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Convertable platforms

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by Adorian, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. Adorian

    Adorian Member

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    I have a project that involves me talking about convertable platforms. I was wondering if anyone had any general knowledge/advice on how best make and to use them and what you believe works best when using them. Kind of a pro's and con's list.
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Moving this thread to scenery, and could you define "convertable platforms", as I'm sure many, including myself, are unclear on what that is?
     
  3. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Here is a thread I started a couple years ago about my preferred platform technique to get you started... the search button is your friend. There are many options besides that one.

    Please answer the following:
    -What do you mean by convertible?

    -How many platforms are you building and what size do you need them to be

    -What is your budget?

    -How would you describe your carpentry skill level?
     
  4. Adorian

    Adorian Member

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    I had the platforms described to me as platforms that can be rolled around and make the different scenes in a show. Also called block platforms I believe. They need to be tall enough to make a grand staircase in one scene and then be moved around to make a small house. I think the technical definition is a platform that will convert into multiple scene and set pieces.

    The size and how many blocks all depend on how I can make them. The stage is smaller so I think we will have to go with a smaller amount. Maybe 4to 6 blocks.

    Right now the budget is five Hundred Dollars. I'm trying to get a little more, but the theatre is very small time and doesnt have much to give.

    Unfortunatly I'm beginner level. I understand certain techniques, but I'm still new at scene work so I'm not very good...but Im trying to learn! If It ends up being to hard we have a back up plan.
     
  5. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Hmm, Still a bit cloudy but let's take a stab at it. From what you are describing I'm imagining something along the lines of a "rehearsal cube" that can be stacked and moved around easily. Typically a rehearsal cube is a box made from 1/2" or 3/4" plywood. some are made 16x16x16 with 6 sides, some only have 5 sides. depending on your needs you can make some that are 24x8x8 , these convert into stairs easily enough, however, I would be vry concerned about stacking a lot of these ontop of each other without a proper means of securing them to each other.
     
  6. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Yeah I'm still confused too. Never heard the term "Block Platform". You used the word "roll" so I'm guessing Van's off with his rehearsal cubes. I'm thinking you are talking about larger platforms on wheels with different heights. Try a physical description of what they look like. Approximate measurements? Do they make a stairway or is a stairway added to them somehow?

    How realistic is this set... is this all sort of representational?
     
  7. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    Could this be a case of incorrect nomenclature? Should "platform" be "flat":

    I might be way off, but at a local school, I’ve seen rolling flats, though not very tall – maybe 8 feet. I think they have a pair of casters at each end. The casters are mounted on a short board that is perpendicular to the flat. (It’s like a movable blackboard.) Each side is different, and the crew just turns them around.

    Another “convertible” method I’ve seen is (for example) three flats hinged together like a book. When the flats are in place, the middle flat rests directly on one of the other two. The crew then “turns the page” to change the scene.

    (But that won’t give you a staircase.)

    Joe
     
  8. arik52

    arik52 Member

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    Do you mean something like this?:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Our set was made almost entirely out of various cubes with paint arranged to mesh together in specific scenes (six different scenes). We made the larger cubes out of 3/4" ply and used the jigsaw to cut two handles in each block and routed them for smoothness. The smaller ones were made out of 3/4" ply as well, but the top and bottom were 1/4" lauan instead of ply. These had handles in them as well. There was a third kind, the only one which actually held cube measurements. I believe this was made out of 3/4" ply as well if I remember correctly; however, I think we found them and they were most likely purchased for storage a while back, because we added a 6th face to close them off as cubes.
     
  9. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Sounds as though the OP is describing a sort of movable unit set: rearrange the scenery to indicate different locales. Currently, there are many articles in the trade magazines about a Broadway production of A Tale of Two Cities that employs this technique. Never heard an official name put to it though.
     
  10. Adorian

    Adorian Member

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    Arik52 has the right idea. The staircase is built into the platform and then rotated around to show a different part of the set on the other side.

    I'll call them cubes sense that seems to be the best term. The show is Cinderella so I'll use those scenes to describe it. The cubes are first seen in Cinderellas home with a firplace on one block and a staircase on another, the other's just have a side on them to look like the house. The blocks are then rotated around by crew members to the other side of the stage to make the Castle throne chambers. They are then rotated once again, showing that pieces of a staircase have been built into the rotating platforms. when the blocks are put together they form one level of stairs(from the ground to the top of the blocks where actors can stand) then another level starting there to the very top where Cinderella will make her appearance at the ball and where the prince and her will be married.

    I dont know if that helped at all, but thanks for trying! I'm meeting tomorrow to discuss the set and we may just change our idea, this is just what the director wanted us to try. Thanks again for trying!
     
  11. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Let us know how the meeting goes and try to be as specific as possible about what you need. We can certainly help you figure out how to build that easy enough.
     
  12. VCTMike

    VCTMike Active Member

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    I'm interested in this reference to A Tale of Two Cities as we are beginning design on this very show. Can you cite specific references or do you have copies of said articles that you could forward?
     

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