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  1. Darth_Knight1's Avatar
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    Sep 27, 2011, 2:54 AM - Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #1

    Hi all,

    Need some help from my fellow RPFers. I'm currently working on a Pulp Fiction costume and need some ideas on how to create the illuminated light effect (see images below).






    As you probably know, in the movie the briefcase would emanate a bright "glow" whenever someone would open it up. Any suggestions/ideas of how to create a similar functional add-on to my briefcase?? I'd like to start this mod soon so any and all ideas are much appreciated. Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by Darth_Knight1; May 18, 2013 at 7:20 AM.
  2. moviebuff5's Avatar
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    Sep 27, 2011, 3:56 AM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #2

    You could probably rig something with some ultrabright yellow LEDs and a small battery pack.
  3. Abaris is offline Abaris
    Sep 27, 2011, 10:01 AM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #3

    Simple. Just buy a yellow minibulb with the holder at a electronics shop (they're really cheap), a battery and a photosensitive diode.
  4. Shendorion's Avatar
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    Sep 27, 2011, 10:14 AM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #4

    If you want to go really simple, get a decent LED tactical flashlight, a lens from a pair of amber sunglasses and a bit of polished brass, and just tack the flashlight (with the lens taped over the flashlight for a lens filter to tint the light gold) and the brass in the bottom of the case to reflect it up at whoever opens it. The newer LED flashlights go long enough on a set of batteries that you could just leave it on all night.

    You'd want to angle the flashlight so it shines down toward the hinge of the suitcase so the light is indirect.
  5. Darth_Knight1's Avatar
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    Sep 27, 2011, 10:18 AM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #5

    Abaris said: View Post
    Simple. Just buy a yellow minibulb with the holder at a electronics shop (they're really cheap), a battery and a photosensitive diode.
    Sounds good. Curious, any way to set up this rig with a pressure activated switch of some sort (e.g., so that minibulb will only activate/illuminate when I open the case)?
  6. Abaris is offline Abaris
    Sep 27, 2011, 10:22 AM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #6

    Not pressure but light. That's the function of the diode. When the case is closed there is no light so the diode doesn't let the electricity to flow, when you open it and the light is in the case, the bulb lights.
  7. Member Since
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    Sep 27, 2011, 12:51 PM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #7

    You could always rig something up like how a fridge light works. A little switch that closes when the hinge opens.
  8. robstyle's Avatar
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    Sep 27, 2011, 3:47 PM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #8

    The original was just a light bulb with gel over it.

    Look into basic automotive style dome lights. This is the dome light in my Honda Element that ive swapped out with a 48 SMD LED panel. They are available in lower numbers as that one lights up the interior of my car like daylight. Id guesstimate you could make the entire assembly for under $20 with a micro switch installed into the briefcase frame.

  9. RPF Premium Member CessnaDriver's Avatar
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    Sep 27, 2011, 3:52 PM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #9

    I wonder if yellow LED's would be warm enough looking.

    It might be better to go with incandescent, granted it's subtle but it may
    invoke the onscreen look better. Some yellow gel for the golden look and some reflective foil to spread it about.
  10. RPF Premium Member kurtyboy's Avatar
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    Sep 27, 2011, 6:03 PM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #10

    I'd go for an old fashioned bulb!

    CessnaDriver said: View Post
    I wonder if yellow LED's would be warm enough looking.

    It might be better to go with incandescent, granted it's subtle but it may
    invoke the onscreen look better. Some yellow gel for the golden look and some reflective foil to spread it about.
  11. Member Since
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    Sep 28, 2011, 3:36 AM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #11

    I'm surprised nobody mentioned the "Critical Film Studies" episode of "Community." Jeff bought Abed the briefcase from "Pulp Fiction" as a birthday gift. Troy opens the case and the heat from the incandescent bulb sets the certificate of authenticity on fire. Of course, the briefcase turns out to be a fake ("Pulp Fiction" prop, it's still a real briefcase), but it's the thought that counts.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  12. Darth_Knight1's Avatar
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    Feb 27, 2012, 8:43 PM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #12

    It's been a while since there's been any activity this thread, so figured I'd post a quick update to share the final product. Long story short, my Pulp Fiction costume (and briefcase) have been finished for a while now, so I wanted to post some pics of how I ended up creating the "glowing" briefcase effect...

    Ordered a Not 100%-But-Still-Pretty-Darn-Close-to-Movie-Accurate Black Franzen Briefcase Off eBay
    Note: HUGE thanks to Kurtyboy for his help on this. His knowledge, resources and insight were truly invaluable. Big kudos!!!


    Lock Close-Up


    Added a Fluorescent Light Bulb (Sprayed w/ Yellow Coloring), Lightbulb Socket, 12V Battery and Refrigerator Light Switch to Create the Yellowish "Glow" Effect That Illuminates Only When Suitcase is Opened


    Close-Up of Lightbulb Setup


    Front Profile of Open/Lit Briefcase
    Note: When costuming as one of the Pulp Fiction characters at a convention, I never open the briefcase whenever there's a possibility that someone could see the lightbulb setup from the front or side (e.g., I make sure other people are in front of me only, not at my sides or in back of me). If I'm surrounded by a lot of people, I've found that just cracking the case open a bit to reveal the glowing light peeking through is more than enough to create the excitement of the whole "What's in the case?!" mystery.


    Side Profile of Open/Lit Briefcase #1


    Side Profile of Open/Lit Briefcase #2
    Last edited by Darth_Knight1; Apr 11, 2013 at 6:02 AM.
  13. RPF Premium Member
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    Feb 27, 2012, 8:53 PM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #13

    I love it.

    Well done!!!
  14. Rev Marsh's Avatar
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    Feb 27, 2012, 9:14 PM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #14

    Fantastic! I love props you can almost get away with using daily.
  15. "Roy-ale with cheese" RPF Premium Member jasonw2112's Avatar
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    Feb 27, 2012, 9:59 PM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #15

    Looks like that should work.

    I'm pretty sure it has been brought up before, but has anyone ever found out what was really in the suitcase?
    I thought I had read somewhere, that it was Marcellous Wallace's soul. Then again who knows!
  16. FakeBritishAccent's Avatar
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    Feb 28, 2012, 1:03 AM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #16

    "Perfect. Perfect. We couldn'tve planned this better."
  17. RPF Premium Member
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    Feb 28, 2012, 8:21 AM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #17

    jasonw2112 said: View Post
    Looks like that should work.

    I'm pretty sure it has been brought up before, but has anyone ever found out what was really in the suitcase?
    I thought I had read somewhere, that it was Marcellous Wallace's soul. Then again who knows!
    Quote from Roger Avery:

    Roger Avery said:
    Originally the briefcase contained diamonds. But that just seemed too boring and predictable. So it was decided that the contents of the briefcase were never to be seen. This way each audience member would fill in the blank with their own ultimate contents. All you were supposed to know was that it was "so beautiful." No prop master can come up with something better than each individual's imagination. At least that was the original idea. Then somebody had the bright idea (which I think was a mistake) of putting an orange lightbulb in there. Suddenly what could have been anything became anything supernatural. Didn't need to push the effect. People would have debated it for years anyway, and it would have been much more subtle. I can't believe I'm actually talking about being subtle.
  18. MoviefanAZ's Avatar
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    Feb 28, 2012, 4:02 PM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #18

    jasonw2112 said: View Post
    Looks like that should work.

    I'm pretty sure it has been brought up before, but has anyone ever found out what was really in the suitcase?
    I thought I had read somewhere, that it was Marcellous Wallace's soul. Then again who knows!

    I heard that as well. I thought that was the why he had a bandage on the middle of his neck.
  19. ComedicHistory's Avatar
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    Feb 28, 2012, 4:04 PM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #19

    Looks awesome, this is something I probably never would have thought to do. Simple but spot on, great job!
  20. MoviefanAZ's Avatar
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    Feb 29, 2012, 7:51 AM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #20

    I also forgot to say that it does look great. Well done!
  21. Onkelpsycho's Avatar
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    Feb 29, 2012, 8:13 AM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #21

    I think in the movie its more shiny. When I saw the movie the first time I first thought it have to be gold bricks inside...

    The I read somewhere that it is Wallace' soul...

    Whatever, looks nice... If it were more gold-shiny it would look perfect.
  22. PaulEscolar's Avatar
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    Nov 3, 2012, 7:48 AM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #22

    This Thread is amazing. I've been wanting to do this for years.

    In Fact i have been sitting on a Franzen suitcase for a couple years now, Maybe it's time to tackle this project too!

    Question: Is the Pulp Fiction Movie suitcase intact BLACK? sometimes it looks dark brown and other scenes it looks black. (i have a brown one with a seam down the middle ;( )

    Construction: I was thinking of some sort of Mini Tube Lightbox type set up with maybe a flat yellow/orange Plexi surface... to hide the electronics. But that would just be making things unnecessarily pretty, i guess.
  23. Darth_Knight1's Avatar
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    Nov 24, 2012, 1:11 AM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #23

    PaulEscolar said: View Post
    Question: Is the Pulp Fiction Movie suitcase intact BLACK? sometimes it looks dark brown and other scenes it looks black. (i have a brown one with a seam down the middle ;( )

    Construction: I was thinking of some sort of Mini Tube Lightbox type set up with maybe a flat yellow/orange Plexi surface... to hide the electronics. But that would just be making things unnecessarily pretty, i guess.
    Good question. Yes, actual briefcase from film was indeed black. As for construction, the minitube lightbox setup may indeed work. If you do go that route, just be sure to post lots of pics so fellow RPFers can see your progress.
  24. Epona_Rhi's Avatar
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    Nov 24, 2012, 9:31 AM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #24

    I love it!! Very well done! Also: Nice idea using that refrigerator switch!
  25. Member Since
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    Nov 28, 2012, 9:02 PM - Re: Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas? #25

    Darth_Knight1 said: View Post
    Good question. Yes, actual briefcase from film was indeed black. As for construction, the minitube lightbox setup may indeed work. If you do go that route, just be sure to post lots of pics so fellow RPFers can see your progress.
    Wow, what timing, I'm so glad I found your thread. Just wanted to ask what kind of battery that is exactly. I have one of those yellow coated 'bug' bulbs, a socket, and a spare closet door light switch (same idea as your refrigerator switch). Got stumped on what the best option would be for power though.

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