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REVIEWED: AFX Light Cloudy-Pro
By Alastair Craig.
At any wedding, supplying a ‘dancing on the clouds’ effect can provide theatrical magic. The images it produces, as well as the reaction of guests, can be nothing short of spectacular. When used effectively, even on its own, the atmosphere the effect creates will last forever in the guests’ memories.

Combining this with well-thought-out lighting, perhaps even additional effects such as sparks or confetti cannons, you are then in total production mode, creating a truly spectacular introduction to the evening’s festivities.

In the past, the most common machines used to achieve the ‘clouds’ effect relied on dry ice, which comes in the form of solid carbon dioxide (CO₂). Although dry ice machines can be used to great effect, they have certain limitations. For example, the amount of ice you need for a first dance could be around 10kg, but you would also need to allow for a loss of between 2kg and 3kg a day whilst in transport and storage. The ice has the unusual property of 'subliming' – that is, going from a solid to a gas without passing through a liquid phase (which is how it gets the name ‘dry ice’).

Additionally, there is the cost. 10kg of dry ice, including delivery, can cost around £65 to £85 – for an effect that will last around five minutes. Have a Saturday wedding, or worse, a Sunday one? Then you need to hedge your bets and get more than that 10kg to be safe. Your delivery on a Friday may turn out to be an empty box on Sunday, especially if you haven’t carefully followed the storage guidelines.

Safety is also paramount when handling dry ice, as it’s a substance that starts out at -79 degrees and can cause burns if handled incorrectly. Something else worth mentioning is that you will also be handling very hot water; you are creating a kind of explosion, bringing together the hot water and the cold ice. To sum up dry ice: there is a lot to it, and whilst the result is spectacular, it is expensive to create and you need to really know what you are doing.

Luckily, here in 2024, we now have some alternatives: AFX Light's Cloudy-Pro, Cloudy-Max and the Cloudy range's big brother (and the subject of this review), the Cloudy-Pro.

Many venues I work with are listed buildings and therefore any type of smoke or dry ice effect is restricted. Although, more often than not, venues will just enforce a complete ban on all types of fog effects. So, I was pleasantly surprised to be invited to test various effects at a new venue. They specifically asked if they could arrange a trial of different foggers. The venue team had certain criteria: fog output, low lying, ease of use, and budget. They didn’t want to go the dry ice route due to the implications of needing a specialist operator to use it.
The issue of ordering and handling the dry ice was also a contributing factor. Another factor that I had to take into consideration was the venue’s sustainability credentials. As dry ice evaporates it lets off greenhouse gases, and with transport and storage put in the mix, it was a better idea to look at a water-based machine. At least with a water-based machine the waste is more manageable and less detrimental to the atmosphere.
With these factors in mind, I was eager to try out a new water-based, low-lying fogger to see if it could produce a comparable effect for such magical moments. The AFX Light's Cloudy-Pro 3000W promises professional-grade low fog effects with its hefty power consumption and feature-packed design. But does it deliver on its frosty promises, or is it all smoke and mirrors? I put this low-lying fog machine to the test to help you decide if it's the cool addition your events need.
Right out of the box, the Cloudy-Pro exudes a sense of quality. Its robust metal casing feels built to last, and the included wheels and carry case make transportation a breeze (despite the hefty 39.5kg weight).

Setup is straightforward with clear instructions and a well-laid-out control panel. The dual fog outputs and generous 2-litre fog fluid tank hint at its ability to handle large spaces.
The additional tank contains two chilling units where distilled water is contained to help create the dense fog effect. The water can either be manually filled or there is a ‘float’ mechanism for connecting to a more permanent supply of water via a hose connector.

The 3000W heating element promises fast heat-up times and impressive fog output. In practice, it delivers. The machine reaches operating temperature in a brisk four to seven minutes, and the fog production is indeed substantial, easily filling a large room with a dense, low-lying blanket. The adjustable fog volume and fan speed allow for precise control over the effect, creating anything from a subtle haze to a dramatic cloud cover. When switched on, the unit created a lovely low-lying fog effect, which sat at a uniform height of around two feet before dispersing.

The test was conducted in a room which didn’t have air conditioning fully installed; with that I noticed the blanket of fog moving in a uniform fashion across the dancefloor area before dispersing. This goes to show that a heavy fog fluid is essential.

Coverage was impressive. With its twin hose configuration and variable fans, the unit specifications claim it can cover 400 square metres, and although I didn’t test to that amount of space, I imagine it could easily live up to these claims.

The Cloudy-Pro offers multiple control options: manual, remote control, and DMX. The included wireless remote is handy for on-the-fly adjustments, while DMX caters to integration with lighting rigs. The LCD display provides clear feedback on settings and timers, making operation intuitive, even for a first-time user.

Safety is paramount when using a machine of this nature and the Cloudy-Pro takes it seriously. It boasts built-in safety features like auto shutoff, in case of overheating or low fluid level. Additionally, the included fog hose is heat resistant and features a safety valve, minimising the risk of burns.

While the Cloudy-Pro impresses with its power and features, the machine's size and weight need to be considered. It’s a big machine and you’ll need suitable transport, whilst the smallest venues may not warrant something of this size.

The AFX Light Cloudy-Pro 3000W is a powerful and versatile machine that delivers professional-grade low fog effects. Its robust build, multiple control options, and safety features make it a compelling option for event production companies, large venues, and serious hobbyists.

If you're looking for a machine that can create truly impressive low-fog effects and handle large spaces, the Cloudy-Pro is a chillingly good choice. Just remember, like any powerful tool, it requires responsible use and proper safety precautions.
The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 124, Pages 74-76.
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