painting and lighting fabric

mf720

Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2008
Location
New York
Hi all,

I've been researching about scrims and at first, I thought that's what I wanted but now I'm not so sure...

I want a fabric that I can paint to achieve a scenery effect but then also, when directly lit, the fabric just glows that color and you can't see what's painted on it. So, I think it's sort of like combining painted muslin and a cyc? Is this possible? Maybe I need scrim and then another fabric behind it that the light can be aimed at? The potential problem with that would be that the scrim would be the facing on a 'bridge' set, so lighting underneath it (onto another fabric or something behind the scrim) might be tricky. I'm worried about just using scrim because I don't actually want to see what's behind the scrim, I just want it to 'glow' or display what's painted on it.

Thanks for the help!
 

Malabaristo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2008
Location
Wisconsin
If I'm understanding correctly, it sounds like you want a scrim in front of a painted drop. Lights on the front of the scrim will make it appear solid and hide the drop behind. Lights behind the scrim on the drop will reveal it. There's some nuance to selection and placement of fixtures to make this work effectively--as well as controlling other light that may hit either surface.

Depending on the looks you're going for, you could potentially do an effect like this with just one surface and some clever color theory. A simple example is that red lines on a white background disappear if you're only shining red light at it... as long as the color of light matches the color of pigment closely enough. This obviously gets a lot trickier if you want a more realistic/natural color scheme. Might be something worth experimenting on.

One more thought: if you're just going for simple shapes, then painting on the back of a drop (making sure it doesn't soak through) could let you have silhouettes when lit from behind, and a solid surface when lit from in front.
 

mf720

Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2008
Location
New York
If I'm understanding correctly, it sounds like you want a scrim in front of a painted drop. Lights on the front of the scrim will make it appear solid and hide the drop behind. Lights behind the scrim on the drop will reveal it. There's some nuance to selection and placement of fixtures to make this work effectively--as well as controlling other light that may hit either surface.

Depending on the looks you're going for, you could potentially do an effect like this with just one surface and some clever color theory. A simple example is that red lines on a white background disappear if you're only shining red light at it... as long as the color of light matches the color of pigment closely enough. This obviously gets a lot trickier if you want a more realistic/natural color scheme. Might be something worth experimenting on.

One more thought: if you're just going for simple shapes, then painting on the back of a drop (making sure it doesn't soak through) could let you have silhouettes when lit from behind, and a solid surface when lit from in front.

Thanks for the recommendation. Upon further discussion with my director, the switch between painted scenery and glowing happens with the curtain closed, not open. Therefore, we have some lower-tech solutions (like simply pulling off the painted fabric to reveal solid white fabric that can be lit blue during the scene change). I really like that painting the back of a drop idea though - I will definitely keep that in mind!