High Velocity Fans on the Movie Set

When not emerged in the grandiose of a movie I’m watching I start to wonder how the producers and people behind the screen came up with the shoots. How did they recreate environments? It’s well known that fog and haze are created by smoke machines and dry ice. The equipment is even used in some school plays and can be seen at some dance clubs. It is also common knowledge how movie makers recreate wind. I’ve seen a good number of movies out there that show a big industrial fan creating a heavy wind effect. The most common example that comes to mind is high velocity fans recreating a hurricane for some unlucky weatherman. This is usually accompanied with someone dropping a bunch of leaves and debris in front of the fan to be sent flying at the poor person.

What I’ve always wondered, is what kind of fan they use? Is there an industry standard? How different are these fans from the industrial fans used in factories? After doing a little research one name kept on appearing, Mole-Richardson. Mole-Richardson is a company that sells special effects equipment and has designed an industrial fan for the sole purpose as being a wind maker on movie sets. The fans can be from 12” to 24” and are made to maximize airflow with minimal noise. I always picture the fans being used to create massive gusts of wind but I never considered they use the fans for any wind effects, even a slight breeze.

These fans take 120 or 240 volts A.C. or D.C. and can be attached to a stand with rollers. For some reason most of the fans are fire engine red. I’m not sure if this is the designer’s favorite color but I guess it doesn’t matter. It’s not really crucial for the fan to function. Systems have also been implemented so fans can synchronize with one another and be hooked up to the special effects control pad. Roll bars go around the fan so they are easy to handle and move around. Mold-Richardson Fans aren’t the only industrial blowers used in the industry but are the standard.