Thats pretty common practice. You will walk into many theatres that have cut slots in the deck for tracking and it messes up the deck for the rest of the decks life. It gets even more fun with you want to add some automation in that track, you have to raise the stage 4-6 inches which means triscuits or 4x8's accross the entire deck plus all the tracking mechanisms. This is also the reason that nearly every broadway touring show carries their own deck so the tracks are perfect every time. Add in a revolve the things get expensive REALLY quick. Tracking things onstage can be one of the biggest pains in the world, even simple tracks just to get a wagon upstage/downstage can be a real pain to do.
The knife and track system is to keep moving scenery in the right place as it moves. Simple tracks are straight, but complicated moves can be done with curved tracks. This keeps movement consistent.
In general, ALL automation is ran durring pre show. Not only to check for problems with the tracking but also to check that all of your limits are correctly hitting/working. You will occasionally come across angle iron tracking above the deck, not built into it, it works if you can put it upstage if you have a unit that only tracks upstage/downstage.The knife and track system is to keep moving scenery in the right place as it moves. Simple tracks are straight, but complicated moves can be done with curved tracks. This keeps movement consistent.
Now comes the part where I refer you back to my two previous posts. If you look at the drawing and read, your questions would have been answered. Is there a trip hazard? No, the track is totally flush with the floor and usually just over 1/4 wide. The knife is usually 1/4 plate steel or another piece of angle iron. You can also use UHMW Plastic.
Part of preshow checks are to check the tracks and the movement of all scenic elements.
YES! And not all casters have to be V-groove and tracks. I've often used these on only the center of a moving piece and standard Darnell (expensive, but worth it) fixed casters on the others: less tracks, less binding, and fewer trips. How is it that dancers can move beautifully onstage, and then trip over a painted line backstage?http://www.castercity.com/vgroovew.htm
These are the way I prefer to track scenery if I can not lay an entire deck and the tracking will not be in the way. It makes doing the tracking EXTREMLY easy. Also, the angle iron track tends to be a bit less of a tripping hazard then having the angle iron on edge.
If you are just wanting to do tracked flats, it will be much easier to track them from above then in the deck. If you have some old curtain tracking laying around or a track that you are not using for the show it is very easy to get set up. You will need to buy carriers that fit your track that terminated to a 3/8" threaded bolt. You then have to drop steel down to the flat (if you cable it you will never get it to stop swaying). You run it just like you would a traditional traveler and rig it the same way. If this looks/sounds like something you might want to do let us know, I just did one of these rigs this summer.these tips are wonderful help!!! the tracks i'd like to put down are limited to only two, one moving offstage-left to center, one moving off stage-right to center... the scenic pieces are tall & wide flats - framework only - no wrapping... (since they're pretty tall pieces, would i need to have them on wagons??? how would i compensate for the height and balance otherwise?)
the reason i'm hoping to use tracks is the fact that they're see-through, and i was hoping to figure a way to move them without the use of visible stage hands, automated in a way... i'm scared of motors (lol), so i'm also trying to figure out a system of cables to move them on and off... does anyone have information on particular systems i could look into purchasing...
i figured that any cables running L to R would be have to be run under the deck, so the first rendering would be what i'm looking for... i like the grooved casters very much, as this seems much easier than raising the entire deck... but that would mean that any sort of cable system would have to be above-deck and would then be a trip hazard... argh... or could the cables somehow be run under the grooved angle iron??? hmm...
this is just something i've been waiting to accomplish at some point, and one of the shows i'm working on now almost begs for it... perhaps it's out of my league... sigh...
anymore ideas would be wonderful!!! (i can't believe i couldn't find anything on this topic here until now)...
Depending on the weight, and vector < ie straight on/off or curved all over the space> of travel you cn use Rigi-flex, Rigi-trac, standard "barn-door" track, or standard traveller track like you would use for a main rag etc.
Also, you will need to secure the batten with tag lines tied of to ideally a pin rail on each side of stage to keep the batten from swinging SL/SR. The flats will have to inertia, so when they stop they will cause a bit of swinging to occur.One thing I think I can say is that when using any kind of track to move scenery on and off stage, a rigid mounting system is a necessity. I found this out the hard way early on. I thought it would be an easy, great idea to slide some "Broadway" style flats on and off stage by suspending them from Aluminum "rigi-track". I was well within the weight specs for support, but what I forgot about was the flex inherent in the aluminum track. I used chain to rig the track to a batten, bad move. As the weight moves across the track, the down force of the weight is transferred to the first chain past the weight which flexes "up" towards the batten. this results in in sags, and scrapes on the ground and general unhappiness.