Rose Brand Know-How Blog

Entertainment & event production tips, news & stories

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.

How Rose Brand Stone Molding Cloth Was Used for the Tiki Island Art Project at Burning Man 2013

The Rose Brand Molding Cloth(TM) product was featured on one of the floats at "Burning Man" in Black Rock City, NV. The Stone variety was used for the Tiki Island Art Project headed by Donald Cassel of the Tiki Island Playa Surfers. It only took three rolls of the cloth to create a rock skirt around the perimeter of the Tiki Island.  The crew started work on the float 4 days prior to the event. Although they didn't have prior experience with the material, everyone quickly became acclimated to how to handle and implement it.

Donald came up with a fantastic method for creating a durable skirt by hanging rebar over the edges of the island. Then, some chicken wire was placed on top to add some structural integrity over the voids between the rebar supports. This aided against periodic gusts of winds that were encountered from being out on The Playa Desert. Before laying the Molding Cloth product overtop the chicken wire, the crew pushed and pulled randomly along the perimeter to create some natural facets/contours for the cloth to lie against. This allowed the product to obtain a more realistic final shape. The bottoms of the rebars were then fitted with small pieces of wood so that the Stone Molding Cloth skirt could be stapled securely in place. The staples were all that was needed to hold the skirt in place all week thanks to its lightweight consistency.   

Overall there were multiple benefits for using the Molding Cloth product. Its malleability allowed for easy access to the main compartments of the Tiki Island so that island operation wasn't compromised. Also, there were no additional supports needed because the cloth was able to hold it's intended structure. The material was quick and painless for the crew to use, and the look of the structire was both realistic and impactful. Who would imagine you'd stumble upon a giant 3 story tall 50 ft. wide Tiki Island in the middle of the desert?!

High Performance, Cost Effective Fabric Projection Screens

See projection artist Ross Ashton's FANTASTIC sound & light show, celebrating Dartmouth College's Hopkins Center for the Arts 50th anniversary. The front of the Hopkins Center features several enormous arched windows, each of which was covered with a Rose Brand Tendo fabric projection screen and attached to the steel window frame via Rose Brand ClikMagnets.

Tendo fabric provides for an exceptional projection screen. It's highly reflective, lights evenly and cost effective. It's also stretchable and lightweight, making it much easier to install than traditional vinyl screens. Wrinkles simply stretch away. The lightweight aspect of the fabric enabled installation onto the steel window frames with our convenient ClikMagnet product. If you'd like to read more about how the effects for this event were achieved, the projectors used, etc. please see the article that appears on the Live Design blog.


Rose Brand Fabricates 335’ Curtain for Ann Hamilton Art Installation

Rose Brand is proud to have worked with artist Ann Hamilton on her uniquely interactive art installation, "The Event of a Thread," featured at the Park Avenue Armory in NYC. The artist drew inspiration from the Armory's enormous 55,000-sq ft Wade Thompson Drill Hall, as the installation itself is massive.

The exhibit features 42 swings, intended for visitor use, which animate a giant 335' curtain. Visitors engage on a multi-dimensional level as they interact with one another on the swings and simultaneously experience the flow of the curtain, readings, sounds, and live performance.

Rose Brand sewed the massive, white silk curtain that connects to the 42 swings through a series of ropes and pulleys. It took 76 widths of silk fabric to complete the curtain, which is curved at the top and reaches a height of over 41'. Discussion between Ann Hamilton and Rose Brand's Isabel Martinez determined the final seaming and finishing. Sewers used the 4-thread method for seaming as well as bottom and side finishing, to provide the strongest and least visible seam possible on the silk fabric. The top finish consisted of white twill webbing covered in the same white silk fabric, with grommets on 18” centers.

The exhibit opens on December 5, 2012 and continues through mid-January.

Visit to see other custom sewing projects and to more fully understand the breadth of Rose Brand's custom sewing capability; or call 800-223-1624 to speak with a Rose Brand rep about your project.

View photos of the exhibit here.

Rosco LitePad Enables Illumination in Small, Tight Spaces

LitePads are amazing versatile LED light sources that offer super-slim (.3”) profiles and soft, even illumination. They come in a range of standard sizes and shapes, but can also be customized to fit your needs (maximum size of any individual unit is 48” X 96”).  LitePads can be hung on a wall, held in your hand, or embedded almost anywhere. Use the LitePadTM when larger, heavier luminaires simply don’t fit your application. Two versions of the LitePadTMare shown below.

LitePadTM DL

This model was designed with display, event and architectural designers in mind. It offers more economy but less light output than the LitePadTM HO model described below.


LitePadTM DL Standard Sizes Photometrics Table 

LitePadTM HO

The LitePadTMHO (High Output) is a 33% brighter version of the DL. It is a simple, fast and economical solution for the film, video, and still photography applications, as well as a diverse range of projects in theatre, scenery, architecture or retail lighting. 


LitePadTM HO Standard Sizes Photometrics Table 




*Additional LitePad Specs:

-          Color Temperature: Approximately 6000° Kelvin

-          Thickness: .3”

-          Operating Temperature: -30C - +85C

-          Lamp Life: 60,000 hrs.

-          Power: 12v DC input



Please visit for more information on LitePads and accessories.


How to Build a Silhouette Screen


   Photo courtesy of Vinny Gasper

Rose Brand congratulates our third blog contest winner, Lauren Shaw. Lauren's blog entry described how she built a Silhouette Screen using Rose Brand's Spandex.

Here is how SHE did it..   

She used Rose Brand's white spandex and stretched it to a size of approximately 10' x 15'. She inserted grommets around all four edges and constructed a rectangular frame using PVC tubing and fittings. She interlaced rope through the grommets and fastened it in several spots on the frame securing it tightly. She created a 7 minute video to project on the screen from behind, which also served the purpose of creating the silhouettes on the screen. Their performers used belly dance and hula hoop tricks to give the audience a silhouette show they would not soon forget!

Rose Brand is accepting applications for the How Did YOU Do It? Blog Contest until April 25, 2011. For a chance to have YOUR work featured on Rose Brand's Blog, simply post an explanation of your project and a representative picture or video on our Face Book Page. In your explanation, indicate which Rose Brand products you used, if any. If you end up as a contest winner, you'll also recieve a $50 gift certificate and a link to your blog article from the homepage of our ecommerce site at It's a chance for exposure to tens of thousands of people in our industry.

Projected Scenery in Set Design

Rose Brand's First How Did YOU Do it Blog Contest Winner

Rose Brand would like to congratulate our first blog contest winner, David Ayers. David submitted an entry describing how he helped create a set made up almost entirely of projected scenery for the Broadway in Boulder Studios production of “Secret Garden.”  (Directors: Angela Gaylor/David Ayers; Art Direction: David Ayers; Ast. Tech Director: Noah Kloor; Animator/Matte Paint: Andy Gerhding)

Here is how HE did it..

  The set was comprised of three, borderless custom 10.5x14' ROSCO rear projection screens purchased at Rose Brand. One LCD Eiki 6500 lumen projector (powered by a MacPro tower) was dedicated to each screen. The three units were then slaved together in order to produce one large picture (environment) across the three screens. The slaves were controlled by one master tower which could fade the environments in and out to serve as "set" transitions using software called Pro Video Player. The minimal physical set pieces used in the interior shots, helped extend the projected environment further into the space. The gaps between the screens were taken into account, by creating doors or hallways so the actors could have upstage entrances and exits. The following "sets" are a carefully calculated mix of photo real and stylized storybook images created specifically for this production.

The Rose Brand Blog Contest is still accepting entries. You can win by submitting YOUR great projects to Rose Brand's Face Book Page. See contest details in the blog article below!


Precision Cut Fabric Enables 3D Scenery & Elaborate Event Décor at an Affordable Cost

Precision Cut Fabric adds enormous interest to any setting by virtue of its texture, pattern, and dimensionality. Depending on how it’s lit, it can also provide dramatic light and dark contrasts.

There are distinct advantages to using Precision Cut Fabric to produce scenic backgrounds with three dimensional feel. It’s quicker, less expensive and easier to work with than hard scenery made from wood and steel tubing; and less labor intensive and time consuming than hand-cutting intricate designs into soft scenery made from drops and drapes.

Time, labor and cost savings derive from Precision Cut Fabric’s computer enabled production process, which uses laser beam technology to cut fabric. The process worked perfectly to create scenic elements for the Boston Ballet as shown below.

Here’s how the process works. More...

Video Backdrops Made Easy & Less Costly

Video Backdrops can be difficult and costly to buy, transport and setup. So when we went looking for a simpler solution, our friends at ShowLED helped us to "see the light." Our new Animation Curtain enables amazing effects, offers easy setup & maintenance, and is priced more competitively than similar products. It's perfect for rendering low to medium resolution still images, video loops and flash animations.

The Animation Curtain features a random array of LEDs that are individually controlled as pixels. Random positioning of the LEDs offers More...