Reflections

bdesmond

Active Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2004
Location
Chicago, IL USA
I need some opinion on controlling reflections. I have a stage which has a high gloss varnish floor. The walls have been painted black so it isn't too much of a problem there. The issue is when acoustic shells are setup on the stage. Light reflects up and makes funny shadows on the shells. This problem is often compounded by the presence of a gradn piano which I think they use elevator polish on. I've been screwing around with lighting angles for a couple years trying to fix this - no dice yet.

I have a scale diagram at http://www.briandesmond.com/payton/recitalhallstagepc.pdf which shows lighting positions and the stage. The acoustic shells are always center stage about where the screen is drawn in. The piano is always off SL under the end of the first electric.

Thanks,
Brian
 

mbenonis

Wireless Guy
Administrator
Premium Member
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Sep 1, 2003
Location
Chicago, IL
Our stage originally had a semi-gloss finish (not sure if that's the right term, but it reflected light to a degree). We ordered Rosco theatrical paint and repainted it. Problem solved. :)
 

Cat

Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2004
Location
Loudoun County
your stage

The drama students at Loudoun Valley repainted the stage a flat black removing all semigloss. We just went over the original glossed hard wood stage. Flat black paint is so cheep and easy to touch up as well as it doesnt reflect any light casted upon it. The only problem is watch for angered administration....

Cat
LVHS Drama 4 lighting tech
 

mbenonis

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Location
Chicago, IL
Re: your stage

Cat said:
The drama students at Loudoun Valley repainted the stage a flat black removing all semigloss. We just went over the original glossed hard wood stage. Flat black paint is so cheep and easy to touch up as well as it doesnt reflect any light casted upon it. The only problem is watch for angered administration....

Cat
LVHS Drama 4 lighting tech
Always nice to see a fellow LCPS student on the forums here. :)

We actually ran the idea past our principal before doing it - for a few years he actually wanted the county to come out and refinish the stage instead of us just repainting it. After we kept pressuring him, he finally agreed to let us just paint it.

Btw, what brand paint did you use?
 

Cat

Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2004
Location
Loudoun County
Im not sure of the brand. I do remember it being oil based because it didnt come off of anything. We needed the stage repainted after our show of Chinese Wall anyway due to a large red gong and chinese writing on the stage. 0:) As long as it is non gloss the paint will not reflect the light on to anything shiny such as a piano, chairs etc. If there is still reflections then try a thin coat of clear soft wax for the piano or shiny objects. If applyed with a rag it will dull the gloss on the paint but can be removed later with COLD water. What Im not sure of is why someone would want to remove shine off the piano. Aslong as it is not a blinding glare, a baby grand or grand piano when on stage is usually a status symbol showing wealth or prestege otherwise it would be a flat backed one. Atleast thats how I see it. Also if you keep the lights at 80 ish or lower instead of at full you eliminate most glares and sharp light points and shadows.

Cat
LHVS Drama 4 and lighting tech
 

ccfan213

Active Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2004
Location
Maryland
i agree about the shine on the piano, when someone uses a grand or baby grand they want it to shine, it makes it look classy
 

ship

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2003
Location
Illinois
Might also use more light focused on the set to make the shadows less appairent. Say a ground row cyc pointed at the shell so you can light it in masking the shadows, even color the shell to go along with the music.

In general you might look at reflected light as if billiards in canceling it out. Light comes from a specific angle, hits a surface, bounces off it and goes in an equal and opposing direction. Change the location of the light and that reflection changes it's angle hopefully of into the masking area. Otherwise in countering the reflection, hit the shadow or bounced light with light from an opposing direction and you cancel it out. That's at least some amount of theory, how well it will work is something to tinker with.

There is lots of finishes made for stages that make it look nice but are a matt finish in not reflecting. Less for a piano. Possible to change waxes to a less reflective one but the owner of the piano might not approve. A check into stagecraft past discussions might provide some specific product brands from the past. Another option for the piano might be to open up it's lid so it's not reflecting upwards, another might be to leave it closed and put something like a lace table cloth over it so it diffuses the light.
 

bdesmond

Active Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2004
Location
Chicago, IL USA
I had the thought of backlighting the acoustic shells. That didn't work. They're painted metal, couple inches thick - probably aluminum or something similiar I'd guess. I'm planning to putz around with upligthing them - that's next week's project though.

I'll see what the net effect of opening/closing the lid on the piano is - might very well work there.
 

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