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Scenery Q.O.T.W.-Stained glass windows in a drop?

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by Footer, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    You are working on a Production of Camelot.

    For one scene the designer wants a drop that has stained glass windows in it that appear to be illuminated. How do you achieve this and what should you ask the lighting department to do to help? What materials and procedures should you use?
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2009
  2. JChenault

    JChenault Well-Known Member

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    Re: Scenery Q.O.T.D.-Stained glass windows in a drop?

    I see a couple of ways.

    1 - cut the window in your drop and support it with scenery net.
    2 - build a light box for the stained glass window. Put in a Plexiglass face and either paint it with translucent something, or apply gels.
    3 - Fly it on the next upstage pipe or on the scenery pipe.
    If you put it on the scenery pipe, the drop will not hang flat. If you put it on the upstage pipe, there will be a gap between the drop and window, so be sure to make the window a bit overlarge.​

    - or -

    1 - cut the window in your drop and support it with scenery net.
    2 - get some clear vinyl plastic and apply to the back of the drop.
    3 - paint the vinyl with some kind of translucent dye.
    4 - Hit it with backlight from above.

    Be careful about reflection from the plastic. You probably want to keep front light off of the window in either approach.
  3. MNBallet

    MNBallet Active Member

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    Re: Scenery Q.O.T.D.-Stained glass windows in a drop?

    I like the second idea better. However, I come from a touring background so it's less to pack in a truck and less fly lines used. I think it's also quicker and easier to do. The only think to advoid is paint brush strokes, unless you like that look. There are gels at craft stores that you puddle on the plastic and then let dry to advoid brush strokes. But you would have had that issue on the plexiglass on the light box as well.

    Of course, you could be the set designer and pass it off claming the lighting designer has to do it. (have had that done to me)
  4. FatherMurphy

    FatherMurphy Active Member

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    Another, more old-school approach would be to start with a new muslin drop, size with starch (not paint), and paint the front side, leaving window area blank. Hang drop, put light in front, and carefully backpaint around window area with a heavy, opaque paint, making the backpainted area as large as needed. Window area can then be stained with dyes or watery paint, muntions/mullions touched up, and the drop used with all front light or a back light. This would keep you from having to cut holes, glue net, build light boxes, consume extra linesets, etc., plus you'd have a reusable drop when the show is over.

    You might want to do the backpainting after doing base colors, but before finish painting, just in case the backpaint bleeds through to the front.
  5. BrianWolfe

    BrianWolfe Active Member

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    I have used the dyed muslin drop and it works really well with a strong back light while minimizing the spill from the front lights. Aniline dyes really punch up the color of the "glass".
  6. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    There are a few ways to do this, all of which were mentioned. For the sake of simplicity, dying the muslin you want to look like glass with Aniline dyes is the way to go.

    There are several tricks to pulling this effect off however.
    First, you much mask off both sides of the drop that you want the window to appear. Pain the front of the drop as you usually would. When you finish the front, flip the drop over and paint the back of the drop as well (just needs to be a solid color), making sure where you want the windows to appear is masked. After both sides of the drop is painted, you can now pull the masking and the window can be painted in.

    The reason for the back painting of the drop is to make the line between where light can get through the drop (the window), and the place where no light can get through (the wall) as sharp as possible. This allows the lighting design to focus as much light at the window as possible and get it to appear as light is just coming through the window.

    Here is a image from the production that this was done on....
    [​IMG]
  7. BrianWolfe

    BrianWolfe Active Member

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    Nice photo of the stain glass technique. That is our armour in the photo.
  8. Cashwalker

    Cashwalker Member

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    I wasn't catching on when people started suggesting muslin.... Nice effect.

    Question - the lines emanating from the window - Is that a lighting effect or a painting effect? (Both?)
  9. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I want to say lighting, its from the haze in the air, but I could be wrong on that. I did not get an upclose look at that drop when it was done... I was busy building the next show.

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