Advice for lighting in clothing for a custom costume idea I had based on Quantum Leap

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

RettMikhal

New Member
Hello. First time poster, long time lurker. I had a crazy idea for a themed costume the other day, which would involve using a complicated lighting system attached to my body. I'm not sure how feasible it is and would like advice.

The idea is to replicate, as much as technologically possible, the lighting effects from Quantum Leap when Dr. Beckett accomplishes his goal and leaps to another life. For your reference:

I think it would be cool to cosplay as Dr. Beckett, possibly with my friend dressed as Al (with gummy bear Ziggy controller) going around doing good deeds at conventions only to trigger the leaping sequence afterwards. The easy part is the costume and sound; any 1950s casual wear will do and is easy to find and the sound can just come from a phone app and a bluetooth speaker. As for powering the suit, it's not so much of an issue as if the batteries become too heavy or bulky to hide on my person I can just carry a briefcase or grocery bag as part of the character.

If you're wondering if I look like Dr. Beckett (aka Scott Bakula), I don't actually have to. Get it? Fridge logic.

I fully accept how ridiculous an idea this is. But I also accept how badass it would be if it worked.

There are a number of challenges to the idea.
1. Lighting on the face and hands, if it is even possible.
2. Can lights be bright enough for the effect to be seen in the day, maybe indoors as opposed to under the direct sun, and small enough to be not heavily noticed from a reasonable distance? I am willing to accept it will only look photograph worthy at night and under ideal conditions.
3. Can a simple enough board or chaser kit accomplish the core to outside light fade effect?
4. Would it be possible to incorporate blue lasers into the design to simulate the light effects shooting into/out of Sam's body when he leaps in/out? FOLLOW UP: Tell me straight up how stupid that is because blue lasers are pretty strong and could blind people. Still would look badass.

I've been researching LED in clothing and while I could easily (if tediously) sew a thousand blue LEDs into a 1950s era costume, I wonder if it will end up looking more like Dynamo from Running Man than an average 1950s human.

I've found some resources that might help.

A company in Italy makes these luminscient fabrics for clothing, or by the sheet for custom projects. Fashion
I think these are more meant for a very subtle glow, and likely cannot be programmed for a core to outside effect. They could very easily via a resistance switch be programmed to fade in and out, though.

This company sells light diffusing plastic sheets which can be cut, molded and joined like any other plastic film. They say it diffuses the effect of an LED so that instead of looking like bright spots of color, they appear as large patches of color, which sounds perfect. This may also be a solution for the face and hands by embedding small LEDs to a film over my skin (whether or not I can breathe, won't be electrocuted, or can stand the heat of them is another matter). They will, however, do nothing to hide the wires. I suppose wires could be painted flesh tone easy enough, though. LED Light Diffusion Materials - Plastics & Films for Light Diffusing

For the LEDs themselves there are too many sources to name, from Amazon to my local electronics shop that still exists (Visit U-Do-It Electronics, folks!). I found these which promise to be ridiculously bright, but at 5 dollars for 2 it will also make me ridiculously broke. Dual Ultra Bright LED Cable, 4-pin, White

So that's it. Any thoughts, concerns, or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Riceball

Master Member
I think what you're looking to do would be very tricky to do live. All I can think of would be to paint everything with UV paint and hide "black" LEDs here and there that would cause your clothes to glow.
 

RettMikhal

New Member
I think what you're looking to do would be very tricky to do live. All I can think of would be to paint everything with UV paint and hide "black" LEDs here and there that would cause your clothes to glow.
Using UV paint is a very clever and economical solution I had not considered. Would blacklights or black LEDs work underneath a suit, by going through the cloth to illuminate the paint on top, I wonder? I would also position some under the brim of a hat to light up my face. It's worth looking into. I should buy some blue UV paint to test how effective it is.
 

Riceball

Master Member
Using UV paint is a very clever and economical solution I had not considered. Would blacklights or black LEDs work underneath a suit, by going through the cloth to illuminate the paint on top, I wonder? I would also position some under the brim of a hat to light up my face. It's worth looking into. I should buy some blue UV paint to test how effective it is.
If lighting from inside doesn't work or proves to be on the weak side, you could always hide a blacklight or UV light in the gummy of your friend that's playing AL, assuming you have an AL with you. That may help some, although I suspect that a light small enough to hide in a gummy won't cast the light wide enough to light you up from head to toe.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Top