighting

You can use a combination of each, the hazer to keep a continuous haze/mist of smoke over the stage or dance floor so the light beams look awesome and the smoke to accentuate some special situations like songs, part of songs, special light effects etc.

In short, I would say that I normally use Hazers to create atmosphere and smoke machines as a special effect….. And of course you can argue that you prefer dry ice special effect or the faze effect which is more cost-effective, but this is a discussion for next time… till then…. I see you later unless you just turned on your smoke machine at full blast and you can’t see past your nose…. Ciao


Photo of stage lights with smoke fx

stage band


Speakers facing the band…why?

Speakers facing the band… why? most of the people will be on the dancefloor!!

This was a question that a very nice lady asked me on the phone on Monday when she called in to hire some “Speakers and Party stuff” for her son 18th birthday.

“So” she told, “we will have a band and we want some speakers so everyone can hear the band”

“Great” I told her, “We can definitely help you with that”

Everything went quite smooth throughout the process when we talked about FOH speakers, mixing console, microphones, stands, staging and some lighting.

So the nice lady on the phone seemed quite happy and she gave me the phone number of the band manager to make sure that we had everything they needed.

A quick call to the band manager, we agreed on speakers, digital mixing console, microphones set up, foldback positions and everything else we needed for the gig…. All great!!!


After few minutes I finish the quote and email it to the nice lady email address with a note saying: “Please let me know if you would like to go ahead with the booking and if you have any questions”

Well, a few hours later I get a phone call from the nice lady which at this stage seemed a little annoyed.

Me. “Hi how are you, what’s wrong, did I miss something?”

Nice but annoyed lady: “No you didn’t miss anything, actually you added another 4 speakers that we don’t need. No one is going to be on the stage to listen to the band, most people will be on the dancefloor, so why would you charge me for an extra 4 speakers  -pause- stage monitors?”

I went on to explain that the Stage Monitor speakers (foldback as we also call them) are for the band so they can hear themselves and the whole band. Without the stage monitors, the performer/musician could probably only hear the instrument that is closer to him/her.

A quick reply from the nice lady was: “well the band knows what they are playing, they don’t need to hear themselves”

It took a while and quite a bit of discounting to convince the (now back to nice) lady that after all she needed to book the stage monitors.


My view on the moral of the story:

If you want to save some money on your event, buy fewer canapes food trays, don’t spend the extra money on the balloons (which by the way are bad for marine life), go cheap on the table setting but make sure you look after the musicians and performers and they will look after you.

I can’t remember last time I come back from a party and mentioned to anyone…. Ahhh the table setting wasn’t very good!.. But I do remember last time I came back from a party and told my wife…. The sound was bad!!!


Here is a quick link to a very good explanation of why you need Foldback speakers for your next event or stage set up.

Example of a Stage monitor speaker / Foldback speaker RCF NX12-SMA Powered Foldback Speaker (Thank you RCF for the photo)

Image result for photos of foldback speakers stage set up

You can find foldback speakers, mixing consoles, Microphone, staging equipment, rigging equipment and more on our website

Compact PA Systems for Hire

and also you can contact us for more information about Staging, foldback monitor speakers and any Audio-visual requirements you may have.



Example of foldback set up and front fill..

Sound systems, Concerts and Ear Plugs.

Sound systems and ear plugs at a concert, a personal point of view.

A couple of weeks ago I went to The Prodigy (BTW I started writing this blog on the weekend and yesterday I got the news that Keith Flint died.. Really bloody sorry, he was an awesome performer!) concert in Melbourne, was awesome, brought back some memories… here a quick link

It really amazes me when I see people at a concert with those cheap foam ear plugs that you can buy at a service station. Those earplugs I think are designed to make the music/noise softer, (I guess that’s the result they want) but also muffled. Leave those for sleeping or for when you have a 2 months old crying baby.

I totally agree that hearing loss is something you want to avoid.

Here is a link to some very helpful notes from the Ear Science Institute of Australia. (I think they know a thing or two about it)

Music at a concert can reach above 110 decibels, I know, I’ve been to few in my life, also I’ve been setting up sound systems, Stages and lighting rigs for many years. Soundcheck sometimes can be worse than the actual concert. Some sound engineers, love to turn up the sound system to 11 (yes I’ve watched Spinal Tap once or twice) just to make sure that if the speakers, amplifiers or processors have any issues, it will show before the show….(see what I did there?).   At 110 decibels and over, hearing loss can happen after only a few minutes of exposure.

Here a link to a Decibel scale example


The more time you are exposed to these kinds of levels the more chance you have to get permanent hearing loss.

So if you like to go to concerts like I do and you want to get the best sound possible but are concerned about hearing loss, invest a couple of bucks in some dissent earplugs.

Here is a cheap but ok Ear Plugs option

And here is a more expensive Ear Plugs option


High-Fidelity Electronic Musicians Earplugs

BTW, last but not least, it would be a shame for the Sound production company to invest so much money in better speakers, Amplifiers, Microphones, Lighting etc and for the sound engineer and the artist to spend so much time to make sure the sound is great if people turn up with foam ear plugs……..

Big sound systems, loud and clear… unfortunate if you use cheap foam ear plugs.   Setting up a stage lighting and sound equipment before the concert

Humpback Whales Singing…..

Well, this is something I never thought I was going to write on an AV/Production company page…..

I like the sea and I like the animals in it. I was looking around for some cool facts about sea animals with my daughter, and being a sound guy, I started to look at the audio side of it. Well, I just discovered that a Humpback whale produces moans, grunts, blasts and shrieks (called songs… possibly better than some of the songs I’ve seen on the net).  Each part of their song is made up of sound waves. Some of these sound waves are very high frequency but the Humpback Whale also emit very low-frequency sound waves. The range of frequencies that whales use is from 30 Hertz (Hz) to about 8,000 Hz, (8 kHz). These sound waves can travel very far in water without losing energy. Researchers believe that some of these low-frequency sounds can travel more than 8,000 miles in some levels of the ocean!


Here is a bit of background why the sounds travel that far.  I know some of you won’t believe me.

We all know that sound is a pressure wave, but this wave behaves slightly differently through the air as compared to water. Water is denser than air, so it takes more energy to generate a wave, but once a wave has started, it will travel further than it does in air.


Sound in air

In a gas like air, the particles are generally far apart so they travel further before they bump into one another. There is not much resistance to movement so it doesn’t take much to start a wave, but it won’t travel as far.


Sound in water

In water, the particles are much closer together, and they can quickly transmit vibration energy from one particle to the next. This means that the sound wave travels over four times farther than it would in the air, but it takes a lot of energy to start the vibration. A faint sound in air wouldn’t be transmitted in water as the wave wouldn’t have enough energy to force the water particles to move.


So basically, I think the Humpback Whale has a great set of lungs, can you imagine what they could do on a stage with a mic and a big PA?  


BTW Humpback Whales need to remember to breathe.  Differently, to humans, who breathe automatically, humpback whales do it voluntarily.  My daughter told me this….They breathe using their lungs and blowhole and have an amazing capacity for holding their breath.

Hee is a link from the National Geographic.  Thank you!

Image result for humpback-whale

Productions – the technical basics: staging, lights & audio

Organising an impressive and memorable event is not an easy task. The technical basics: staging, lighting and audio can really make an event.

There are a lot of components to keep in mind but, other than the show itself, the stage set up is possibly the most important part of making the show a success.

The stage is where everyone’s eyes are going to be, it is the centrepiece of the show.

Here are few key things you have to keep in mind when choosing your stage set up:


  • Stage size, shape and height
  • Position of entrance and exit steps 
  • Safety for performers. Do you need handrail. Check with your council and your stage supplier, they will know the regulations 
  • Do you need an access ramp? RTR, caters for all accessibility scenarios


  • The right lighting set up will make your stage come alive
  • Background and front lighting, you will need both
  • Make sure you speak to your lighting supplier, ask questions and listen to their suggestions, with years of experience their advice is invaluable 

Audio and Video

  • This is crucial. If your audience can’t hear what is happening on stage your show could be a disaster, regardless of how good the show is
  • Make sure you have enough sound coverage in every part of the room and that your audio system doesn’t obstruct your audience’s view
  • Be prepared with wireless mics and play back equipment.
  • Make sure that your MC’s and performers are at ease with the mic set up
  • Don’t forget the monitors, performers need to be able to hear the music and themselves to perform at their best
  • Do you want to show images on your stage? Ask your supplier for an option on LED screen or projections, the right solution will engage your audience even more


Remember to ask your supplier for suggestions, they are the professionals and have possibly done more events that you can imagine. 

RTR Productions also recommends that you think about your budget and what you want to achieve. Hosting an event can be incredibly rewarding.  To help you get the most out of your event, be clear about your staging, lighting and audio expectations.

Here’s a short video we thought you might like –