Sharktooth Scrim & Cyc lights

robnguyen

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2004
As many of us may be, my school's theater has rather limited budget/facilities. We are looking into purchasing a backdrop-sized scrim for our show. While we would do alright for this particular show with a plain opaque background, we would be glad to use the opportunity to purchase a sharktooth scrim, that may come in handy later.

The objective would be to light it at a steep angle for the opaque effect, at least for this show. However, I am not sure if we have instruments that could manage this. We don't have any borderlights, and renting/hanging may not be an option. There are fresnels and ellipsoidals we have that could be mounted on the fly just downstage of the scrim, however, because of limited resources, they may be best suited elsewhere in the plot.

We do have two three-cell cyc lights that we usually use for lighting backdrops. I'd love it if they could effectively light the scrim without shining through/making it transparent or translucent, but I am assuming because of their very wide spread, this may not be possible. My question would be if it would at all be possible to effect this, or if it's simply not doable w/ a cyc light...Any confirmation/denial/suggestion on this issue would be greatly appreciated![/b]
 

seanb

Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2003
pretty much any front light that spills onto your scrim will produce the opaque look you're trying to get. A cyc light might not be the best option for this, but it certainly isn't going to do you any harm. It's more important, in terms of maintaining apparant opacity, that you keep the light behind the scrim as LOW as possible.

Another option that might be worthwhile following would be to put your scrim just downstage of an illuminated cyc or even a white wall. You'll get a very even, very nice cyc that completely dissapears when not lit. Grey cyc will do it to, so will black RP, but this does a very professional looking effect without too high a cost.
 

robnguyen

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2004
Thanks very much for your reply. The effect in you mentioned in the second paragraph sounds very interesting, as well.

My concern with using the cyc light was that it may spill too far upstage of the scrim and illuminate the area behind, as the cyc light is built to illuminate such a broad area (My understanding so far was that front light should only project a foot upstage of the scrim at most to maintain opacity). By way of clarification, angle may then be not as much an issue as long as the upstage area is dark?

(As I don't have practical experience with scrim, I might work with some of the bits of material we have on hand to get a better feel for how it works).
 

seanb

Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2003
that's exactly right. Although scrim is a good projection surface for lights (patterns, or images) it's opacity comes from contrast between light in front of and light behind. A dark surface and no illumination behind the scrim will mean that it will appear opaque. If you're concerned about the angle of your cyc lights, put them just downstage of your scrim (not so close as to cause damage, of course :) ) but my experience shows these scrim warmers won't be required to get the effect you're looking for.

You'll also find that the magic of scrim is sort of a power in numbers thing - close up and in your hand, it's pretty unimpressive stuff.
 

ricc0luke

Active Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2004
Location
Central Illinois
I agree... but it is important to remember that no matter how hard you try, almost always, if someone or something is moving behind a scrim, you will see it (just not very well)