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Help I'm trying to fly our backdrops

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by lhicks2434, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. lhicks2434

    lhicks2434 Member

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    So I've been directing shows at our church for a while now, but this year we've decided to do a large scale production for our christmas show now that we're in our new sanctuary. Our stage in the sanctuary is quiet large in height as well as width. I need to be able to rig our backdrops without attaching to the walls or ceiling and it has to reach the Length of the stage. I would love to add tracks to the ceiling, but for some reason they won't let me. Does anyone have any other ideas?
     
  2. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Howdy!
    You'll find out rather quickly that practical discusions of a rigging nature are Verboten on ControlBooth as the liability incurred by giving such advice is tremendous. That being said however, I can tell you your best bet for doing rigging in a space such as you are talking about would be to contact a legitimate rigging company such as "Flying by Foy" or Stagecraft Industries. Not knowing where you are located makes it difficult to reccomend one company or the other. Whatever you do, do not try to " Just rig something up" that's a great way to get someone hurt. A company here in Portland who uses a converted Unitarian sanctuary as their theatre wanted to do Peter Pan a few years ago, they wound up getting in touch with Foy or Trapeze world, I can't remember which. They wound up building a sort of fly loft / truss system / proscenium arch system, that they still use today. Again this was a proffesionally built and engineered system. The rigging of scenery is just too dangerous to leave to amateurs.
    Hope that Helps.
     
  3. bobgaggle

    bobgaggle Well-Known Member

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    Just to reenforce what Van said, just because we don't talk about things doesn't mean certain members (me) don't rig stuff themselves. I rigged up a really light curtain and batten system (maybe 15 pounds) that would fly in at certain times during a show, and nothing went wrong. But during strike when I was taking it down, I noticed that I hadn't tightened some of the shackles (P.C. debate whatever) properly and one of the cables on the line set was about to come loose.

    In conclusion, ease and cost are no reasons to ignore safety.
     
  4. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    First off you need a REAL rigger to do this! Don't try to do it yourself. If you try to do it yourself it could easily end in disaster.

    Where are you at? Besides the many rigging shops around the country, there are also a lot of good riggers working in performance halls, for the unions, teaching at universities, and working at large theaters. I know a guy who teaches rigging at a university and does all kinds of consulting work on the side helping people make their facilities safe, inspecting systems for repair etc. He doesn't charge a lot and could easily help you fix your problem. Check around a bit you should be able to find a rigger who will at least come look at your building and tell you what can and can't be done for not a lot of money. If you have a good local theater dealer they may have someone on staff who will come do this for free as part of their sales process.

    You won't be able to do a lot without a large expensive permanent fly system. However, a few properly installed hanging points and the right equipment could allow you to temporarily install a batten or two or some truss that you can hang things from safely without permanently altering the appearance of the church. Find a REAL rigger and pay him/her to install those points, help you purchase the equipment you need to do it, and teach you how to use the system properly. If you just want to be able to hang a couple of battens or some truss that shouldn't be very hard with the help of a REAL rigger and my guess is it would cost around $5k-$10k for everything (depends on how much you install and if you motorize the whole thing so it is easy to install and remove and then there are possible permits and city code to deal with which could cost even more).

    You won't be able to rig a drop to fly in and out without a larger permanent fly system. You could build some roll drops or oleo/olio drops to allow you to have drops that come and go from a static pipe and they don't have to cost a lot (SEARCH and you'll find all you need to know).

    A second option would be to purchase a portable truss system. These consist of two stands on each end that support long pieces of truss across the stage, you then crank the stands up to a height of about 10-12 feet (depends on the product). They are easy to setup and store fairly compactly. Here's one 13' high and 13' wide for $1500. I think you can get them 20' or so wide. You can get small ones made for DJ's that are about 10' wide and 8' high for only a few hundred bucks... again check the load rating. You will need the help of that rigger or good local dealer to purchase the right equipment and teach you how to use it safely. You can hang a limited number of lights on one of these and/or a static drop. I wouldn't use an Oleo/Olio on one because the movement might be dangerous... but there may be newer designs that wouldn't have a problem with an Oleo... call a dealer/manufacturer and talk with them about what products they can sell you. Again where are you? Do you know a good local theater dealer? Depending on where you are there should be a dealer willing to come look at your church and give you pricing on a large install as well as a portable system that would work.

    A third option would be some sort of standing truss structure. This might need to be secured from above by that rigger again... depends on the design. Here's a website from a company that specializes in trade show booths. I don't know if that particular product is rated for hanging things from it... I just liked the pictures in that gallery. There are other stage specific products that you should actually look at for purchasing. You are still talking a few thousand bucks... more than the crank up stand most likely but more sturdy too... depending on the design. You need to talk with a dealer or rigger for more help. Take a look at Global Truss website they are one of the better manufacturers in the industry and you can get some ideas about what can be done with truss. Again you need the help of a good dealer or rigger though to make sure it's the safe product for your application, don't just buy straight from the manufacturer.

    However, all that said, my guess is that you are not one of the lucky few who attends a mega church with vast budgets for productions and facilities upgrades and even a $2,000+ portable system may be out of your reach. I suggest you consider building a free standing wall of flats that is 10 or 12 feet high instead of hanging things. We can give you all the help you need to do that right here and you should be able to do it for around $500 or so (depending on the size) and have something that can be reused again and again.

    Why don't you give us a better idea of the space. Either post a picture or a drawing and give us dimensions of how large the stage is as well as height to overhead things. I bet we can help you slap something together that would solve your problems on the ground for a lot less than a hung project. Do you have anyone in the church who is a welder that would be willing to help build your wall?
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2008
  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Possibly some useful information in this thread.
     
  6. What Rigger?

    What Rigger? I'm so fly....I Neverland.

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    Not at home, that's for sure.
    If you're in Texas, then call Tomcat down in Midland/Odessa maybe.

    Tomcat USA
     
  7. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Oh another great option could be pipe and drape. Lot's of manufacturers here's the first one I hit on The Google.
     
  8. lhicks2434

    lhicks2434 Member

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    Well I did all the rigging for the different school productions that our drama department did with the help of a friend that did alot with the local theatre unfortunately he is gone now. However I love the idea of a portable truss system. That is really seems like it will be the best idea. Can anyone tell me more about that and where I might purchase that. I'm located outside of Houston Texas.
     
  9. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    you have a pm, i am located in houston, and can help you out.
     

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