scrim struggles

highballer

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Joined
Oct 12, 2007
I'm trying to achieve a particular lighting effect that I'm hoping someone more experienced can help me with. What I have is an 18-feet by 18-inches tall painted scrim "tree". Imagine a 18'x18" sheet of ply with a distended scrim fronting wrapped convexly across a series of U-shaped supports to give it some 3-dimensionality. Or, imagine a scrim rolled as a tube and shaped to look like a tree but that's been cut in half long-ways. The apex of each U-support is about 9-10 inches away from the ply backing. Trick is, on the inside of the scrim, attached to the ply, is a beautiful Native Totem carving that runs along its center. I need to light the front of the painted scrim sometimes, when it needs to resemble a 'tree', and the inside when the Totem carving needs to be revealed. A totem pole embedded inside a tree.

So, here's my dilemma: due to budget and resource limitations, I pretty much have to use Par16s, or something like that, to make this thing work. One at the top and one at the bottom, which I can mask. But, is there anything I can do to evenly distribute the light along the totem carving? I was thinking about strategically placed small mirrors and perhaps doubling-up the number of Par16s so that the light could somehow zig-zag its way up and down. But, that seems like a lot of trouble and time for something that might only work.

Any help would be great appreciated.
 

icewolf08

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Jan 11, 2007
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Lititz, PA
Well, here is the thing, to make your scrim go opaque you need to light it from the front at a very steep angle, or not really let any light hit is directly. You really don't want to hit the scrim with direct front light or you are hosed. Then for the reveal, any light that you put behind the scrim, inside the tree, will reveal what is inside. So you probably need at least 4 sources to achieve this. You would want two fixtures to hit the front of the scrim from a steep top angle, given it's shape, and then a top and possibly up light for lighting the totem inside.

I am sure someone will have a better idea than mine, but it is a start.
 

David Ashton

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Sep 8, 2007
Location
perth W Australia
My suggestion would be to cut out the design in the plywood and backlight it so that it "glows"This would definitely work where you may find it very difficult any other way.
 

gafftaper

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My suggestion would be to cut out the design in the plywood and backlight it so that it "glows"This would definitely work where you may find it very difficult any other way.
That's a great idea. The problem with the totem is getting light on it in the middle. If you can backlight part of if so it "glows" through eye holes you can help the lack of light in the middle a lot.
 

SHARYNF

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Sep 3, 2006
I think it will be very difficult to get the effect you want since the scrim is not flat, so your will have all sorts of problems attempting to keep the angles of the light to the scrim very steep. It would be easier if the scrim was just flat, but still difficult. Side lighting can also work You also might want to move the totem back from the scrim giving you more options for lighting during the reveal.

Another suggestion is to get some opaque material put it on a hoop and lower it quickly to reveal the totem, you could use a lighting effect to distract during the drop.

Sharyn
 

gafftaper

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I think it will be very difficult to get the effect you want since the scrim is not flat, so your will have all sorts of problems attempting to keep the angles of the light to the scrim very steep. It would be easier if the scrim was just flat, but still difficult. Side lighting can also work You also might want to move the totem back from the scrim giving you more options for lighting during the reveal.
Another suggestion is to get some opaque material put it on a hoop and lower it quickly to reveal the totem, you could use a lighting effect to distract during the drop.
Sharyn
It's hard to get a scrim to work. So it's often a good idea to just put a black curtain behind it for insurance. So what about a hybrid of Sharyn's idea and a scrim.

Another option. Have you considered UV paint? Build the tree and then paint it with totem figures which are revealed by black light.
 

David Ashton

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Sep 8, 2007
Location
perth W Australia
The back lit holes, covered with scrim or frost gel would look very dramatic or the uv would look very cartoonish so it depends on the context of the piece.Before going down the uv route check that the scrim does not fluoresce as this would negate the idea.
 

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