The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

Two-story sets

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by CynicWhisper, Feb 13, 2008.

  1. CynicWhisper

    CynicWhisper Member

    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    2
    So over the years, I've always been very impressed by sets with two full stories of set. I'm working on designs for Beauty and the Beast now and thinking how very, very cool it would be to have two full levels on the castle. Now, I've done elevated pieces before, but I've never done a set with a second floor more than 5 or 6 feet off the ground.

    My theatre uses stock 4x8 foot platforms with fitting for metal legs on the bottom, but we can't use these legs for more than 5 feet, they get wobbly and scary, even with reinforcements.

    So I'm just curious, how does your theatre pull off those amazing tall sets? Anyone have pictures of the back of one of their tall sets? Thanks to all.
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    9,400
    Likes Received:
    1,799
    Location:
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    Usually, steel. When building tall the you have to built with cross beams in mind. The best thing to do is to get some 3x3's, secure them to the deck, cross brace it to death, then go up to your platforms. Because you are in a stock platform situation, I would suggest building headers that the platforms can lay accross.

    Now, don't go out and do this if you don't have someone checking your work. Building levels does require some engineering to make sure the whole thing does not take a tumble.
     
  3. deadlygopher

    deadlygopher Member

    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    6
    Occupation:
    Automation/Software Developer
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    When we did our house for The Sound of Music we did two floors. It was normal 4x8 platforms with 4x4 legs and diagonal cross-bracing with 2x4s. I'll try to dig up some pictures, but it was really sturdy. Although it was a bit of a pain to build (it was on casters) it was the prettiest set I've ever worked on.
     
  4. CynicWhisper

    CynicWhisper Member

    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    2
    Yeah, I won't be building my own tall set for awhile, I just fantasize =P

    As for you gopher, I would love to see those pictures, they sound amazing.
     
  5. sloop

    sloop Member

    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Indiana
    Not that hard once you know what you are doing. Don't rush it..learn what materials can do. Don't be afraid to ask "how did you do that" if you are around a two story set..
     
  6. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,085
    Likes Received:
    115
    Location:
    Nashville TN
    When we do a two story wall we build stud walls just like a real house or band and brace it till the cows come home. Stud walls work well for stress skins. For this show we used 1*4s at the top and bottom and then 2*4s on edge braced by 1*4. They were strong and sturdy.

    Band and brace

    [​IMG]

    Stud Wall
    [​IMG]
     
  7. deadlygopher

    deadlygopher Member

    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    6
    Occupation:
    Automation/Software Developer
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    I can't find any pictures that really do the thing justice, but these pictures kinda show the staircase and second floor. I'll find some structural pictures tomorrow.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,466
    Likes Received:
    2,455
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    I wrote this thread last year. In it I show pictures of building a platform and leg units. The basic principle can be used for an 8' platform as well. The only difference is I would use a little more luan on the legs and I would use 1x4 for all the cross bracing.

    One other note, getting good straight wood is critical for tall platforms.
     
  9. thelightingmancan

    thelightingmancan Member

    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Leesburg Virginia
    cbhelp.jpg
    Here is a basic framing, the black posts are 4x4's and the lines are 2x4's The top is framed with 2x4's with 4x4 supports in the middle if needed. Do some research and calculations if you need to, don't just built and hope!
     
  10. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    4,058
    Likes Received:
    653
    Occupation:
    Controls Technician - TAIT Towers
    Location:
    Lititz, PA
    I agree with your sentiments (now in red), but you should heed them too. I certainly hope that your drawing is not of an 8' x 16' platform made from four 4' x 8' platforms. Because if it is, you are not building your platforms with sufficient framing or support (assuming standard construction and 3/4" plywood lid). There are many things wrong with your picture, so as you say, do some research and calculations.
     
  11. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,850
    Likes Received:
    46
    I don't mean to nitpick as I'm certainly not a carp, and certainly have little experience; however, the "stud walls" in these pictures are not what I'm familiar with as stud walls. I thought a stud wall has multiple parallel sections. (4x8 stud wall would have 3 or so of these parallel sections, same length as top / bottom rail.)
     
  12. bobgaggle

    bobgaggle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    627
    Likes Received:
    165
    Occupation:
    Shop Foreman
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    I've done a few two story pieces, one was a 52' x 3' catwalk. It was just a long platform with a railing, but the other piece I did was a two sided wall for Fools. Both of the pieces are 8' high and joists for the flooring are 16" apart. All vertical studs are 18" inches apart. For the catwalk, you can see the distances I put between the uprights, and all of the frame pieces are 2"x8".

    Another note: The catwalk needed only four diagonal braces to minimize movement, two on each side. For the Fools house, the plywood walls killed a lot of wobble, but i had to put some diagonals between the posts and the wall.

    These pics are renderings I did in google SketchUp, which isn't bad for freeware.
    Fools House Dimensions.jpg
    Catwalk Dimensions.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  13. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,085
    Likes Received:
    115
    Location:
    Nashville TN
    The top picture was just a framed platform but to me a stud wall is something used to evenly distribute load using 2*4s so the lower picture qualifies by my book.
     
  14. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,466
    Likes Received:
    2,455
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    The first one no but yes the second one is stud walls... I like mine better.

    "All things theater" I have to agree with Alex (Unless those platforms are sporting 2x6 or 2x8 frames). Is that a support going the long way down the center of your platforms? How does the weight on it get supported? On the flip side there's no need to use 2x4 for the cross bracing. It's not supporting the weight of the deck above, it's locking the vertical supports together to prevent sway. Use 1x4 instead and save a few bucks.

    Bobgaggle same for you... It's hard to tell for sure from these drawings but that catwalk especially concerns me. I don't see how you prevented movement in the long direction. All it takes is a little fatigue and that whole things going to collapse left or right.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2008
  15. thelightingmancan

    thelightingmancan Member

    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Leesburg Virginia
    No, they are not seperate platforms, the lines on the top are floor joists for people to walk on the second story. We would never just join those together.
     
  16. bobgaggle

    bobgaggle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    627
    Likes Received:
    165
    Occupation:
    Shop Foreman
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    You can see on the second post from each end i put in a diagonal. They were about 8 feet long and bolted to the floor. All lateral movement was next to nil. The railing across the top also added more support, because the railing is supported by the posts that go all the way to the floor. I added lock washers on the 3/4" Carridge Bolts i used to attach the posts. The two sets of stairs killed all movement on the short side
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice