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Who says only God can make a tree?

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by Footer, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    So, we are closing tonight a show with probably one of the more difficult pieces I have worked on in awhile. Its the tree for Camelot... heres what it had to do...

    -Roll on an off stage
    -When onstage, it had to be completely solid with zero movement.
    -Had to be climbable, including 4' out on each limb.
    -pack in a truck
    -twinkle with points of light
    -and... look like a tree...

    We decided to with with pneumatic actuating casters for this one. We bolted casters to UHMW (essentially cutting board material). Attachted to the UHMW we bolted an actuator that had 1" of travel and could lift around 200# at 100psi. We installed a tank that would hold around 120psi of air, enough to lift and drop the piece 6 times. The piece was plumbed so that air pressure both pushed the casters down and pulled them up.

    More pictures are at the following places...
    http://vansandtdesigns.com/portfolio/camelot/

    (EDIT 7.1.2013: Pictures have been removed, please see website for pictures)




    Oh... and it was a trussed elipse.. that was fun...

    The trunk section bolted to the base and the limbs bolted to the trunk. The entire thing was covered in plywood. We then foamed the entire piece and carved it. After carving, electrics (MrsFooter) came in and installed about 150 strands of fiberoptics. Paints then covered the entire thing with this plastic like epoxy that is designed for zoo enclosures. The stuff dries like a rock and takes texture really well. Add some paint.. and its good to go.

    Fiber optics


    So, all in all we had four departments working on it, with about 20 people in total. It took a week and a half to build, totally 3 days for the base, 3 days to foam, a day to carve, day of texture, half day of fibering, and a day of paint.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013
    erichart and (deleted member) like this.
  2. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    That, sir, is epic.
     
  3. NevilleLighting

    NevilleLighting Active Member

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    Kyle,
    Kudos to you and everyone that made that tree such a memorable set piece. All of the various departments worked out a great timetable to make it turn out. I think it is one of the nicest pieces MTW has turned out in years. It was sure a pleasure to light and I made sure that every inch of it was seen in every scene where it was onstage.

    David
     
  4. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Beautiful work Kyle.


    I'm thinking that we need a Collaborative article on the use of foam in scenery.

    Types of foam. Where to get it. How to attach it to other structures. How to carve it. What tools to use. How to protect the foam from chipping in performance. How to paint it.
     
  5. NevilleLighting

    NevilleLighting Active Member

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    For the lighting we used .75 mm fiber optics. We ran the strands above the carved styrofoam and below the final texture treatment. The fibers had tape flags on the ends to keep them clean. All fibers had about 3" of slack and were trimmed down once the tree was painted. Upon trimming the surface of each fiber optic was sanded to improve the viewing angle. The tree is actually made of 4 parts that break for shipping purposes, base, trunk and 2 branches. The base has no optics and the other three pieces are fed by PAR-16's for each piece. All of the different crews did a great job working with a complex piece to ensure delivery by tech rehearsal.

    Kudos to all for a great tree that is gorgeous and moves well.
     
  6. MrsFooter

    MrsFooter CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I went home that night, after spending the day running those fiber optics, and discovered foam in my socks. And in my underpants. And in my dreams.
    That tree made me cry.
     
  7. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    If you think foam is bad, you should try mylar confetti. We're still finding that stuff from the 2007 Pageant of the Masters.:rolleyes:
     
  8. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Confetti is only close in absolute evil to glitter.
     
  9. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    I agree, the day I crawled out from under the stage covered in glitter was terrible.
     
  10. NevilleLighting

    NevilleLighting Active Member

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    Steph... and Kyle,...
    That tree was a truly awesome piece of scenery, and will comtinue to be as long as we can rent it out. Your blood, sweat, tears and occasional foam irritation are well noted and appreciated. Be proud of the beautiful scenery that crossed that stage.
     
  11. erosing

    erosing The Royal Renaissance Man

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    That tree looks amazing, great work guys and gals.
     
  12. erichart

    erichart Member

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    That's amazing! Great process shots, and it looks like the end result was spectacular. Your solution for pneumatically-actuated casters is interesting as well. I've seen a number of methods to engage casters with pneumatics, and this one is a new one.
     
  13. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    ... or bobby pins after the dance schools have been in. I swear those things breed. :grin:
     
  14. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    Footer

    Great work (That’s an understatement, and there’s not much else I can add that hasn’t been posted already). The progress photos are great, too.

    But a practical question: What sort of planning did you do for this? For example, did you prepare a scaled drawing for the frame, or a dimensioned sketch? Likewise with the casters? Was the finished shape based on a drawing/sketch?

    Joe
     
  15. cprted

    cprted Active Member

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    But at least you can sweep up bobby pins. No force known to man, least of all a broom or a vacuum, will pick up the bloody glitter.

    Gorgeous set piece by the way!
     
  16. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Wow Footers, I don't know how I missed this thread when it was first posted. That is a beautiful thing!
     
  17. seanandkate

    seanandkate Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Ditto! I'm sure there's some cable show called "Pimp My Tree" that would kill for those photos Kyle.
     
  18. kicknargel

    kicknargel Well-Known Member

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    Super cool. Do you have a product name or supplier on the epoxy coating?

    Nicholas Kargel
    You Want What? Productions INC
    scenic design and construction in Denver, CO

    www.youwantwhatproductions.com
     
  19. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Very nice work on the tree. What was the budget and time for it in materials three pronged triangle for doing so balance?

    Budget verses Time (man/hours and prototype type time) verses cost for materals as reflected in time to make verses having elements made?

    Your completed project is well done and says a lot of time and materials. Well done in doing great work
     
  20. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    We are all salaried here.... so it was a "get it up to paints by tuesday type thing". Luckly I did not have to pull an all nighter. It took me about 3 days to build the base, 2 days to build the trunk and limbs. The guys that foamed it did it in 2 10 hour days, carving took a day, and foam coat/paint took a day. I don't even want to count up the man hours, Though its probably in the 120's or so. I estimate the cost at about 6k not including labor, though I have not seen the final budget. We built it on the good and fast side, as we do with most things here. We very rarely if ever send something out to get built. Nearly everything you see on our stage (of a show we built) was built in house.
     

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