fabric, lights and fire hazards


we're interested in flying in a curtain that can be "ripped" down in the middle of a scene... this scares me...

the line that this curtain would be attached to is about a foot behind a light bar...

what type of fabric would you suggest using??? it really can't be too heavy (since the attachment to the line would only be temporary (velcro?) in order to pull it down)... also being that it is so close to a light bar, i'm worried about it getting too hot... i'm really at a loss here...


One foot should be ok...
generaly a 500 watt fresnel should be kept 6in away from stuff.... but 1 foot for a boarders that are probably 100-200watts a foot is fine... the light isn't directly focused on the fabric is it?

just remember.... ripping it down will cuz the batton to swing and hit other lines and the lights possibly.
Why not have it on a line and then release the line go when the person pulls a little bit on the fabric. It might take a little bit of rehearsing, but it would work easier.
why not use a batten or line that is farther back to avoid the problem altogether
thank you all for the suggestions...

here are a couple of things in response to them:

the light isn't focused on the fabric - the light bar is behind (or in front of, meaning that the lights face the other direction)...

i didn't understand the second reply about releasing the line - if you release the line won't the curtain go up??? it should really be "torn" down...

unfortunately the stage has only four lines and they've all been stricktly assigned... even if we don't end up "tearing down" the curtain, it must remain on the line we've planned on hanging it from...

still, just so i'd have something to report, does any one have a specific fabric suggestion for this type of project and the location that it is in...

thank you again!!!
I do believe that Foxinabox ment rig it so that a stage hand could pull a line attached to the curtain to drop it rather than rippin it off and in turn causing the batton to move wildly.
You're right ricc0luke.
I have done kinda the same thing for the opening of Sweeney Todd. I made a wooden batten and attached oversized squeeze clamps (cothes pin type thingy) about 1 every foot. Any light weight muslin wil do. Technically you should apply fire retardant on all scenery. Rosco sells it and you can just spray it on with a hudson-sprayer.
douvateen might be a good product as well. Irregargless of what fabric you decide to use, take some of the fabric and a light fixture to a safe place and set it up and see if it causes you any fire issues.
More than that, do a simple flame test on the fabric you have in mind to use.

Take a 4" sample and hold it vertically into a 1 ½" flame (butane lighter) for 12 seconds. It will definately smpolder, but no combustion should be noted. Upon removal from the flame, any smoldering in the tested area should self-extinguished in under five seconds.

If all is cool, your're good to go.

If not, check the rosco catalog for flame retardant appropriate to your type of fabric and apply as per the mfg's directions. Then re-test. I use Rosco C-26 on muslin and other cottons on a very regular basis with excellent results.

John O.

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