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Help rigging scenes..

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by satinslipper, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. satinslipper

    satinslipper Member

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    This year my idea is to present a storybook theme where we perform 2 minute sketches of 3 different 'books'. Each book is to be performed in its own setting. The idea is to drop a curtain and change the entire setting from one to the next within 15-20 seconds. while said story is being read over the PA

    So i thought the best way woulkd be to do it with as much broadway trickery as possible. So this is where my question comes. I always see scenes hung from cables and slid from side to side of the stage on what looks to be a track and set into place. For instance if i wanted to create sand dunes for an Aladdin type scene and then transition into a King Arthur type scene. How would i go about rigging these backdrops to slide quickly and effortlessly and how can i have the next scenes backdrops off to the side or hidden and ready to slide into pace after the initial is pushed off? the whole system would span 60 foot across and can not break the boundries. so after scene one is over those backdrops would basically be sitting on the side. Unless there is a track or way that would be more of a circle to push from left to right and then swing around behind the curtain?

    If all of this is too hard to figure out i am sorry haha i know what i am trying to ask, the words are just hard to explain ..

    HELP.. please ask any questions to further get information to answer my question...
     
  2. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    A drawing or even quick picture of the stage might help, but I gather there is no "rigging" in the space - no curtains and tracks, no battens that raise and lower, and perhaps no legs - side masking that hide scenery and performers to the sides.

    As soon as you said story book I did imagine large (scenery) flats hinged so you could literally turn pages, with a different scene/backdrop on each "two page" spread.
     
  3. StradivariusBone

    StradivariusBone Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    First thought about rotating them would be to use a rotodraper, but that would require hanging a track, designing a flat to be hung from the rotodraper and having an experienced professional design/build it to ensure it won't kill anyone. It sounds like you're imagining it running a loop in an oval track, but I think it would be easier to hang the flat from something that swivels. I don't think the rotodrapers are rated to hang that much though, so it may not be the best choice.

    Wagons with flats on them would be a far cheaper/easier/safer option though.
     
  4. satinslipper

    satinslipper Member

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    we build and rent everything from scratch.
     
  5. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    I think one inescapable truth - any scenery that sits on the floor is likely to be simpler, safer, and less costly than that which moves above the floor. If you have a rigging system and fly loft and competent people to operate it that difference lessens quite a bit.
     
  6. egilson1

    egilson1 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    One word: Periaktoi

    Do a series of them next to each other like you would see for a billboard. Build flats that then can hang on the sides of the periaktoi and be swapped out from the up stage side while a scene is running down stage of them. Come to think of it, it might work just to do as a 2 sided frame that rotates on it's access.
     
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  7. Evans Poulos

    Evans Poulos Active Member

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    Another vote for periaktoi! Did this last summer. 4x8 hardboard sheets painted and lined up all in a row. Spin them to scene change. We made 6 of them. As I recall, the wheels were the most costly bit of the project!
     
  8. StradivariusBone

    StradivariusBone Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Speaking of periaktoi- we built six of them that can be stored flat a year or two ago, at the recommendation of another thread here on the booth. Coincidentally we've just put them back together for our children's show, so I snapped a couple of photos that might help-

    IMG_3496.JPG
    This is what they look like assembled and on the caster platform.

    IMG_3497.JPG
    This is inside. They are standard broadway flats that have loose pin hinges on the sides. Disassembly just means taking the pins out. The bases are just 1x put together in a triangle and have whatever 2" casters we had available at the points.

    IMG_3498.JPG
    Here's a shot of two bases yet to be attached.

    I don't like how we ended up doing the "ledger" that sits on the caster triangle, but it works. I've also found that predrilling a few screws (2 in each side) from the bottom into the flats helps make the whole thing stable. They tended to fall off the triangle when pushed around for any length of time. The screws can be removed later on.

    Also, everything is color coded and labeled so each side lines up the same. This saves the headache of high schoolers who may or may not line up each hinge exactly the same on each flat. Each unit is also numbered, so there are 3 "1's", 3 "2;s", etc. I even went as far as to label the orientation that the triangle mates up on the bottom so that the screw holes are more likely to line up each time. Again, I credit the booth with this idea, but since I've got them out and assembled I figured I'd share it in case it helps! I definitely love these as scenic units for things that need to happen quickly and cheaply. Those Greeks knew what they were doing! I'll see if I can locate the other thread.

    Edit- Found it! https://www.controlbooth.com/threads/bunk-beds.37630/

    Props to @sk8rsdad and @josh88 for the advice!
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
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  9. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Periaktoi or an old fashioned horizontal roll drop.
     
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  10. satinslipper

    satinslipper Member

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    my point of show is to have one scene and have a curtain drop and change the scene in 20 seconds and when the curtain opens have a completly different scene out there. but i wanted to havea different backdrop out there ..

    we have dimensions as well we have to follow.. 22 feet high.. 60 feet wide and 120 feet back.. the philadelphia fancy brigade mummers parade.. if youtubing videos would help to see how elaborate the shows that we put on our.. it will help to get a grip of what i am trying to explain.. the reaason my question and explinations come off so unprofessional is because ..well we are not professionals haha
     
  11. josh88

    josh88 Remarkably Tired. Fight Leukemia

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    Yup, loose pin hinges make them easy to take apart, reassemble and store.
     
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  12. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Do you own the backdrops already?

    Does the space have rigging or any provisions for hanging tracks?

    I assumed no to both based on your earlier description but now not sure.
     
  13. satinslipper

    satinslipper Member

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    no its held in the convention center.. we rent everything.. adn we build the backdrops.. i was visioning making the props i want to move on door skins cut out to the shape wed like and painted.. so say the first story is a ali baba type story.. so the things id want to hang and move would be say 5 sand dunes to create just a backscape. and when those curtains drop those scenes would be pushed off and tucked away on stage left and from stage right the next scenes 5 painted doorskins would move into the same place as the sand dunes stood. But this time the story would be a merlin/knight story. so the 5 backdrops would b maybe 2 pillars, 2 banners, and a window.. and rthose would alsp have to put pushed off stage left.

    the point of our performance is to portray 3 stories, a pagemaster type story. and wed tell 3 stories and want to change the scenes three times behind a curtain. book opens .. alibaba is set up. havea 2 minute dance routine, curtain drops to reveal a huge page of a book on a kabuki drop system and as this page is read out behind the curtain the scene would be changing. this is when id want to slide those dunes off and slide in the merlin scene in.

    and then after 20 seconds of reading the kabuki drops, revealing the merlin story
     

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