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Quickrelease backdrop???

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by dminor13, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. dminor13

    dminor13 Member

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    Im doing a show right now, and I want to use a drop hung right behind the Grand curtain. The actors on stage will be lit from the back so that their shadows are cast on the drop. Then, It would need to be released from the top and fall to the stage. The theater I'm using does not have flyspace, but we do have a catwalk which is exactly where i would want the drop to be hung.

    Any suggestions on how I could make the curtain drop?

    Also, which fabric should I use for the drop? I dont want it to become transparent when lit from behind, I only want the shadows to be visible. also preferably lightweight so it falls nicely and can be dragged off easily. I'm on a strict budget so I would perfer the cheapest, but any ideas are greatly appreciated.
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    Do a search for "kabuki drop." Here's one link to a movie. "China silk" is one fabric often used.
  3. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Project Manager, Stagecraft Industries, Inc.
    Portland, Or.
    Tricot is another favorite fabric of mine, and often much cheaper than silk.
  4. sound_nerd

    sound_nerd Active Member

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    Toronto Ontario
    We've had a lot of bands come through with tear away velcro drops. There is a strip of velcro sewn to a section of burlap (much like the top of a drape) with grommets and tie. Then, there is a mating piece of velcro also featuring grommets and tie. Tie the first to the pipe, tie the second to the drape, then stick together. Takes two people to do a quick drop with it, or one guy if you can deal with having someone walk across the deck.
  5. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Kabukis can be fairly easily made, with solenoids, metal channel, etc. It's a fairly simple design if you have people who have those kinds of mfg. skills.
  6. sloop

    sloop Member

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    There are a couple of simple cheap shop ways to do this.

    One--using tie line you rig your batten with a ring/pins at every tie point that hold the drop. The rings are then all tied to a single pull line. the trick is to get the same tension on all ring pulls.

    You pull the one line and it pulls the pins out dropping the drop. I have done this, it works but you have to be meticulous getting the drop set every time.

    The second requires 1x4, and headless nails or screws with the heads removed. You make up a folding unit as wide as the drop using 1x4's and hinge them like a book setting on it's spine. One flap will flip down. You angle in nails/screws at the tie points. Rig latches on the boards so when they are tripped the board with the nails flips down dropping the drop. You can rig the latches with a pull line using pins again.

    The beauty of these methods, it requires only one operator and if the line is routed to the floor you can trip it from there. The other is the entire drop comes loose at the same time which prevents any tension or side pulls on the support unit or the drop.
  7. MaddMaxx

    MaddMaxx Member

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    Washington, D.C. - Northern Va.
    Answer using 1x's hinged - piano hinges -and "pins" is best! I have used this method many times. Consider ordering "lightweight white poly muslin" from Chicago Canvas. Can't see through, but is a great shadow screen, lightweight, and cheap= under $5 a yrd at 10' width. I have used it for shadow puppets and rear projection effectively.

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