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Staging Concepts vs StageRight: We need a new pit filler--time for a deck shootout!

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by Julian Amrine, Jun 27, 2018.

  1. Julian Amrine

    Julian Amrine Member

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    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    So far we've got quotes for Wenger Strata, Staging Concepts SC9600, and StageRight ME-1000. Staging Concepts quote is by far the most expensive. I've had mixed results in the past with other Wenger products, but I've an open mind. I regularly work with StageRight gear at a local arena, and think their system is great... so I'm not sure what Staging Concepts might improve upon.

    The application is a academic theater orchestra pit about 6' deep, and roughly 370sf.

    Do any of you have any ideas?
     
  2. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Occupation:
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    The newer Wenger Strata is much better than their older Versalite series you may have encountered. I haven't had any issues with Strata decks, and there's a lot less hardware underneath to screw around with than on the Versalite series. Faster set up, tear-down. Acoustically, the Strata decks are also quieter than Versalite.

    I don't know much first-hand about Staging Concepts or StageRight's solutions so I won't speak to those.
     
  3. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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    @Julian Amrine If there is a substantial cost difference between Staging Concepts pricing and the other 2, it's appropriate to ask "why" but the question needs to be directed to Staging Concepts. I suspect there's more in the support structure or support preparation than for the Stageright or Wenger, but that's speculation on my part.

    Since pit covers/fillers are custom things I think it would be appropriate to ask for stamped engineering drawings and A&E descriptions, showing any attachment to existing structure, detailing any modifications to existing facility structure, and both static and dynamic load ratings of proposed support and deck structures. I expect the difference in cost to be "visible" from those documents...
     
    RonHebbard, MPowers and JohnD like this.
  4. JohnD

    JohnD Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    He may still be off paddling his canoe but when @BillConnerFASTC gets back he may have some insight.
     
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  5. MPowers

    MPowers Well-Known Member

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    I will second the suggestion to contact Bill Conner. I have worked with and for Bill on several projects over the years and his advice is always accurate, spot on and honest to a fault .
     
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  6. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Occupation:
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    I survived. Somewhere in Nebraska at the moment.

    The stageright me1000 and wenger strata are stressed skin honeycomb decks. The staging concepts is a single membrane- just ply - on a frame. Wenger makes a newer single membrane deck - techdeck? Stressed skin is usualy more expensive. Something is strange to me with it being less. I also find honeycomb quieter - foot fall noise, not the pit reverberating pit.

    I dont know your situation but i try to support filler on stage edge and pit rail, and cut cost of support system. Makes install/removal much easier and quicker. Also less costly.

    Were i in your position and could decide, id try to negotiate with stageright. Just more technician friendly in my experience.

    Have they all done layout sketches as part of proposal? Are storage carts a part of all three? Install?

    Crossed into Iowa...
     
  7. Chase P.

    Chase P. Active Member

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    Occupation:
    Freelance lighting designer, production manager
    Location:
    San Francisco
    I'm a big fan of the Stage Right products, I use them in a couple venues I freelance for and one that I production manage. They're not light, but they're sturdy as heck. One of my venues is a classical music festival, we roll around an 11' grand piano and there's no visible deflection on the decking. One venue has what looks like a laminate material as the surface, the other has those knobbly FRP panels like you'd see on bathroom walls, painted black. The laminate one have some chipping, the FRP are prone to scratches. Despite the weight and surface materials, I 'd buy them over a thinner square tube frame with plywood any day.

    I do know that there's an option for the decks to bolt down to the locator pins. One of my venues uses these, the other has little floating plugs built in that cap the holes depending on which way up the reversible deck goes. I don't see a huge difference in the setup/tear down time either way.

    With the recent posts about pit fillers and riser collapses, the bolt down system seems to be a wise idea. In each of the videos I've seen on the pits, it looks like the performers are dancing in rhythm and basically bouncing the pit covers off the supports. I'm assuming that any of the companies you mentioned will have addressed this already, since this install is specifically for a pit.

    Great question! I'd follow it up with: how/where are you going to store these? Do they just become the floor of the pit when it's full of musicians, and the framing goes somewhere else? Do you store the whole system on carts, or just buy a few carts to transfer the heavy bits to storage? I've seen these concerns get completely overlooked, even in bigger and better venues. You've lucky to have the chance to make it work for you!

    As a side note, if any of your panels are going to be usable sizes, consider getting additional frames, railings, stairs and other accessories quoted so that you could use the pit fillers as risers or platforms on the stage in the future, or as orchestra risers in the pit (especially if that's where the decks get stored). Stock size pieces with just enough custom work to get your pit shape would also give you the option to easily replace damaged panels down the line. You could also ask them if there's a way to safely install a trap door, if your venue doesn't already have one in the stage. A well planned system could also be used in a gymnasium for graduations and such, possibly even expanded with more panels but keeping the attractive curve that the front of your pit may have. Sounds like a great opportunity to cover a lot of bases with one product, if the Powers That Be let you splash out a little now. Show them the videos of show choirs collapsing the pit if they give you any guff.

    Let us know which one you go with, and the pros and cons once you've had time to put it to use!
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  8. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I don't know how close to 6' deep it is but also the time to consider fall protection, required in jurisdictions using NFPAs Life Safety Code starting with the 2015 edition; and a good idea based upon the reports of pit falls. My preferred system puts a tensioned wire grid at 7 or 8" below stage level, and the pit filler decks with stub legs sits on that. Besides protecting anyone that comes on stage (and it usually not the performers who fall; and often is administration); it also satisfies OSHA to protect the people who remove and install the filler. Eliminating the full height support structure otherwise required pays for a lot of the TWG and in addition the time to install and remove is reduced significantly. Pick up the decks, toss stub legs into a crate, and roll off stage.
     
    egilson1 likes this.

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