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Propane’s Role In Television and Movies

Aug 24, 2020

Home heating, grilling, camping and the show King of the Hill are some things commonly thought of when the word “propane” is mentioned.

In a nutshell, propane uses are fairly mundane, which is understandable for any commodity that people purchase. What the general public doesn’t know is the fun side of propane. 

 Propane is commonly used for special effects in movies and tv shows. A California based special effects company, Rowley SFX, weighed in on their use of propane during an interview with Insider. They mentioned that propane is a relatively cheap and efficient way to create real explosions during scenes. When they’re dealing with large explosions, testing is very important to ensure safety of the cast and crew. 
Certain explosions can take over 50 test runs before filming the actual shot!
To keep production costs down during the strict testing regime, propane is utilized for its relatively cheap price per gallon and controllability. Pecos Propane stumbled across this unique market for propane back in 2016. Allegra Pacheco, the COO of Pecos Propane, had planned to network within the film industry and provide propane powered generators for power on sets, as well as cylinders to fuel the food trucks. What she didn’t expect was the demand for larger quantities of propane from special effects teams to create real-life explosions for the scenes. 
An actual explosion gives the actors a much more similar environment to work within compared to only CGI effects. Explosions during the shot scene also allow for easier CGI implementation as they have a framework to build on. 
While commonly thought of as a simple commodity, propane serves as one of the most eye-catching parts in many of your favorite movies and shows!