Need help on Scrim death effect.

We are doing Jesus christ superstar right now, and judas hangs him self. we know we want to do a scrim effect with some sort of shadow. we are using a "stunt dubble" who will be harnesed and prepared for whatever we are doing. does any one have any cool suggustions, or tips or tricks that would make this a really cool effect.

- lights11964
Probably one or two instruments upstage of the scrim will do the trick. Perhaps an very steep top light with no color for a dramatic effect. Or alternately light from the floor or sides with instruments almost in the same plain as the actor. For added effect pump in some smoke if you have a smoke machine. The actor would get in place beforehand ,
and be revealed when the lights are brought up. You will need to dedicate a channel for this effect.
For me in that scene given the scrim, I would start with the location. Take a garden effect with scrim, perhaps a cut away wing and drop foliage drop just down stage of it to reveal the scene upstage. Than do a cyc with hopefully another foliage drop a little further down stage of it but still behind the scrim so the in this case wing and drop style three or four foliage boarder/teaser type drops frame in and focus to the center that action. This could be replaced by a similar two or three dimensional, even relief scenery effect be it city (Roman for subtext), or what ever. (Sorry, I saw the 25th anniversary tour of this play but don’t remember it much beyond Judas couldn’t hold a note. The music in general was very off what I grew up with and sang in boot camp from memory to keep my sanity while washing pots and pans something like 12 hours a day for a week.) Might even do some ground rows both up and down stage of the scrim. A particularly useful ground row would be to mask a platform the stund double can stand upon depending upon your hanging effect. Depends a lot on that designers take on his own artistic statement given your theater and budget.

In any case, after the scenery and framing in of the image to which Craig would not agree with my general choice above - lots you can do in design which would make for other designs. On scrims front lighting - making them solid as someone posted very well in a description of how to light them is best with down lights on them for the most part. You might even go abstract with a red wash on the scrim during the next scene in linking the two by color choice but making the next defiantly not in the same area. Depends upon the show and designer’s technique plus the director’s image governing it. So keep at least a wash on them from high top so as to pickup as much of the fabric as possible. Assuming the scrim is both for removing the hanging/upstage from the stage picture and allowing for another scene without the hanging, you want to have this down light of the scrim for utility purposes. Than project perhaps more foliage at it to fill in the hole in the picture given the solid scrim is in effect. This will take wattage and balance to do well. In addition to the foliage, you could also project a building Gobo effect of the cross to the scrim as if a forgiveness type thing. Start with the vertical plane of light that shows thru the scrim in an added final light for the scene - see below, and fade it some to compensate for the solid wall down light as the next scene starts. Bring up on a slow fade a horizontal cross shaped effect on the vertical beam, even on a cross fade replace it by a horizontal/vertical cross with pointed ends such as on a gobo replacing just an intense pattern cut. This even faint cross on the foliage or red background should linger a while but not stay the entire scene. Put it on a slow fade down but loose it by the end of the scene - we are on a different idea by now. Think I would do both red overall for my fill color and foliage in doing this with the cross stage center projected on the scrim.

We are talking about one specific designer’s image for this scene now and it certainly can’t be fully understood without being me much less presented to the design team/director without some story boards and sketches. Short of understanding the effect I have in mind, you can get ideas, but not capture the image/magic I give ideas on. Your designer/TD has his own image, present ideas but in the end you must go with his own ideas.

Otherwise, I might drop in a drop (Olieo) right in front of the scrim to remove the scene instead - with or without that lingering but fading cross. Good value to just removing the upstage area from our thoughts in an effort to keep the action still going after such a scene, but the lingering effect of the importance - given it’s central in importance to the play might be well served by some lingering of the effect on the next scene. The drop might also indicate another location which would be useful in making that emotional change over. Yes, it’s double speak one sentence to another, art is very hard to present with words.

For the actual hanging, I would present only enough light down stage of the scrim to frame in the scene - given that folliage/architecture presented for location/focus. All beam angles would be tight to ensure that the scrim is invisible for the moment. Also that the action upstage is distant - we need at this point in the show some removal from what is going on. Just a touch which a bright upstage will differentiate from the main playing area now dark. This was Judas’s choice/damnation not ours. Similar to Jesus’s in crucial role in the story but not that of the individual audience member. This is a story we associate with to some degree - especially on Judas’s part, but not something we become at one with the characters in - given the director’s take on the play.

What color that cyc and upstage area should be is very dependant upon what time of day and location it is in addition to how much the director feels this is a equivalent sacrifice as Jesus will soon make in importance. Balance is the key in upstage both in ambiant - stray light and lighing on the key focus. Light blue has the effect of forgiveness, Red blood and saccrifice, Amber heat when with the red, green something that just happens and is not as important overall even if it’s effect can be very visual. What lighting you do in the background will form quite the
statement of what’s going on before it. Perhaps a wash of the scrim from a green/amber to growing red, to bold red, to just a flash as the scene dims in blue/white - heaven accepting him as part of the larger scheme of what’s going on. Right before the upstage goes black. Could just go from Amber - meaning heated importance, to a fade to red than black, could even do foliage to lessen the overall importance of the image no matter the lighting effect directly on the Judas image. Such subtle effects of background on what our key focus is will have a major role on our take for it. Could go straight white or black out the cyc also, all will have significant effects in that final ringing in of the action on stage. White scrim might have a Godly effect as if this is all already written and not in his own hands - again subtext, while black scrim will focus the action on the talent as taken in a void of all other influences or especially emotions on his actions. Given a director’s take “that he is in the wrong,” his ending while spotlighted, can thus be shown in a void of it’s role in the story and because it’s black background - momentary in importance and image.

For Judas himself - prime importance for the effect, and given all other lightings are supplemental and more subtlety lit in intensity, this can form as prime a role in the play as the director’s intent for it - given this is the intent. Given Judas as the prime and most normal person we associate with it could be of the greatest imagery and important - even towering over the ending/climax of the rest of the show, or it can be scaled down to a more rational level if not sub-part of the epic centered around the most obvious protagonist. (Lighting has a role in plays, even if not obvious but in subtly educating the audience into the playwright’s intent and view points. My take on it is about Judas as more than a secondary role. I would spotlight for more attention Judas’s looks as Jesus is being “stupid” in a way of reflecting. But it’s very dependant upon the director’s intent and take on the show also.)

Direct up light makes the human face look ghastly. Direct down light makes the human face just as abstracted, but in this case heavenly - or effected by such an influence. McCandless theory is the most natural lighting on the talent with it’s 45 degree sides and upward angle plus some high rear fill, as adjusted for conditions such as a narrow bright shutter cut on the talent and from the direct sides so the reflection off the talent does not reflect off the scrim as if dance also becomes useful.
Keep the shutter cuts very narrow and only to the subject. If necessary, light the upstage as he walks to the gallows but refine on cue during the scene to it as it builds to the point that only the hanging is visible and the surrounding area is visible amongst the dimly lit location and intent producing intent of the cyc lighting. That’s given a director driven and approved statement that this is an important scene and not just part of the story. If Judas is a bad guy getting his just deserves - in a more simple interpretation, you might make his hanging while important, small in keeping the area of the hanging still lit to make it become small still. Those subtle details in lighting and what you do with it have crucial important to what the audience also sees and feels thus gets from the show. As with past discussions on design (thank you JoJo where ever you are and in hoping you are well at it,) in my opinion if your talent is not up to the overwhelming subtext of design, than the subtle influences will depart from the enjoyment of the show in general given the talent’s ability to hold the scene as opposed to be overwhelmed by what is shown.

Getting back to this lighting on Judas, side lights with a shutter cut to keep the spill off both the background and scrim are of most use. I would make it ghastly with low side lights on a narrow shutter cut of as bright a white and wattage/intensity plus color temperature as I can for the leading up to part of the scene. I would add to this - and ground rows would be useful, otherwise a single instrument alone behind a scrim as long as not directly lit, I would add a up light effect to both fill in the shadows and build upon the ghastly effect. Make them lights the most wattage and refined of beams you can. Put a 2,000w per source on the talent and you have a start. The talent needs to glow. It’s both by intensity going to make the scrim become completely invisible, and provide sufficient single fixture from each source light to the subject. My favorite is either a Mole or Colortran 8x9 fixture three feet away (remember the longer the throw - the more the intensity drop, but it’s also dependant upon the stage design as to how close and low of an angle you can place a fixture.) Do your best, if at least a very bright fixture placed one foot directly downstage of the hanging. My intent with low side and front lights being faded into from the before area lighting is to make this hanging grow in importance.

As the hanging goes on, I might do some momentary blackouts, even on a chase to repeat it at least once. Go from a shin-buster white, to mid amber, to a high deep red, than back a second or third time even at the risk of going rock and roll effect on it - very dependant upon rate of chase and timing of the blackouts between, also the intensity of all but the white should be much less because it’s more idea than actuality. The effect is mid-height ambers for intensity, fading to high red side lights in bloody especially if the entire upstage are goes red, but almost heavenly importance, than as appropriate, repeating it with perhaps a two beat pause in blackout beforehand- blackout between each color in fact, back to Judas/director choice - white, to amber, it’s importance, to Red high sides - a bloody Godly statement on his part. End it with blackout pausing one more beat in sound/lighting than comfortable and in my interpretation at least end the cue with that direct bluish/white and very refined/intense direct down light such as from a ACL/Beam Projector, Fresnel with tophat, or VNSP par. This effect rises as the rest of the scene - scrim fades to black, up until a point that the direct light peaks in intensity than starts a large amber shift rest of the set following blackout as conclusing. Downlight in tight beams need timing but can be very emotional when timed right and applied with the right light levels.

Given intent, you might even do a slightly wider focus of beam in dire-most primary red as a down light following the various low/mid/high lighting and blackout longer than comfortable to the red that is intense, but fades with the rate of general fade out. Than as the scene is going to blackout, flash out of it to a second fixture with a pure white/blue beam which lingers and even gets brighter as the rest of the scene fades. That lingering even after the blood red implies a forgiveness and overall plan thus taking him to heaven for Judas. Otherwise, perhaps just a very quick flash of white over him as the scene goes black to let the audience out of the emotional tribulations with the scene in a melo-drama sort of distancing way. That blink of white overhead light right before the final blackout - as if even a mistake in cues during the blackout will allow their brains to process if even a momentary taking him up to a forgiving heaven and complection on that part of the story. A strobe like single burst of light as if by accident in cuing will hardly be noted other than a mistake in cuing which adds distancing needed by the audience in setting up the next scene, but on the emotional level will effect the entire scene and show.

This in the end is just one scene and very dependant upon the fixtures, control and dimmers, stage type available, plus most importantly the design team’s/director’s vision for this production of it and the show. Also by how well the cast - Judas in this case can pull off his role in keeping the magic to make his own portrait of it go over the top instead of the lighting overwhelming than destroying it. Very important point. If Judas can’t give show to show the performance of his life, than the lighting of him in giving it will abstract of the point and scene, even destroy of what he can give to it in drawing the attention away from him - the best he or the rest of the designers/director can do also in scene and show. If they can’t do the scene to the emotional building and effect I describe in throwing the lighting help of this actor/talent’s point over the top, than the lighting will be out of place and destroy any meaning the audience will get from it. General ideas might be useful, but the concept even if understood will be detriment if followed in cuing but not performance. That’s even given my design statements as a designer not having talked with the director, much less doing the whole show is creating the effect for one scene and given my own mental image for the scene that is seen by me but probably not understood in subtleties to others. The entire show needs lighting, it’s not only one scene. Talent and over the top is very dependant thus.

Still I hope it provides some concepts and ideas thus help. One designer to another at least in advice for the effect. Also it shows the director driven subtext to this in my interpretation very important scene. Subtext in presenting the scene is very important even to the designer after the visibility aspects are covered. But they are also very dependant upon the show. Preschool kids on Kid Rock’s lighting design and set will be very out of place. You need to at least in my continuing opinion match the magic of light/design to that of the talent.

Just adjusted the intensity of lighting on the Owl mask hanging from a nail from my front door. (See other articles about the living room design foliage on the ceiling verses other lighting.) Anyway, bringing the mask up another 15% has a balancing effect verses that of the TV as the stage picture sits while looking at the living room. The mask while a tight five fixture focus upon it, is not all that’s going on, yet it in parifrial view is the balance to the TV on the other side of the room. There is a Shakespear lithograph hanging between them, but it’s dim in lighting importance and dramatic. My living room in spooky Owl mask verses Tv’s intensity as opposed to foliage pattern on the ceiling - given black duvetyne walls, and ambient light given off from the kitchen/office I live out of that I see the living room most from. This is as per a stage - that opposing wall. Red cove lighting glow, foliage, lithograph, TV verses Owl Mask asside, it’s a stage picture. My design for this space is far different than anyone else’s. This is my design statement for the room. Another designer will have a completely different intent for the layout much less lighting. That’s a key factor both in unified show and scene. While you as staff can provide ideas and concepts in general, once they are even half listened to presented, respect that designer/director’s vision for this production of the show. Without individual visions we don’t have art - successful or not. My living room looks cool. At least in my opinion. Certainly not what others would design but my statement on it. What the audience/visitors view of it is a statement of my design good or bad as it relates to the total show, but it’s my interpretation of the magic. If you are smart, present ideas as useful thoughts, but don’t present them as the solution much less stick by any ideas you have for the scene. Both not your job, and stepping on the vision of the designer in fulfilling the show’s needs.

On design for this show, other designers taking detail for this scene might be of a lot of use in technique and ambition for it, as well as use of the scrim in separate acting area for it. Hope other designers give their thoughts.
Oops, sorry about the double post. Still, why has nobody else offered up a design concept?

Here is another one:

In thinking my solution before was very complex and difficult, there are many other ways to do it.

This other method I also am thinking is more simple but also complex in explanation - sorry.

Given a blank stage with scrim and cyc, plus a ancient leave less hanging tree shape upstage, I might go with a totally back lit and dark scene. A scene where you can’t see faces or anything clearly, just black shadows moving amongst the light background. The scrim will help to obscure this in addition to allowing for a down stage scene before and after - given you don’t drop a drop down stage of the scrim after this scene. Dropping would be key for me, I would want to hear the thunk of the bottom pipe hitting the stage as a clean break for the scene. Something about wanting this scene to have a conclusion that’s outside the play for me. Granted I have not seen the play in about 10 years but if I remember the next scene right, it is very different.

The cyc I might light primarily in sky blue at the center, with reds and ambers above and below it. Perhaps the red/blue can be a wash with the non mixed reds only taking up a narrow strip at the top and bottom, than have a few spikes of dim amber breaking up this evenness. Spikes either as if not well focused lights or something more natural but still interrupting the symmetric Blue/Red striped cyc. To do this with a cyc, you would need to use either two rows of cycs with different aiming points, or Gam Wrap off part of the opening between the red and blue so they only project into their given areas. The red for me would from top and bottom even in mixing only project to 25% of the cyc, and the blue the center. The blue should be fairly bright with the reds and ambers more of a shadow replacing the stage norm Rx 80 type night time effect. Rx27 or Rx45 would be good in this. A hot shadow along with the blue being warm in color instead of cool. Where they mixed, there would be interesting warm colorations.

Possible the entire scene could be lit by cyc lights - perhaps even a cyc light floor mounted row pointed almost directly up and slightly towards the scrim so it hits the scrim high but also washes the rear of the tree. This way you might combine the light if short on fixtures but that above and below row of cyc lights - sorry but good blending on a cyc is by two rows of them on a normal stage. Given the tree is painted black and not brown, at least dark it should not pick up the red light this way. The shape of the tree is part of the mood, not it’s reality.

Might use a double row above and below of cyc units thusly wrapped for focus. The Above with cells of blue, red, and a blocked in narrow cell of amber so it provides some spikes of amber but no full and even coverage of it. All focused either in the case of the red on the top 1/4 of the cyc, or for the blue covering 3/4s of the cyc. Broken up by spikes of amber. From the bottom, point the cyc light at about a 30 degree angle from horizontal to the upstage (perhaps 45 degrees depending upon distance from cyc and proximity of the back lighted tree/acting area) on the floor so it covers both the cyc and the back lit subject. On this I might go with a double cell of blue - one light/cool blue such as Rx 61 or 63, and another warm blue like a Rx70, 65, or best yet, 364, 365 or 72 of about the same transmission hopefully. Warm in color. This ground row might only need the red to be Gam Wrapped (foil covered to block the light) otherwise, I would wrap the light so the cool blue for the most part hits the down stage, and the warm blue hits upstage. A blending otherwise would be fine in the blue. Another solution would be to add another row of wash lighting for the rear lighting and just use the cyc lights on the cyc. Might want to supplement the rear lighting around the tree anyway.

With this supplement, I would than play into stark white and say Rx 09 or Rx01amber lighting from the rear of the tree/acting area as up lighting also, so the only light on the actor is from the bottom rear or reflected off the scrim - also the rear. Might even go with a RX 105 Tough Spun for all lighting in texture if not even go completely incandescent lamp and Plano Convex for supplemental, even cyc lighting in giving it texture and blah even if bright especially in the warm colors. The up lighting should be intense but focused at the back of a teaser so it does not hit the scrim. (In this design concept)

From above, I might retain the single or double down light over the actual hanging area from the past design, - the white light being intense and very narrow in focus, the red being slightly less intense - though that might be done by gelling it, and slightly wider in focus. A 1Kw beam projector for the white verses a 750w 6" Fresnel in spot position for the red with top hat would be my prime choices.

No other lighting other than the rear lighting during the scene and top light at it’s end. During the actual moment of hanging I might bring the rear lighting and cyc up to full given about 75% it’s set at before this, even if for a moment to distract from the actual gore and add emphases to it, than dim it down to about 50% once it’s done while at the same time cross fading to the red down light at full for another beat. (A beat is a French acting term if I remember right also used in lighting, meaning a moment. Not a second, and not a drummer’s timing type thing, something that’s mood driven.) Next the white direct down light for either a flash of light to a cross faded going to full as the scene goes to black out thus it’s max would be about 50 to 75% while the other lights head for zero, than it fades out for a real blackout. On a two scene preset you would put the white light either on independent or alone in it’s own scene that you cross fade to that scene at the same time or slightly leading it to you also bringing down the master. Complex to do this sort of thing but spectacular once you master both a cross fade and blackout thus light lingering technique while the rest of the lamps are going out. To help this along, during the Red down light, I might bring the white down light up to about 20% with it.

Anyway some further ideas. In this case, we never see his face, just outlines which can be dramatic but simple. Hope it’s helpful in other ideas.

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