Elastic/Bungee for "Marionette" dancers

gafftaper

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We are doing Chicago this spring. For "They both reached for the gun" we are thinking about having the backup dancers all being Marionettes on bungie cord. I'm thinking a set of lines that hang from a batten, Fly them in, actors slip on some sort of a wrist strap. Then we raise it back out a foot to put some tension on the lines, and the actors dance. Scene over we fly the whole thing out. It would look really cool.

Has anyone done anything like this before? Any suggestions on what sort of elastic material to use for the lines in order to keep this low budget? I can get something like this cheap enough, but I am afraid that true bungee will be to strong. I don't want the dancers to be struggling to pull on the lines. We want it to give and flex easily so they can easily move. Any suggestions beyond just buy some and see how it works? Thanks!
 

What Rigger?

I'm so fly....I Neverland.
I like the sewing elastic idea. Just keep in mind that if you’re tying or hitching the elastic or bungee it has to be under tension to do it. It will also be easy for it to untie itself depending on the method used. That’s why bungees for aerial and stunt stuffs get clipped with a giant sort of staple that holds the loops together.
 

gafftaper

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So I was looking around and I found "Sgt Knots" a military vet owned and operated company that specializes in rope, webbing, shock cord, paracord, etc... I dropped them a message asking what they would recommend I use for my project that will be heavy enough to be seen while being light enough in tension that a small 15 year old girl can dance and sing while pulling on it for 5 minutes. They are on the East Coast and I'm on the West so my message arrived about 5pm their time. I got an email back from Cindy in customer service almost immediately promising to go out to the warehouse first thing in the morning to give several different products a pull for herself to tell me what she thought. This morning at 6:25am Pacific time I got a lengthy email back with Cindy's impressions of various products and suggesting that I use a combined approach of several feet of elastic located at the top out of sight connected to a heavier shock cord in sight. That way it would have a lot of give, but the visual would be better. She even sent a link to a product in their discount warehouse deals page that might work. I am SO impressed with the level of customer service! Regardless of how my project turns out, I encourage you all to click on over to https://sgtknots.com/ check them out and consider them for your next purchase.
 
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gafftaper

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I love a good customer service story and a place to get some unique stuff. The link you used didn't work for me and I had better luck with https://sgtknots.com/
Thanks I fixed the link. Yeah it's always fun to find a source of cool unique supplies and when it comes with a great customer service story too... I just had to post about it right away.
 

Malabaristo

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Hopefully you've already thought about this, but keep in mind how that lineset will move while in use. Even if the dancers stay perfectly underneath it (hint: they won't), their movements will be transmitted through the elastic to the batten and will soon have it swinging along with its own somewhat erratic choreography. It will probably also take a while to settle down at the end of the scene, so you'll want to consider whether that might prevent you from flying it out in a timely fashion..
 

RonHebbard

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Hopefully you've already thought about this, but keep in mind how that lineset will move while in use. Even if the dancers stay perfectly underneath it (hint: they won't), their movements will be transmitted through the elastic to the batten and will soon have it swinging along with its own somewhat erratic choreography. It will probably also take a while to settle down at the end of the scene, so you'll want to consider whether that might prevent you from flying it out in a timely fashion..
Consider a forged eye-bolt at each end of the fly pipe with a taught length of aircraft cable passing freely through it.
At the top anchored to your grid with its lower end anchored to your deck as a wire guide. At deck level run it through a safety orange cone to warn denizens of your stage (and overnight cleaners) of its presence.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

gafftaper

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Hopefully you've already thought about this, but keep in mind how that lineset will move while in use. Even if the dancers stay perfectly underneath it (hint: they won't), their movements will be transmitted through the elastic to the batten and will soon have it swinging along with its own somewhat erratic choreography. It will probably also take a while to settle down at the end of the scene, so you'll want to consider whether that might prevent you from flying it out in a timely fashion..
Yeah I've been considering this. Since I will be flying them in for this scene and then back out afterwards any anchors need to able to move into position. So I've been thinking about running a rope off the end of these battens to my mid fly. When the batten is flown into position, I'll can have a tech tie off the line to the mid fly to help stabilize it. It's not a perfect solution, but we are going to have to just test it out and see how it works. I'm hoping that using something with a lot of give to it like the elastic will help reduce the force acting on the batten and therefore reduce the movement. But yeah it's going to be a problem. Gotta get some elastic and test it.
 

What Rigger?

I'm so fly....I Neverland.
How many marionette lines? If it’s just 2, could you grid the batten and then run a separate line to each? Attach via prusik to the elastic and run those lines over pulleys in the loft and just have the crew untie and lower them in/haul them out?
 

derekleffew

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Pssst, Bryan...like this...

Nsync_pass.JPG

Except with chix instead of doods. Five dancers, 4 lines each (hand, hand, foot, foot) = 20 lines.

Didn't I see you at this concert?
 

gafftaper

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How many marionette lines? If it’s just 2, could you grid the batten and then run a separate line to each? Attach via prusik to the elastic and run those lines over pulleys in the loft and just have the crew untie and lower them in/haul them out?
I don't have a grid, but I do have two catwalks over the stage which the lines could be tied off to and hand lowered. It would be slower, but it's a solid alternative.
 

What Rigger?

I'm so fly....I Neverland.
Pssst, Bryan...like this...

View attachment 22583
Except with chix instead of doods. Five dancers, 4 lines each (hand, hand, foot, foot) = 20 lines.

Didn't I see you at this concert?
I rocked similar hair in this era, but I was down the Blink-182/Linkin Park/Avril Lavigne rabbit hole. I know I didn't work it, I had to be up early for Duelling Pirates in the morning.
 

What Rigger?

I'm so fly....I Neverland.
I don't have a grid, but I do have two catwalks over the stage which the lines could be tied off to and hand lowered. It would be slower, but it's a solid alternative.
The other thing to look out for is friction. If the lines are too lightweight they won't run over a pulley or a rail. If too much of the line is on the "offstage" side of the wheel/handrail, you could actually wind up with them running back to the bitter end of the line. A common occurence with, say, 1:1 flying sytems in a nursery when the client takes the bag weight off and doesn't hold onto the fly line. :)
 

seanandkate

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I don't have a grid, but I do have two catwalks over the stage which the lines could be tied off to and hand lowered. It would be slower, but it's a solid alternative.
Could you be able to get the tension that you need that way?
 

gafftaper

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Well the choreographer has pulled the plug on this idea. She want's to have over 20 backup dancers in the song and I was thinking about rigging up like 5 or 6. So it's not gonna happen, but hey it was fun to think about and I found a new place to shop for rope, webbing, shock cord, and para-cord!
 

gafftaper

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For posterity, when we use bungee we often terminate it with hog rings:
I had just started to investigate that and was going to ask for some hog ring suggestions when this got canceled.
 

What Rigger?

I'm so fly....I Neverland.
For posterity, when we use bungee we often terminate it with hog rings:
Thank you @kicknargel. The term escaped me for a bit. You know what's fun about these? When you're making new bundles and one lets go and the whole assembly "explodes". Below deck. On a 3 masted windjammer. In a theme park. 👀
 

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