Rose Brand® Know-How Blog

Entertainment & event production tips, news & stories

How To Use Various Netting and Gauze Fabrics in Scenic Design

 

Scenic designers use Netting and Gauze fabrics in combination with other scenery and lighting to create visual illusions and spatial depth.  The transparency of netting and the translucency of gauze make these fabrics particularly well suited for these effects. The following describes the characteristics of various nettings and gauzes and how you might use them to best effect. More...

3 Common Uses for Masking Fabrics

Our customers use masking fabrics in numerous ways, not the least of which is to absorb light and to hide walls, equipment and performers. Some additional uses are described below. In most cases, it's important that the masking fabric be opaque so that it acts as a good barrier to light and / or sound. 

Managing Sound*

Masking fabric is often used to cover the walls of black box theatres.  However, since walls are flat, hard and parallel to each other, sound waves can bounce back and forth, causing reverberation. To avoid this, use at least 2 layers of heavy flat masking fabric with several inches of space in between. The air space in between serves to trap the sound that goes through the first layer of fabric. Another method is to use curtains with fullness (instead of flat curtains) to cover the walls. A heavyweight fabric, such as Rose Brand 25oz Memorable Velour, with fullness hung in, works well. The irregular folds in the fabric disperse the sound waves and the mass of the material absorbs some of the energy. 

Both of these solutions can be accomplished easily by tying the fabric to pipes mounted from the ceiling, or installing the fabric on a pair of parallel traveler tracks suspended in front of the walls of the theatre.  Traveler tracks allow for adjustment and provide possible storage positions when the masking is not in use.

* Rose Brand recently tested the acoustical performance of eight of our most popular masking fabrics. Results for the medium weight 12oz Brava up to the heavy 32oz Royale are available in the Rose Brand Catalog and on the website.

Theatre / Arena Reduction Curtains

If a theatre has fixed seating areas that are not being used for a particular production, masking can be used to cordon off the area. Fabric panels can be hung from suspended pipes or tracks that are hung in front of the seats to be hidden. Pipe and Base 2.0 systems are also available and allow for very versatile placement of the masking. The Pipe and Base system is ground supported and can be set up and moved as needed.  

Transforming Theatre Spaces

An ordinary black box space can be reconfigured to a theater in the round space with the use of masking fabrics. Let’s consider a rectangular black box space with galleries around the perimeter. When configured in the round, masking is generally used to cover the walls of the theatre and to provide passages for actors and crew. This can be done by tying the masking to the railing of the galleries or the masking can be hung from traveler tracks on the galleries. The traveler option provides more immediate flexibility when changing the space from a proscenium or thrust configuration, to a round setup.

A Selection of Masking Fabrics Available from Rose Brand

Most Requested: 22oz Encore IFR

Broadest Color Selection: 21oz Marvel FR

Best Overall Sound Absorption: 25oz Memorable FR

Most Economical Solutions: Commando Cloth FR and Duvetyn FR

Durability for Long Term Installations: 30oz Wool Serge IFR

Complementary Products

Heat Borders

Track

Pipe and Base 2.0

 

Behind the Scenes: Outfitting ShowStoppers at Wynn Las Vegas

Throwing your wife a huge party for her birthday is generally a good way to win brownie points for the year to come. Throwing her a huge party in the form of a Broadway-esque musical where Hugh Jackman performs, now that’s a way to amass brownie points for life. 

To celebrate the birthday of his wife, Andrea, Steve Wynn, chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, threw an elaborate party. An enthusiast of Broadway show music, Wynn transformed the party into an attraction for the Wynn Las Vegas Encore Theatre. The result was ShowStoppers, a musical production of classic Broadway show tunes that Wynn personally wrote. 

Rose Brand had the pleasure and honor to create the drapery for the show. Our team of production specialists had direct input on what the final design would look like – we suggested colors, adjusted fabric type, and even put finishing touches on the production before rehearsals. 

Tom Coulouris and Brent Porter, two of the most sought-after project managers and veterans of the theater industry, sat with designers and producers including production designer Ric Lipson of Stufish and Rick Gray, general manager of entertainment operations at Wynn Design & Development as the concept for this production came about. In an interview with Sharon Stancavage for Lighting and Sound America, Lipson describes the duo as the “Gods of Drapes.”

 

During preliminary meetings with the production team, Rose Brand presented suggested mock ups for the major soft goods in the production. Together, the two groups of producers worked with the fabrics to get the best effects – additional layers of fabric were added, colors were custom-dyed, and various light sources were tested. Since Rose Brand has a huge selection of fabrics in stock, testing different fabrics and color options was fast and easy. Rose Brand brought to the project a deep understanding of the aesthetics the designers wanted to achieve paired with intimate knowledge of the technical aspects required in order to make that possible. 

This was a very high-energy, fast-paced project made up of many specialized design pieces. One of the scenic goals for this production was to create the illusion of depth and dimension with limited space. To give the background depth and pizzazz, varying layers of three different colors of Shimmer Organza fabric were used in different parts of the show. A focal point throughout the show is the upstage curtain made from the Shimmer Organza in 200% sewn-in fullness at the top and bottom. The sheer fabric was also used to create other elements of the show. 

In the interview for Lighting and Sound America, Lipson describes another Rose Brand fabric, the Gliss Velvet, as “taking light in the most beautiful way.” This textured velvet was used in many places in the production including the proscenium and the band riser front. The individual legs and borders are a custom colored antique gold, made specifically for the show. 

Additional Rose Brand components used in the show include Classic Star Drop with LEDs for a border, legs, and drop, an Austrian Curtain sewn from Frazzle fabric, and numerous steel beaded curtains. All three of these elements are suggestions the Rose Brand production team made on the project. The steel beaded curtains were very popular in numerous scenes. “In the scene from Cabaret, we use a lot of Rose Brand’s 5/8" Plated Faceted Metal Beads for the whole of the set—it’s sort of enveloped in these beads,” Lipson adds. The curtains are pictured above on stage left and right as well as the center stage in what has been described as a “beautifully decadent, bead-laden club.”  

After sewing for the project was completed, Brent Porter, Rose Brand’s Manager of Fabrication and Development, flew out to Las Vegas to perform enhancements on-site for two weeks before rehearsals started. Working alongside the installation crew at Wynn Casino, he assisted in making sure each piece was properly installed and hung perfectly. Porter also assisted with on-site tweaks which allowed the curtains to open and close perfectly. Along with Lipson and Grey, he made sure that every tassel was in place and each curtain had the exact fullness needed. 

Since its premiere, the production has received rave reviews and shows no signs of slowing down.  ShowStoppers is running through October 2015 at Wynn Las Vegas. 


Use the same products in your next production! Here are some of the fabrics used in ShowStoppers:

Frazzle
Gliss Velvet
Classic Star Drop
Shimmer Organza 
For information about ordering metal beaded curtain, call 1-800-223-1624

 

To read the full feature in Light & Sound America, click here.

Create Amazingly Realistic Scenery with Vacuform Panels and Paint!

How do you quickly & easily create the illusion of a New York City street scene in the middle of a Caribbean Island? Film Director Francis Disla did it for the movie, Un Lio En Dolares, filmed in the Dominican Republic. 

Disla enlisted the support of Designers Angel Muniz and Sorangel Fersove, as well as Scenic Painter Miguel Hernandez. They knew they could accomplish the task quickly using Vacuform architectural patterns and scenic paint. They chose the Vacuform “Old Brick” pattern, which perfectly captured the look and feel of NYC architecture. Panels were adhered together and then painted the color of NYC apartment building bricks. Each detail was perfectly executed starting from the painting of the brick pattern and ending with the finishing touches of the grocery store and window air conditioners. The scenery looked as though the building had been plucked from the streets of New York City. 

Vacuform Scenic Panels are an easy and cost effective way to create great instant scenery.  Most commonly used in theaters to depict architectural elements on stage, these panels come in over 42 different styles which can be painted to any color. Rose Brand also offers Vacuform that is pre-primed with Rosco’s Off Broadway Deep Red, Payne’s Grey or Burnt Sienna. Panels are made of .030 gauge material making them lightweight yet durable. This material is both waterproof and flame retardant making it a no-nonsense option for any creation you have in mind. 

Vacuform is easy to cut with any utility knife, blade or scissor and can be stapled or glued onto most materials. Panels fit together to form a seamless pattern, which can be painted on using water-based vinyl, oil, lacquer, water-based latex and acrylic paints. You have the ability to replicate materials such as brick, stone, rock, glass, tree bark, shingles and many other decorative elements. Using Vacuform panels is easier, cheaper and less time consuming than using the real materials. The possibilities are endless!

Product: Vacuform – Old Brick C
Un lío en dólares
Estudio Cinematográfico Quitasueño, Haina, Dom Rep
Film Director: Francis Disla
Façade Designers: Angel Muniz, Sorangel Fersobe
Film Designer: Ruben Cordero
Scenic Painter: Miguel Hernandez
Photos By: Sorangel Fersobe, Miguel Hernandez, Jenniffer Calcaño

 

How Scenic Designer Akiko Nishijima Rotch used Kaos to depict the steamy Mississippi Delta and character dynamic in her set design for “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.”

Post: The following is an edited version of our interview with Akiko Nishijima Rotch, Set Designer, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” playing at both the Perseverance Theatre in Juneau and the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage.

Rose Brand: What was your overall design objective for the production?

Rotch: The play “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” By Tennessee Williams takes place in the Mississippi Delta area, which has a very hot & sticky environment.  The hot weather affects the characters of this play a lot. The biggest challenge I faced as the set designer was how to create a hot & humid atmosphere in a theatre in Alaska.  

When I researched the environment of Mississippi, I saw a lot of images of Spanish moss. I felt that those images quickly communicated the feeling of the South, and so Spanish moss became my design motif.

Another important point of the set design was to communicate that characters have no privacy in their home. For example, Mae is always trying to eavesdrop on what Maggie and Brick are saying. Since this is an important aspect of the play, I wanted the set to visually express it.

Rose Brand: How did you achieve your design objectives?

Rotch: I started to look for a material that had both translucency (a metaphor for no privacy) and an organic shape (a metaphor for the Spanish moss).  Scrim and gauze did not have enough of an organic shape for me.  Then I discovered the samples of “Kaos” material among the Rose Brand samples I’ve been receiving since I graduated from NYU in 2007.

Kaos was the exact texture I was looking for.  The gaps in the material are uneven and Kaos is also paintable.  The uneven gaps allowed us to express the organic shape of Spanish moss. The ease of painting allowed us to create the depth of colors we needed to complete the illusion of the moss.

We used the mossy painted, black, Kaos Medium material to represent the walls of the house in an unrealistic way.  As I mentioned before, eavesdropping (and peeping) were important factors to communicate.  Being able to see and hear through the walls gave the audience the sense that there was zero privacy in this space.

Rose Brand: How else might you use Kaos for future design efforts?

Rotch: A scrim effect with an organic shaped material is pretty hard to find, so I will experiment with it when I need the texture. I am also curious about Kaos Heavy next time.  I would love to see the difference between Medium, which I used, and Heavy. I strongly recommend “Kaos” to create layers of magical space.

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