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Scrim, Cyc, Rear Projection

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by Mutch, May 14, 2009.

  1. Mutch

    Mutch Member

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    Hi Folks,

    Totally new to these terms Cyc, Scrim, etc.

    I have a small cafetorium theatre in a small rural school. The stage is raised. About 40 ft wide, 30 ft, deep and at least 50 ft high. We are slowly buying equipment. I now have the following:
    - Chauvet light board
    - 16 LED Par lights pointing over the stage
    - Follow Spot (in the balcony)
    - a light tree with 4 old style (in the balcony)
    - a row of black curtains near the rear of stage and I also painted the concrete wall behind the curtains black.

    Now my question, I would like to have different scenes without having to paint scenes. I have no room to put scenery off stage, so I was thinking I could have a white screen or something to project different scenes on. For example, in one scene I could have a night skyline and in the next scene a park in the daytime.

    Is this possible? What would you recommend?
    Thanks
    Dean
     
  2. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Hmm this is one of those posts that could go in a bunch of different topics, and while it is basically a multimedia/ projection question it is also a legitimate Scenery question, so I don't think I'm going to move it.
    I believe this question could open some reallt interesting doors in the Scenery forum, and here's why;
    Many theatres and performing arts groups are moving towards the use of projected scenery, this opens a huge number questions about the efficacy, the value, and quality of these productions.

    To get right to the heart of the initial "scenic" question the short answer is, "Yes, you can do that." Now for the specifications of projectors, throw distances, materials for projection surfaces, etc. I woud highly suggest posing those questions in the Multi-media forum. I've got some pretty strong opinions on the se of Projected scenery and I'll be happy to share some of them later but for now I'd like to hear the responses from some other forum members about their experiences with doing just this sort of thing. How well it worked for them, what the costs were, that sort of thing.
     
  3. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    In theory, yes, you can do projected scenery. However, in most cases you will want to do some kind of rear projection setup. Why? Well if you project from the front and then put actors on stage you are then projecting on actors and creating shadows on your projection surface.

    To do rear projection you need to have a pretty significant amount of space behind the projection surface, a bright projector with a good lens, and some decent software to drive the media. You of course also need a good rear projection screen. This is not a job for your AV department's classroom/"multi-media" projectors. You will need something with high output.

    On the more economical end of the spectrum, you could try building a couple roll drops or olios. You could then paint drops, and roll them up so that they don't take up too much space.
     
  4. seanandkate

    seanandkate Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    If you're asking whether or not to BUY a scrim or cyc for your venue to make it more flexible, I would buy a cyc first (and make sure that you have the money to actually use it's virtues). I love cyc lighting to set mood and make a stage look really big and 'open' -- a black curtain tends to make a stage feel more compressed. But that could be just me. To use projected scenery well, you'll need a ton of dough and a ton of expertise. What a cyc will allow you to do that you couldn't before with black curtains, is take colour from striplights, act as a target surface for gobos, etc. Need a night skyline? Dark blue cyc wash with building window gobos plus an amber gel. Want a forest in daytime? Light colour cyc wash with some foliage break-ups. It makes the audiece do some work, but that isn't a bad thing.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2009
  5. natethegreat

    natethegreat Member

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    Another idea besides projectors is either use an existing ellipsoidal and use IPro slides, or invest in a Selecon Fixed Beam Ellipsoidal. It runs about the same price as a ETC ellipsoidal, and uses the same HPL lamp. The heat from the instrument dissipates through the back end, so it doesn't give off any heat. Because of this, you can use regular transparencies to display different images of scenery (really easy to manufacture at a school of course). I've never actually done this, but I've seen it demonstrated by a lighting professor at Texas Wesleyan University. It's pretty cool.
     
  6. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    +1 for this idea. Instead of doing the projection, a cyc with some cyc lights and some new ERSes (Derek, plural???) would be a better investment at this time. Especially since you don't have enough room backstage.
     
  7. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Actually, the Selecon is significantly more expensive than SourceFours by about $40-$50. It does not use the same HPL lamp as the source 4. The selecon fixtures use a cold mirror and heat sink to pull most of the heat out of the beam.
     
  8. Dreadpoet

    Dreadpoet Active Member

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    Projection is a bad idea for long term fix in my mind. It's cool to pull out for some shows, but on-and-on it I question the quality of the experience and it just plain getting old. I would suggest that you invest in a cyc...or paint the back wall (needs to be smooth though, and I prefer to paint mine a very very light blue to combat color temperature making my white light appear amberish). I agree that just lighting that will create visual intrigue. If you have neither the time nor expertise to build for all of your productions...create some platforms and go all Appia...it will be interesting for most any production and provide a better long-term solution than just trying a few 2d slides. Platform stages force the audience to pay attention to the actors and make a statement as to what you think is important, were as a constant projected set will force your audience to say “hey, seen that before.” Lastly, if you are going to go the projection route…research, research, research. Some dude before my time thought much the same way you did and dropped a pretty penny in a projector that is mighty powerful, but all wrong for our facility because of IceWolf’s observation about light hitting actors across the face. It has been a very sore point between administration and our program ever since.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2009
  9. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Actually, the Selecon is significantly more expensive than SourceFours by about $40-$50. It does not use the same HPL lamp as the source 4. The selecon fixtures use a cold mirror and heat sink to pull most of the heat out of the beam.
     
  10. Mutch

    Mutch Member

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    Wow, thanks guys. This is the first time I've used a Theatrical Forum and it was well worth it. Now my head is really spinning. :)

    First, thanks for the rear projection answers. I definitely will not be going that way for a couple reasons that you guys mentioned: 1) Cost and 2) I only have about 2 feet behind back curtain.

    Money is a huge issue as we are a small rural school we no funding. What I buy is made from ticket sales/fundraising. So I am slowly piecing together.

    It seems everyone agrees on the Cyc lights and a Cyc
    or
    Fixed Beam Ellip.

    I'm going to look into prices on these items.

    Thanks again,
    Dean
     
  11. scenerymaker

    scenerymaker Member

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    This, I think, is the biggest single benefit of a forum like this. Whether the specific answers recieved fit a particular situation or not is somewhat irrelevant as long as they make the mental gears go around.
     
  12. Mutch

    Mutch Member

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    Hi again,

    After searching around for Cyc. cloth I am left wondering yet again.

    Would it be best just to buy white cyc. muslin the size I want then use the lights to color it? Does weight of cloth make a difference? Is there anyone who would recommend a spot where to buy such a thing? And lastly, can it be sewn together or do I buy a sheet that will cover my whole backwall?

    Thanks again,
    Dean
     
  13. theILLUMINATEDfrog

    theILLUMINATEDfrog Member

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    As a Lighting Designer, yes-- go for the white cyc-- you want to be able to manipulate it yourself as much as possible and white will give you the broadest range to work from; if you're worried about too much bounce or bright colors, just play with intensities and gel colors/mixing.

    Also, cover as much of the back wall as you can afford (without going too far into the wings or debt, of course)-- the effect will be much more dramatic and not look like an AV screen behind the actors. And yes, it can be sewn, but my suggestion would to use the best seamstress or costumer you have and follow the specific techniques for scenic textiles carefully. ... i personally would have it done horizontally if you have the length to do it; that line is quite easy to hide with a deep gradient, or linear gobos, etc.
     
  14. theILLUMINATEDfrog

    theILLUMINATEDfrog Member

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    oh, and about weight... if you're going to use muslin, make sure it's fairly heavy-- you'll be putting quite a bit of light on it; you don't want it to become transparent. Reflectivity is key. and no, I'm not quite sure reflectivity is a word.
     
  15. Mutch

    Mutch Member

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    Thanks. Can you use color led bars to change color on the cyc or is it best to buy the cyc lights that you have to put the gels in?

    Thanks
    Dean
     
  16. theILLUMINATEDfrog

    theILLUMINATEDfrog Member

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    there are a lot of LED products out there, but they get quite expensive. Simple answer is Yes, absolutely they can, and they're great. If your budget allows for such purchases, that's certainly an option. Personally, I would use the cheaper of the choices and buy more toys with the rest of the budget-- you certainly don't need the newest and best to create amazing theatre.
     
  17. seanandkate

    seanandkate Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    I'm with Ray. I've used striplights with normal household 100w bulbs and the cyc looked great. LEDs are very slick and flexible, but sometimes not the best use of your $$$.
     
  18. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

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    Natethegreat and a few other people mentioned the Pacific's, I have to say, I am a huge fan of these lights. And for your extra $50, you get the ability to make your own gobos. Its very cool to be able to have a gobo of you standing with your arms crossed looking unimpressed to bring up at the most inappropriate moment. Sound epicly fails at something (A regular occurrence), up comes Giant Nick Projection!

    Projection can be really effective, I did a show last week that was based around a Cafe. In short, they create a reality TV show, and it is filmed in the Cafe, during the bits based in the Cafe a projection of a sign comes up, written in the ultraviolet lights is "Max's Cafe" but instead of costing me $100's to get the word's Max's Cafe to be in lights, it cost me nothing. Just a bit of photoshopping. I can't really explain the results without posting them, I will soon, just to show off :) During the bits where the cafe has the reality TV show being filmed, a opening graphic with pictures of leads, lower thirds, and animations, all come up to signify the start of a show, as you would on most reality TV shows, from there I mixed between the moving graphic that subtley moves, and the IMUGs of the characters on screen. Projection can be really subtle too, heaps of people over use it when there is no need. A sign is a prime example, it can just be something small, you can even project onto a prop, you could have a two story house and instead of having nothing in the top windows, with a lot of patience you could have a loop playing a clip of just the shadows of someone walking around passing the window. It can be really good if done right.

    As for using LED's as your CYC lights, have a read of this it was discussed a few weeks ago.

    You could just paint your back wall white, not the best solution but it would work.

    LED's are cool, newer consoles such as EOS (Ion & Element too) are able to mix gels & LEDs so if you wanted to match the colour coming from your PAR's with Lee079 in it, you can select it from the console, and the LEDs will mimic this quite accurately. So many cool gadgets!

    Hope this helped, (its long enough ;))
    Nick
     
  19. Anvilx

    Anvilx Active Member

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    I feel like their was some talk of experimenting with scenery projection at the University of Texas PAC though not in Bass concert hall. Does any one know anything about it or was it my imagination?
     

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