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Color Changing Curtains

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by lighttechie5948, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. lighttechie5948

    lighttechie5948 Active Member

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    In Shows on Broadway, like Mary Poppins and Lion King, the masking on the side of the stage usually changes color. I was wondering how this is done. Is it a fiber-optic curtain?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    I know the Lion Kings masking is hard masking. I think it is made of plexi covered with fabric with strip lights inside that go all the way up. There is black hard masking that can fly in and out to cover up the legs.
     
  3. lighttechie5948

    lighttechie5948 Active Member

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    What is the cheapest way this can be done? I want to use masking like this in a high scale dance recital production I am designing this June.
     
  4. ScottH

    ScottH Member

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    Well, the most "low-tech" way (which usually means low-cost) would be to hang lights to illuminate it externally. Some painstaking shutter cuts and some clever cueing can make the panel change color before your very eyes.
    Alternatively, if you've got some capital at your disposal you can hang less lights and add scrollers or other types of color changers. I would discourage LED if you are front lighting as it is difficult to control the spill of this type of light. You can use LEDs if you are lighting a fabric/plexi panel from the rear because you can build the panel to block light from escaping around it.

    Side note: A fiber optic curtain would give you the illusion of a starry night sky. Fiberoptics carry light thru plastic "tubes" to a surface. The light is only visible thru the end point of each "tube". You're thinking of an LED curtain that would glow like that.

    Good Luck
     
  5. lighttechie5948

    lighttechie5948 Active Member

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    Would it work if i had the set people built a structure with 2x4s and put fabric over it, then put a par on the top and bottom with scrollers lighting it?
     
  6. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    That would work but you'd probably want to use bard doors as well to cut down on bleed.
     
  7. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    I would build a mock up of the units and see how well 2 lights will work before you try and sell the idea and then have to make it work. My fear is that the wash will not very even. Perhaps with the bottle running parallel to the fabric it could work. It might be an interesting look though, just not the one you are going for.
     
  8. ScottH

    ScottH Member

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    The trick there would be preventing shadows being cast by any horizontal members within the structure. If its quite a tall element, there will need to be support pieces running from side to side. Ask the set builders to be sparing with these and then consider adding a unit (a birdie perhaps)where each of these pieces occur. This will also prevent a drop off in light level and keep the center of the element from looking dark. (And frost the heck out of them)
     
  9. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I'll ask my usual question before I go any further... Do you guys have anyone who can weld and the facilitys to weld safely?
     
  10. lighttechie5948

    lighttechie5948 Active Member

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    Possibly. I'd need to ask around.
     
  11. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    You could do it cheaply with panels and two Wash LEDs.

    Mike
     
  12. ScottH

    ScottH Member

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    Steel would certainly help you. You still might have some light drop off in the center of the panel tho. Frost or silk will help but you still may have to add units.
     
  13. David Ashton

    David Ashton Active Member

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    Scott- you can buy side emitting fibre optic tube,
    BillESC- we only use bard doors on Shakepearean productions.
     

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