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This is a question Home Science

Have you split the atom in your kitchen? Made your own fireworks? Fired a bacon rocket through your window?
We love home science experiments - tell us about your best, preferably with instructions.

Extra points for lost eyebrows / nasal hair / limbs

(, Thu 9 Aug 2012, 17:25)
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Custard Powder is exciting (as many of you have discovered!)
I used to make films as a kid, a bit like the children in Super8 but less gimpy and squeaky. I used my Sony Handycam and a USB device that could capture a breathtaking 352x288 pixels (I have a terrible memory, it is awful, but I can remember the resolution of every device and monitor I've ever owned) from it and save to MPEG. Then I would use various command line based things and later a version of After Effects that Adobe gave to me because they are nice.

I have the films still and you will never see them. I lied about being less gimpy than the Super8 children.

A film I was making required a city to be on fire. I could make realistic fire in 3DSMax (because there was a 'fire' plugin) but I couldn't make buildings (there was no 'make a realistic building' plugin). Instead I built a city out of cardboard (I can do cardboard) on a metal base.

I had learnt, through a friend's older brother, that custard powder is quite firey. With this knowledge, I set up a series of plastic straws in the city that, when blown down, would puff out the custard powder in them. Through a tea-light.

My plan was for the straws to cause explosions which, through the magic of fire and me spraying all the buildings with Lynx, with catch and burn the rest down. I initially tried this in the garden but the wind kept blowing out my tea-light, so I moved it to the little covered passageway between my house and next door's house. My metal-city barely fitted.

The first filming was a custardy-success, it is really quite flammable especially with a makeshift flame thrower (or custard-chucker?). However, whilst it did set fire to the Lynx, it only set fire to the Lynx and it all neatly burned off with no flames at all.

So I tried again - without the Lynx, setting up my custard-straws and lighting my tea-lights and starting to film and blew through the straw and it was at this point I learnt that, for a reason I do not understand, cardboard initially coated in Lynx will burn like hell-fire when lit for the second time. I assume it had soaked in. I had not prepared very well for the inferno that was now occurring and ran off to find a bucket/hide.

My grandfather put it all out with the garden hose. All being my cardboard city, a wooden gate, some grass and the neighbour's roof. I visited recently and the underside of that roof is still covered in bits of patched metal.

The firey-footage was fantastic, but - possibly because I was gimpy and squeaky - my friends did not turn up to make the actual film so I never got to use it.
(, Fri 10 Aug 2012, 14:14, 6 replies)
Not so much Super8...
As the far more awesome Son of Rambow.

I'm guessing you're too young for the Screen Test & the Childrens' Film Foundation era?
(, Fri 10 Aug 2012, 15:09, closed)
I am, yes. I never put any thought into what to do
once they were finished, I just enjoyed making them. I'm the process of making a new film now. With puppets.
(, Fri 10 Aug 2012, 15:29, closed)
"I used to make films as a kid"
"Sony Handycam and a USB device"
"save to MPEG"
"After Effects"

How old are you exactly?
(, Fri 10 Aug 2012, 16:04, closed)
PS. I also live in bournemouth ho ho ho :P

(, Fri 10 Aug 2012, 16:07, closed)
** realises
that coupled with the first reply this sounds a little creepy....

Not my intent lol **
(, Fri 10 Aug 2012, 16:07, closed)
Ha, pervert. I am 26
I was just a geek when I was young. I think the films were made when I was 12 to about 15.
(, Fri 10 Aug 2012, 17:28, closed)

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