Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Showcase: Our Effects in Your Haunts

We want to thank the folks who sent us pictures and video of our effects in their haunts.  It has been great to see how they all work in everyone's haunts.  If anyone has videos and pictures you'd like to show us, please do!  We'd love to see everyone's haunts.
First up is Ryan661D.  He posted some test footage of Daisy a while back.
He was also kind enough to share video of his full Haunt, and, we would like to say, Daisy looks right at home.

Another Daisy popped up in Southern Georgia.  Mark G was kind enough to send us footage of Daisy holding court on the verandah.

Lost At Sea can be a wonderful addition to a Pirate themed haunt as demonstrated by Defenestrator.  He used it in the Tavern section of his haunt, and can be seen in the video beginning around the 2 minute mark.

Finally, at least for now, Kristin from Northern California had a great location to showcase Restless Spirit.  You can see her video here.

We hope everyone had a Happy Halloween and successful haunts! 

Happy Haunting!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  We want to thank all of you for making our inaugural season such a success.  We are already getting started on some amazing new effects for next year, so keep checking back.  We appreciate all of the comments and compliments we've received over the last few months.

In the meantime, send us videos and pictures of your Spectral Illusions in action, and we'd love to feature them here on our blog. 

Also, coming soon, we will be posting some images from the custom work we've been hard at work on for the last few months. 

We hope your haunts are the best yet, and look forward to providing you with new effects in the future.

Happy Haunting!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Choosing a projector

One question we are often asked is, "What projector should I use?"  This is the kind of question that doesn't have a hard and fast "Get an ACME 9000" kind of answer.  It comes down to several factors including what kind of Haunt you are planning and your budget.

The closest thing we have to a blanket answer on this topic is this: Find a projector with the highest Lumens and resolution that fits within your budget.  Even this, though, brings up more questions, so we will try to cover as many as we can here.

Lumens are a measurement of the strength of light emitted by a source, in this case, a projector.  A common aim for projectors is around 2000 lumens.  (A projector is rated by the maximum strength of light when the bulb is new and at its brightest.)  However, you should evaluate the space where you are planning on projecting an effect to see what works best for you.  You may not need something that bright to make your visual point, especially considering many spooky motifs can actually be enhanced by a lower light level. 

Resolution is a measurement of the number of pixels in a frame of video.  There are many resolutions out there.  The highest resolution you will probably run across is Full HD, 1920x1080.  These numbers refer to the number of pixels in the width and height, so a Full HD image will have 1920 pixels across, and 1080 up and down.  The higher the resolution your projector can handle, the larger the image you can project before pixelization is noticeable.  We also recommend choosing a video file that matches your native resolution on your projector.  This ensures maximum compatibility between video and projector.  Keep in mind, though, that your Method of Delivery may affect what your viewable resolution is.  For example, when using a DVD player on a Full HD projector, the maximum resolution will be DVD (720x480).

Short Throw is related to the distance the projector must be from a screen/scrim/etc. to get the desired size.  Many projectors will require 15-20 feet to get a life sized projection.  A short throw projector can accomplish the same size with less distance as little as 10 feet or less.  If your space is limited for projector to projection location, then a short throw projector or lens could be your solution.

Rear projection is often standard on a projector.  It is a function that horizontally flips the image so that it can be projected on a screen or surface from behind.  When viewed from the front, the image is then in the proper orientation.

The most economical way to find a projector is to search online.  Ebay and Craigslist, for example, can yield very good deals on projectors.  One significant consideration when buying a used projector is bulb life.  Most projector bulbs will last somewhere between 1000 and 2000 hours.  (Much older projectors are often in the 1000 hour range category)  Bulbs can be expensive, so find one with very low hours or one that you can replace the bulb and still stay within budget.

Happy Haunting!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Method of Delivery

There are several options for delivery methods for your Spectral Illusions clips.  Which one you choose will be dictated by space, location and other concerns.

A computer is one of the best options for your image.   Looping is seamless as it is fully digital.

Media server
A media server is another excellent option for similar reasons to a computer.   It can also network with your computer so you could have multiple effects going on at the same time.

DVD/BluRay Player
When the end of the clip is reached when using DVD or BluRay, the laser must physically move back to the beginning, resulting in a few black frames.  Our solution is to burn multiple copies of the clip in a row on your DVD or Blu-Ray.  This way, the clip will play several times in a row before the laser has to reset.

Smartphone/Tablet/MP3 Player
Some smartphones, tablets and MP3 players have video out (HDMI, RCA, etc.).  These can be highly effective as they are smaller and easier to hide with your projector.  Check manufacturer information for compatibility.

Digital Picture Frame
We would recommend a digital picture frame primarily for a direct view effect, such as our "Runny Man" or "Lost at Sea" effects.  They could also be used effectively in a Pepper's Ghost setup when a more compact design is desired.

We are sure you will find the perfect delivery method for your haunt.  Resolution, location and size constraints will need to be factored in when making a decision about what works best for you.

Happy Haunting!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Daisy, The Ghost Bride: In the Wild

Thanks to all our customers who have been posting videos and sending us pictures of Daisy in action.  We are so happy to hear that she is working out so well for everyone.  We would enjoy seeing pictures and video of your Spectral Illusions in action, so please send them to us, and maybe we can post them here!

Also, we would be happy to help out if you have any stumbling blocks or general questions on how to make your projection effects as successful as possible.  In all cases, you can always email us at spectralillusions @

Here is a collection of pictures and videos we've been sent or run across of Daisy haunting in the wild.  Enjoy, and Happy Haunting!

Haunter Steven says this: "This was a surprisingly easy project to accomplish in one night. I was amazed at the quality of the video and the way the completed project appears to be life size and almost 3d in the room its used in. Our completed bride looks great when viewed from almost any angle in the room. I would highly recommend spectral illusions excellent videos to anyone looking to add great special effects to their setup , for such low prices, these effects look fantastic!"
Here is Steven's version of Daisy on her new set.

Haunters 661yardhaunt and icemanfred posted the following videos of Daisy in this discussion:

Icemanfred's video:

Happy Haunting!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Projection Surfaces: Wood and Tulle

For projections like "Daisy, the Ghost Bride" and "The Haunted Tombstone", we recommend using a cut surface like styrofoam or a white painted plywood board.  The figure can be somewhat more rounded and dimensional, but the more dimensional and detailed the figure, the more likely the projected image will be warped and distorted.  If you decide to have a more sculpted figure, we recommend avoiding adding protruding features, like a nose, as the projection is not specifically locked to it.  With "Daisy, the Ghost Bride", a very effective trick to add dimensionality is to simply drape the figure with tulle (pronounced "tool').  It is a sheer netting-like fabric available in any fabric store and is commonly used for bridal veils. 

A Styrofoam figure, draped in tulle.
A closeup of a more sculpted head. 
We have also experimented with tulle as a projection surface with interesting results.  When stretched, or even left blowing slightly, we have had excellent results using it as a screen.  Tulle comes in many colors these days, and we have used white, grey and black in our tests.  Grey is probably the easiest color to work with as the projection shows up while the surface without a projection blends into the background.  Projecting on white shows up best, but the fabric is also most visible.  Black tulle blends into the background best, but the projected image is not as bright. 

Tulle would probably be most effective in an outdoor situation.  The image could be front or rear projected, but, as the image shines through the tulle, it should be projected from a low angle, pointing up, so the image that passes through will just go into the sky and not show up elsewhere.

Monday, August 20, 2012

When Burning your Spectral Illusion to DVD:

Our projections are designed to be seamless looping effects when played from a computer, media server or other digital device.  However, there are some limitations when burning to DVD.  While DVD is often the best or only option for your setup, when a repeat is used, the laser of the DVD player has to physically reset when it goes back to the first frame.  Even the best DVD players will have a few frames of black inserted while the laser resets.  To counteract this, our suggestion would be to string multiple copies of your chosen clip together, end to end, that would create a longer movie that you would then burn to disc.  You would still have the few frames of black at the end of the repeat, but it would be far less frequent.  Effects like our Restless Spirit and Ghostly Hearse would not have so much of this problem as they fade to black and back on each time.

Happy Haunting!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

We've updated our Suggested Uses page to include a video of our "Daisy The Ghost Bride" effect
projected onto a custom life size figure, with instructions for building your own. This is a very simple yet effective way to use this effect in your own Halloween haunt, party, or Attraction. Happy Haunting!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Thank You gift and some news!

As a special thank you to our customers, fans and friends, we would like to offer you a free desktop wallpaper! 

Just right click on one (or both) of the images above, and click Save Link As... They are both in 1920x1200 resolution.

Also, coming soon are our "Daisy, the Ghost Bride" illusion in Landscape orientation (as seen in the beginning of the sample animation) and DVD (720x480) resolution for those looking to burn their effects onto DVD.

Happy Haunting!
Spectral Illusions

Monday, July 30, 2012

All of our announced 2012 Halloween Video Effects are now available in 3 different video formats 
XGA (1024x768 4:3 aspect)
WXGA (1280x800 8:5 aspect)
and Full HD (1920x1080 16:9 aspect)

Be sure to keep an eye on 
You never know when a new effect may materialize
Happy Haunting

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Welcome to Spectral Illusions The Blog! 
Here you will find the latest news, info, ideas, polls, behind-the-scenes, 
user submissions, and more from Spectral Illusions.
Our main site is now open for the 2012 haunt season. 
We've still got a few more effects coming, as well as more resolution options for all our effects, 
which we expect to be ready by the end of July.

Call For Submissions
If you're using one of our Spectral Illusions in your haunt, we'd love to see how you've used it!
Please send us links to any pics or video you have to

Happy Haunting