Creating a Custom LED Drop Using Kenny Net and LED Pixels

by RB 11. April 2016 09:44

 

Take a look behind the scenes at how Jeremy Roth and his team made the LED backdrop and how it looked on stage:

Wilco, an alternative rock band, kicked off their 2016 Star Wars Tour in front of a custom made LED drop featuring 1,850 individually controlled LEDs, 10,000 zip ties, and 1/2 mile of interconnect cable all arranged on Rose Brand Kenny Net

The tour’s lighting design was driven by designer Jeremy Roth’s desire to combine 3D effects with LED lighting. “I had seen many other products and productions using flat LED screens or star drops, but not many that were able to use the depth of the stage to create multiple transparent layers with those products.”

Jeremy set out to find a material that could support thousands of LED emitters and cables while remaining transparent enough to allow for upstage layers of LED and lighting to be seen. The perfect material was critical to the execution of the design. 

Jeremy looked at what he describes as “a myriad of samples” before choosing Kenny Net. “This was the first time I had worked with Kenny Net. The material had the perfect balance of strength and softness to hold the weight of the LEDs and wiring while still being able to be easily folded and stored in a hamper every night. The fact that it is IFR was icing on the cake.” The 1/2 grid of Kenny Net and its strong yet narrow gauge filament make it almost completely transparent when viewed from the audience.

The finished design shows itself in different ways depending on where viewers are seated. When you are up close or off to the side on the floor, you are looking up into the layers and the 3D nature is more pronounced while the LED content is more textural. The farther away you are from the stage, the flatter the image becomes and the LED content resolves more into the actual imagery that is being fed into it from the media server. Everyone is seeing the same show, but the experience takes on slightly different form and feeling depending on where you are seated. 

Jeremy has worked with Rose Brand materials on many projects in the past. He explains his approach to stage design, “I often rely on soft goods in my designs as the right materials can add lots of texture and volume to a show without taking up too much space on the truck. I love that Rose Brand has such a deep selection of materials.”


Behind the scenes photos of LED drop being fabricated by Stageworks Seattle. Final product in use during Wilco concert.



Fabrication by Stageworks Seattle (Jeremy Roth, Simon Clark, Melissa Brynn)

Tags:

Community Spotlight | LEDs | Spotlight on Design | Star Drop Curtains

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Brings a New Look to the Ed Sullivan Theater

by RB 14. March 2016 10:48


A Rose Brand Chameleon ShowLED drop is located behind The Late Show logo above center stage.

 

When Stephen Colbert started his tenure on The Late Show, it began a new era in his career and initiated a face lift for the show’s home, the Ed Sullivan Theater. The Ed Sullivan Theater began as a Broadway house and Colbert is a fan of its architecture and history. 

Jim Fenhagen, Executive Vice President of Design at Jack Morton/PDG and Scenic Designer for the project, worked very closely with Colbert to design the set. Fenhagen was quoted in Lighting and Sound America saying, “Stephen wanted to celebrate this gorgeous old theatre that had been covered over through the years with sound-proofing and lighting grids." He added, "We really didn’t feel the theatre until we renovated it. We integrated the set with the theatre in a way that created this sort of modern vs. classical architecture, which is a fun tension." 

Fenhagen also said, “Some of our design choices are about using architecture to make it feel more intimate – bringing the focus down, controlling the eye, and getting people to look toward the center. We have a giant proscenium arch to fill, because we wanted to expose it all, so I hung a [Chameleon ShowLED] star curtain from Rose Brand in the big giant arch above my canopy ceiling. It’s a great solution and adds a little bit of pizzazz.”

The set was built by the Emmy-Award Winning fabricator, blackwalnut, who asked Rose Brand to build the star drop curtain. Frank Bradley, blackwalnut Director, Estimating & Project Management, described the intricate details of the star drop. Bradley explains, “The drop had to be made according to the curve in the theater proscenium, which was fairly difficult to survey. Fortunately, during the renovation we discovered an old Broadway-style flat that looked like it dated to the 1950’s that was the shape of the proscenium arch. The house crew pulled it down and sent it to us so we could make templates.” The drawings from blackwalnut were then used to create sewing plans for the curtain. The finished drop used 512 LEDs to fill its 23’-10” high by 39’ wide dimensions. While the drop may look small on camera against the large stage (the stage measures 72’ wide and 60’ deep), the height of the curtain is equal to 4x the height of an average American man.

The LED nodes of the star drop curtain are bright and bold so they attract the viewer’s eye, accomplishing Fenhagen’s goal of attracting viewers to the center. The brightness of the LEDs was diffused with a black sheer drape to create the perfect starry, “Corona Effect”, which added elegance to the set. 

For a job this important, blackwalnut chose Rose Brand in part because of our work ethic. Bradley jokes, “We have a long standing relationship with Rose Brand and our rep, Jennifer Perez, has made a habit of pulling off both major and minor miracles for us. There was no question as to who would nail the details of the project in such a tight turnaround. “

The design process for The Late Show brought together a number of creative teams that had worked through the years to make The Colbert Report a success. Bradley explains, “It was exciting to see so many players getting a shot at the big stage and high stakes of late night TV. Accordingly, we brought in our ringers—Rose Brand. They were one of our key vendors back when we built the Colbert sets for Comedy Central and we knew we could count on them to have our back on this one.”

While the curtain may be made of Encore Velour, it’s Stephen Colbert who keeps getting asked for an encore on stage. 

Product: ShowLED Chameleon
Scenic Design: Jack Morton/PDG
Scene Shop: blackwalnut
Photo: Raeford Dwyer, courtesy of Jack Morton/PDG
Parts reprinted with permission from Lighting and Sound America, "The Talk of the Town", January 2016

Tags:

Custom Sewing | Special Effects | Star Drop Curtains

Behind the Scenes: Outfitting ShowStoppers at Wynn Las Vegas

by RB 20. April 2015 05:20

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.

How To Create a Star Drop Corona Effect

by RB 19. August 2010 05:16

When a sheer or translucent fabric is placed in front of your star drop it will diffuse the light creating a "corona ray" effect on the light that shines through. Check out some of the examples that we played with below.  If you would like to do your own tests we will be happy to provide you with fabric samples upon your request.

Chiffon Diffusion Sample

Red Chiffon

Crystal Diffusuion Sample

Teal Crystal

More...

The Benefits of a ShowLED Star Drop Curtain

by RB 1. March 2010 05:19

ShowLED Wall

Rose Brand ShowLED curtains are often used as backdrops to achieve a programmable starry night effect. There are two versions of ShowLED -- Classic and Chameleon. Classic uses a white LED, which emits a cool, blue-white light. Chameleon uses an RGB LED, which can produce virtually any color, including a warm amber-white light. ShowLED LEDs are specifically designed for installation in fabric and scenery. Rose Brand has sold and rented ShowLED curtains for events as formal as a Presidential ball (i.e., Obama's inauguration) and as traditional as a corporate event or high school stage performance.

Rose Brand ShowLED curtains are easy to set up, easy to maintain, and are cost effective. When you buy or rent a ShowLED drape, you're paying for a complete package -- the drape (fitted with LEDs) and the LED controller. Nothing else is required to program the drape.

The device that controls the intensity, color, and frequency of the LED twinkle is designed for both novice and professional users.More...

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