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Old June 18th, 2013, 10:01 PM   #16
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Re: Are commonly available materials fire-proof?

I remember that fire. Very sad.
One of my son's is a firefighter and he's the one that has to go in and save someone's butt or try to save someone's house or place of business. He's gone into places where they've tried to save a buck or two but when he's going in, it's usually way too late to worry about saving a dollar.
Use the proper materials in the way they're meant to be used and you and everyone around you will be safe and live to shoot another day.
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Old June 19th, 2013, 12:18 AM   #17
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Re: Are commonly available materials fire-proof?

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Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
This fire, which killed 100 people 10 years ago was three miles from my house and was fueled by foam insulation that wasn't fire proof. I spent about a week afterwards doing live shots from across the street. I understand it was caused by people also trying to be "extra careful". Don't be stupid using materials for purposes they aren't designed for.

VIDEO: The Station Nightclub Fire
LOL. Doug, I was not trying to be an a**!

I would love to use the right materials, but I have two problems of a logistical nature:

1. The right materials have to be imported, which means paying for shipping and customs. That's fine, if I only had to do this once. Since diffusion and reflective material is of a semi-disposable type, I can't rely on getting all this on time, when I need it. I am open to the idea of importing it, but I wanted to make sure, hence the question. It's not that I don't know these things.

2. In my country, fabric isn't labelled according to their fire-retardant properties. I'll be lucky to have washing instructions on them. The same applies to foam core, which I know comes in two varieties: Cheap, and not-so-cheap. The latter is used by light crews all around India, and which is the only thing I have access to. I did a search of fire proof fabrics but there aren't any stores that talk about their light-reflective or diffusion qualities. I can't ask for samples to practice because that's not how things work here generally. I could make the effort, but I need to know whether it's worth my time, hence the question on this forum.

Obviously, these are issues relative to my area, and I'm not saying they are right or safe. I am an electrical engineer, so I understand these things quite well. There are fire hazards all around me, and there's nothing I can do about it except to be careful.

I asked about muslin, foamcore and butter paper (I asked about tracing paper, but butter paper is doable) because these are readily available, and used often in every part of the world. I've used foamcore personally, but I'd like to try muslin as a reflector.

I'm going to hunt for fire retardants, and definitely look at Rosco stuff.
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Old June 19th, 2013, 12:22 AM   #18
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Re: Are commonly available materials fire-proof?

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In some countries the penalties might be more than civil/financial. There are some materials whose flame retardancy is part of the requirement of their MIL-SPEC rating, so you might have luck finding a material that complies with a particular spec. If you have a vendor of Rosco gels I'd try to get a swatch book and order a roll of something intended for the purpose. They have some fabric materials as well as polyester based diffusion materials that are manufactured for heat resistance. For a DIY flame retardant you might try something like Homemade Flame retardant but do a flame test after you treat your muslin. Good luck!
I'll definitely look at Rosco. Thanks for the DIY solution. Looks neat! If I can't manage to find anything else, I'll surely give it a try.
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Old June 19th, 2013, 03:02 AM   #19
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Re: Are commonly available materials fire-proof?

Apart from Rosco, there are also Lee Filters and Chris James Filters.
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Old June 19th, 2013, 03:42 AM   #20
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Re: Are commonly available materials fire-proof?

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Apart from Rosco, there are also Lee Filters and Chris James Filters.
Thanks, I'll look at them too.

I know Rosco attended Broadcast India, which happens in Mumbai every year. Here's their impression: Broadcast India : Rosco Spectrum

Sigh.
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Old June 19th, 2013, 08:06 AM   #21
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Re: Are commonly available materials fire-proof?

In general natural materials are less of a fire hazard than man made ones.
Sure everything will burn or melt however the biggest danger with a fire is not the fire but the toxic fumes.
With natural fabrics the risk posed by the smoke are less than with synthetics. Cotton, silk and especially wool are pretty safe in this regard. Also when heated too much they char rather than melt or just burst into flame so if they get too close to a heat source you'll have more warning.
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Old June 19th, 2013, 04:56 PM   #22
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Re: Are commonly available materials fire-proof?

Until quite recently, a visiting fire officer would apply a cigarette lighter to the bottom of a cloth, and look at his watch - if the thing did not catch fire, it passed. If it did, he would put it out with an extinguisher kept handy and then the cloth being tested would fail - but as it had a big hole in in, you had no real option.

One thing to watch is that with natural fabrics that are inherently fire resistant, if they have been in contact with flammable liquids or even coated with dust, then they will ignite. Dust is quite nasty!
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Old June 19th, 2013, 11:41 PM   #23
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Re: Are commonly available materials fire-proof?

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Originally Posted by Bob Grant View Post
In general natural materials are less of a fire hazard than man made ones.
Sure everything will burn or melt however the biggest danger with a fire is not the fire but the toxic fumes.
With natural fabrics the risk posed by the smoke are less than with synthetics. Cotton, silk and especially wool are pretty safe in this regard. Also when heated too much they char rather than melt or just burst into flame so if they get too close to a heat source you'll have more warning.
Muslin should be fine, right, as long as it is pure cotton? I've read Roger Deakins' advice where he said during his documentary years he used red heads and sheets of muslin (bed sheets).

With the way traffic is here, it would be a miracle if I can transport foamcore boards from A to B without it breaking into pieces.
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Old June 19th, 2013, 11:44 PM   #24
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Re: Are commonly available materials fire-proof?

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Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
One thing to watch is that with natural fabrics that are inherently fire resistant, if they have been in contact with flammable liquids or even coated with dust, then they will ignite. Dust is quite nasty!
I didn't know that dust could create problems. Transporting and storing it plastic sheets should be okay, right? And maybe a proper wash once in a while?
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Old June 21st, 2013, 08:38 AM   #25
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Re: Are commonly available materials fire-proof?

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Muslin should be fine, right, as long as it is pure cotton?
Yes, it should be fine.
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Old June 21st, 2013, 09:03 AM   #26
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Re: Are commonly available materials fire-proof?

Recent dust will probably be fine - the danger is in cinemas, theatres and venue with heavy drapes - where they perhaps have been there for years, untouched. Testing the bottom usually is fine - but higher up where the dust settles, could be very tricky when a naked flame, or even hot lamp touches it.

A PAR64 just a few inches from something like Bolton Twill - which is inherently fire resistant - can burnt a hole right through, in surprisingly short time. It doesn't burst into flames, but chars it's way through - with a very nasty smell.
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