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How to make a Silhouette

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by OtisCampbell, Jul 17, 2007.

  1. OtisCampbell

    OtisCampbell Member

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    I'm doing a children's show and the set will have some whimsical houses in the background made out of hard (luan) flats. Basically, my idea is to outline these houses with purple light to create an "outer glow" or "silhouette" effect that will be faded up whenever the business on stage is supposed to be inside the girl's imagination. So, when the girl is in her bedroom, the silhouette lighting will be off. If an imaginary character comes on stage or if she is in the imaginary village, the silhouette light will be brought up.

    The director likes the idea so now I'm stuck with making it happen. The only problem is that our theatre has a black drape across the back and the houses will be relatively close to it upstage, so backlighting with traditional stage lights will not be possible--besides, I don't think they will give the look I'm going after. (There is also no place to mount them.) In trying to come up with a way to do this, I thought that I might be able to use some 1" X 3" lumber to make a very small "shadow box" effect around the edge of the house and then put rope lights with purple gel around the perimiter. My concerns with doing this are:

    1. Without the silhouette light on, it will look bad.
    2. The rope lights will not be bright enough to give the desired effect.
    3. I will be able to see each little LED inside the rope light through the gel material. I don't want to see them.

    So, do any of you have any ideas on how to do this?

    Thanks,

    OC
     
  2. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I just got done with a show using rope light as a sillouette effect. Against stage lighting ungelled you could barely see them.

    What about a handful of birdie pars? Or even small mini strips?
     
  3. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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  4. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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  5. Chaos is Born

    Chaos is Born Active Member

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    A scrim effect might work quite nicely here i think, wouldn't give you the exact "sillohette" that you want, but it will give you a decently different ghostly feel...
     
  6. CLEFFEL

    CLEFFEL Member

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    Is there enough space to floor mount a fixture or two? Perhaps a floor cyc or a 90 degree?

    With a little haze in the air this would give a pretty cool effect, picture beams of light shooting into the air from around the houses.

    Just a thought.

    -Chris
     
  7. OtisCampbell

    OtisCampbell Member

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    All of those ideas sound good. See, I knew I came to the right place!

    The talk about haze brings up another topic: Fog/Smoke/Haze... Our space doesn't have smoke detectors in the theatre but I'm told by the management that they have smoke detectors in the air conditioning ducts. Will a fog/smoke/haze machine set these off? Since tech. is usually done last, I'd hate to have the fire alarm go off in the middle of a performance. If you want me to start a new thread, I can...but it was mentioned here.
     
  8. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    In my experience with them...
    Smoke yes....haze most likely (definetly if its a partical detector)...fog maybe.

    There's an in depth on going discusion about all three here...
    http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5488
     
  9. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Wow Grog I've never seen that electric wire before, it's cool and pretty reasonably priced. Got that one book marked for future use.

    As for the silhouette if you can just leave a little over a foot between the curtain and the houses you should be able to do it with floor mounted: strip lights, Flood PARs, Fresnels, or as has already been suggested Source Fours with 70/90 degree lenses. I don't see any need to get too fancy. Just mount them to a piece of plywood and shoot up.
     

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