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Making a City Skyline advice

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by dwardMICS, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. dwardMICS

    dwardMICS Member

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    My school is producing Mary Poppins Jr in December. As we talk design and preproduction, the director has decided she wants to copy this video as much as possible:

    :58 seconds it goes wider to see the full effect.

    In the past, I've built out of luaun with 1x3 to stiffen it. I've not been thrilled in the past because cutting those fine details with a jigsaw have not gone as well with students. I've seen some other ideas made of MDF, and I'm curious if any of you would recommend MDF?

    Also, as this is going to be tiered into the three levels, any other suggestions you can make? I have lights that will go under the city and project upwards.

    My goals:
    1. Clean surface for painting that doesn't show all the imperfections in the wood.
    2. Relatively speedy construction method. I'd like to use my jigsaw, but I don't think that's going to be possible given how detailed things are.
    3. Final pieces needs to be relatively easy to pick up and move due to how our space works (I build a stage in a gym, and I have to have it all set up 2 days before the show opens).

    Any suggestions? Thanks you amazingly smart people!
     
  2. Stan Longhofer

    Stan Longhofer Member

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    912233E0-BE62-4AE2-8819-AA31C14286CF.jpeg Cardboard. You can get full sheets from shipping suppliers in various thicknesses and strengths. Easy to cut with utility knife. Staple to 1x3s to support. Very light. The photo is of the set for All My Sons. All of the house siding and roof is of painted cardboard, with 1x4 trim around windows.
     
  3. Amiers

    Amiers Lighting Phoenix 1 Lamp at a Time

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    So 30ft rule totally applies here.

    You could cut out the most jagged looking circle and it will look like a million bucks sitting in the first row.

    Cardboard is nice. Luaun is better. Muck paint, prime paint and finish with final paint. Ezpz
     
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  4. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Luaun and Sandpaper and elbow grease or Foam core and a Cut Awl <if you have one>, or Exact-o knife.
     
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  5. Duncan Milne

    Duncan Milne Member

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    a couple of thoughts. Firstly, I'm not sure how much of that video is built. It looks possible that only the front layer is built and the rest is projected. Secondly, if I was building it I'd probably go for 12mm MDF with minimal framing, and I'd cut it with a jigsaw, possibly using a table saw to knock out the straight cuts first. I think it will go pretty quickly. You might be able to do the fiddly bits at home then put them on top of a MDF wall...
     
  6. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    In high school we would have made that from pink foam. Where I work now we'd CNC it out of 1/2". MDF. I don't like cardboard because the corrugation shows when painted.
     
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  7. Amiers

    Amiers Lighting Phoenix 1 Lamp at a Time

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    MDF is so expensive for a scenic piece one off.
     
  8. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Thaaaaaaaats my life, making expensive dumpster fodder.
     
  9. Amiers

    Amiers Lighting Phoenix 1 Lamp at a Time

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    Well you must come from a rich house. I came from dime store trailer trash. Hell luaun was sometimes to expensive.

    I was once told to cut down a tree...
     
  10. Crisp image

    Crisp image Active Member

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    Not when you can get it for free. I don't pay for MDF sheet. I use packing sheets that a local cabinet maker is going to throw out any way.
    Regards
    Geoff
     
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  11. josh88

    josh88 Remarkably Tired. Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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  12. bobgaggle

    bobgaggle Well-Known Member

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  13. kicknargel

    kicknargel Well-Known Member

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    MDF would be my choice for quality. For quicker and dirtier, foam core is a good paint surface (paint both sides to reduce warping). But, flammability is an issue. There are FR versions, or paints that can be used. As a natural fibre, cardboard would be easier to flame treat, with the above mentioned drawback of corrugation showing through.

    Also, as Duncan said, I think the example in the video is a painted translucent drop, with some hard cutout in front. I think they're "backlighting" it with video, making the smoke effect. Actually, maybe it's one cutout layer and all the rest is video, on a gray screen. You can't project black, so the surface must be dark to make the smoke.
     
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  14. JonCarter

    JonCarter Well-Known Member

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    I'd bet that background is one painted drop--the depth effect is painted. There's very little detail in the silhouettes. Project that photo onto a drop & paint it.
     
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  15. kendal69

    kendal69 Active Member

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    Here's what I did. I drew a city skyline with Illustrator and sentthat to a CNC machine operator who set his machine to cut out each window ( CLEAN) then I used white velon to cover the widown from behnd the hit it with LED lighting
     

    Attached Files:

  16. kicknargel

    kicknargel Well-Known Member

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    I've done similar without the CNC. Your way is better. Nice design.
     
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  17. Amiers

    Amiers Lighting Phoenix 1 Lamp at a Time

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    Also done a skyline by hand. Well not me someone else cut most of it out I just lit it lol.
     
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