Rose Brand Know-How Blog

Entertainment & event production tips, news & stories

Projection On Scrim

Here's a response to a customer inquiry that might also be of interest to many others...

Issue: "I am trying to front project on the scrim with a projector that conceals the set behind it with good light control. Please suggest a scrim for me and anything I should be aware of."

Response: Projection onto scrim can be a bit tricky but if you know some of the ins and outs you should be able to avoid the challenges associated with this effect. 

All of our (scrim products) can be used for projection but typically theatrical projection is done on the old standby of white sharkstooth scrim.  I have also seen projection done on elements of painted black scrim and scenic painted scrims.  We have seen many desirable front projection effects and images produced on black scrim that has been sprayed (on the front) with rear-projection Screen Goo, as this makes a great reflective surface for the image on a black substrate.  I personally do a lot of outdoor projection onto vinyl mesh like textilene or speaker mesh with great results.  The scrim material chosen will depend on your application and the desired seamless area.

The effect of a scrim heavily depends on the control of stray light. It uses contrast to fool the eye into thinking that the material is opaque.  Traditional theatrical scenic scrims are typically lit from a very steep angle so that the light that passes through the scrim falls just upstage or in the wings.  As long as the space and objects behind it stay dark, you will not see anything through the scrim.  If there is front light hitting the scrim straight on, or at a shallow angle, it will illuminate the area and objects behind the scrim.  This is true for direct and reflected light from the stage.

When you apply this to projection, things will get a bit more complicated.  The ideal setup will depend very heavily on a number of variables; the effect to be achieved, desired quality and purpose of the projection image itself, and the technical capabilities of the venue.  All of this is assuming front projection on scrim since rear projection is not advisable and is typically done for effect only.

If your primary concern is projection image quality, you will likely want to put the projector in the house straight on to the scrim.  This will produce the best quality of image but is the worst case scenario in terms of making a scrim appear opaque.  This is typically how scrim projection is accomplished but it will likely require a blackout immediately upstage of the scrim.  This blackout will catch all of the projector overshoot and certainly mask the scenery or stage behind it.  Just before the reveal is made through the scrim, the blackout will be flown out or traveled open.  If you are looking for a double image, the blackout may not be necessary at all as the background would be dimly lit the entire time.

If you are looking for less quality of image and more effect, the projector(s) can be placed at a sharp angle to the scrim and blended into one image similar to the way your stage lighting would be.  This requires equipment capable of this type of image warping and will certainly reduce the overall quality of the projected content.  This can be a technically complex setup and will require the appropriate projectors and image processing.

 

 

 

Ominous Cotton Scrim Scenic Design Installation Using Projection & Lighting Techniques

Designer Ivy Flores created this gorgeous installation with the ominous title, “A Scenic View of the End of the World.” The installation consisted of hanging strips of cotton scrim arranged within a cave-like structure so that viewers could walk into the center of the space and look outwards. Four projectors lit the fabric strips by beaming a panoramic animation outwards from the center of the space. The effect was ethereal. 

Cotton scrim is commonly used in theaters, special events and other interior settings for quick economical swags and billows that are light as a feather.  Ivy selected this ultra-fine gauzy fabric so that light would pass through the material with minimal effect on the layer behind it.  soft and durable qualities made it perfect for an exhibit that users were encouraged to walk through, touch and move. 

View more images of designer Ivy Flores’s installation in our portfolio.  Watch the video of the experience by clicking the link below. 

A Scenic View of the End of the World

Flame Retardant Fabrics: What’s the Difference between FR, IFR, DFR and NFR Fabrics?

Match Flame Test

An NFPA 705 match test being performed on a piece of fabric.

Fire safety is serious business and Rose Brand offers years of experience, dedicated support, and practical solutions to keep you and your audiences safe. While local fire codes may vary and local enforcement is open to interpretation and discretion, almost everyone has the same question in mind: Does the fabric self-extinguish if exposed to a small flame?

The goal is to keep accidents involving flame, heat and fabric from spreading rapidly. In the U.S., the most widely followed standard to determine fire resistance in curtain fabric is the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 701 standard. This standard specifies a lab test and the limits of allowable burning of curtain fabric. Since the lab test is impractical for spot checking fabrics outside of a formal lab, the NFPA has also established a field (match) test, NFPA 705.

As shown in the photo above, a vertical flame test is used to determine if a drapery fabric resists burning and is self-extinguishing. If a fabric is not sufficiently flame resistant to meet a standard, the fabric is labeled Non Flame Retardant (NFR). Fabrics that meet a self-extinguishing standard are categorized as Flame Retardant (FR), Inherently Flame Retardant (IFR), or Durably Flame Retardant (DFR). The method by which the fabric got to be sufficiently flame resistant determines the specific label.More...

Lighting a Sharkstooth Scrim Part 3 (of 3)

For more information on lighting a scrim check out our following blog posts:

How To Light A Sharkstooth Scrim (Part 1)

How To Light A Sharkstooth Scrim (Part 2)

 

Here is the third article in our series on “How To Light A Scrim.” This article is derived from questions most frequently fielded by our salespeople at Rose Brand.

Does it matter in which direction the “tooth,” or opening in the scrim, is oriented?


Vertical Tooth AlignmentHorizontal tooth Alignment

Vertical tooth alignment (left) Horizontal tooth alignment (right)

The tooth is about twice as high as it is wide, and this is the common orientation when sewing the scrim. The properties of the scrim, however, are not affected if the tooth is rotated. In fact, this may be done to save a user money and more efficiently use the available widths of scrim in stock. 

Another common reason for rotating a scrim is to More...

How To Light A Sharkstooth Scrim (Part 2)

Opaque Scrim

Figure 1: A correctly lit sharkstooth scrim in an opaque state.

For more information on lighting a scrim check out our following blog posts:

How To Light A Sharkstooth Scrim (Part 1)

How To Light A Sharkstooth Scrim (Part 3)

 

The most common placement of lighting instruments for a scrim is above and directly in front of the scrim. However, that isn't the only lighting position that will be effective. Remember: angle angle angle! As long as your lighting is oblique, and can wash the scrim, it doesn't have to be from above. If your scrim is in an extreme downstage position, for example, footlights can be very effective for scrim washes. (In this case, the “spill” light is lost up in the flies, behind the proscenium and/or masking borders.) In a “wing and drop” set, More...