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Moving Scenery Automatically to change scenes/places

#1 User is offline   alekei 

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 07:02 PM

Hello!

I would like to know a method for making the scenery pieces move in and out of the stage to change the enviroment of a specific moment.

For example: the scene is in a park, and there is onstage a Park Bench, a small fountain and a Park light. I want that all these move by itself outstage and at the same time enters into the stage a wall, as desk and some other props, to change into an Office.

Any Idea about how to accomplish this?

#2 User is offline   Rich newby 

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 07:27 PM

A Blackout and stagehands? Automatically, I'm not sure there would be much point, when fishing line etc could be used.

Are you wanting to change the scenery in a blackout? Automatic might make slightly more sense if you were doing it under full light!

What is your budget?

And how much room do you have in the wings?

A bit more info needed first!

Cheers
Rich

This post has been edited by Rich newby: 03 February 2006 - 07:29 PM

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#3 User is offline   Locksmith 

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 08:04 PM

I think I know what you mean.
I saw "The Shape Of Things" and they appeared to be using conveyors to move scenery in and out under full light and the effect was fantastic and made the wholeshow flow seamlessly.

Quote

The whole set is built on a set of conveyor belts, so at each scene change one world smoothly slides away to be replaced by another.
(from http://www.culturewa...04-01/shape.htm)
May be a bit expensive for your needs, but I think this is what you are aiming at.
Hope his helps.

cheers
Dave J
Fed up with being made redundant. Currently self-employed and looking to get work as crew or lighting tech.

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#4 User is offline   paulears 

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 08:10 PM

Ignoring the fact that I guess your budget won't stretch to real automation, there are a few things you can do that may work.

I'm also assuming you want to do this lit, not in the dark

On a lowish budget then you're going to need tracks on the floor, and all the moving kit needs to be on decent wheels. Cheap mean simplified, so an mdf new stage surface gets laid and you can route groooves for the scenery to track down using drop bolts. If the stage has a rake, it isn't quite as simple as the damn things tend to jump.

A motorised system that can track on and off maybe difficult, but things like your fountain, bench and light could be preset and pulled off on cue. The scenery for the next scene could be pulled on in the same way.

Issues - jumping the slot is the most common. The other thing is getting the wheel alignment spot on. Even a little off and the bolt will jump the slot. Decent not rotating castors are the best. Don't even think of fishing line - although the chunky stuff is strong, it can get cut going around a sharp edge, and has a tendency to suddenly unravel when coiled up making a birds nest. 2 or 3mm wire rope is much better suited, with the end terminated to something like a waterski pull handle. The weight of the cable also lets it lay flat on the stage. It's a lot of work, and you need to make sure the trucks can exit in a straight line into the wings.

#5 User is offline   alekei 

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 08:46 PM

Thanks for your responses.

To answer some questions: I want to do this in full light (because part of the enchantment is this to be seen) My budget is not high, and I have a decent space in the wings.

Thanks! Any other ideas are welcome

#6 User is offline   psl 

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Posted 04 February 2006 - 12:48 PM

Robot wars / scrapheap challenge come to mind, (I.e. build it yourself) you could use radio gear (like for radio controlled cars/planes) and some motors geared down to a sensible speed fitted to skates and have people drive the stuff onto stage.

However the radio gear would stat getting expensive very quick.


Alternatively Lego used to make software to control motors and sent them to pre programmed places, you could use a bit of software like this to control your motorized skates.

#7 User is offline   Tomo 

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Posted 04 February 2006 - 01:49 PM

View Postpsl, on 4 Feb 2006, 12:48 PM, said:

Robot wars / scrapheap challenge come to mind, (I.e. build it yourself) you could use radio gear (like for radio controlled cars/planes) and some motors geared down to a sensible speed fitted to skates and have people drive the stuff onto stage.

However the radio gear would stat getting expensive very quick.

As a former competitor of Robot Wars and Technogames, I can attest to the expense!
My Heavyweight (100kg) robot cost in the region of £4000, and it was cheap and not very reliable (never made in onto TV)
My Featherweight (12kg) machine cost roughly £300, but was reusing the majority of the equipment from the heavyweight including the radio gear.
My Antweight (150g) robots cost roughly £500, but that was mostly due to esoteric battery chemistries (LiMgO2!)
A decent 40MHz radio system costs £100, and then you need the drive system for the trucks.

Finally - these machines are EXTREMELY dangerous - even the ones with no 'weapons' as such. After series 2 the robots were never powered while anyone was standing on the same floor, and had to be activated while inside a 'pen' to prevent them from being able to hit anyone if they went haywire.
The list of safety requirements ran to about 8 pages of A4.

Even after all that, I know of several near-misses and one accident on the set, and a couple of near misses in the live event circuit.

In short, commercial model radio equipment is not reliable enough for this application.

If you want mechanical automation, stick to wired control with full 'EM-Stop' authority to disconnect the power.
It's much safer and more reliable.
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#8 User is offline   LeeStoddart 

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 09:39 AM

Effectively what you are asking for is scenery pieces to appear to move into place by magic.

Anyone who has seen the professional Miss Saigon will recognise the effect - that show is one of the smoothest I have seen in this regard. The way it is done is that all the items to be moved are on trucks which are fitted into slots. The movement is done from beneath. I honestly don't know if Miss Saigon is done manually or by powered motors.

We recently did Jesus Christ Superstar with (an excellent) set hired from Stage LX. This had two sets of steps which moved sideways as if by magic. They were arranged with a slot running across the stage. Wire cable ran through the slot and this was moved by a winch set in the wings. Great effect but even that took a little time to get everything lined up correctly so that the connection to the cable ran smoothly in the slot.

I don't expect this is a cheap effect to achieve.
Lee

#9 User is offline   erroneousblack 

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 06:55 PM

Does your budget stretch to hand winches? If so you can interchange trucks in the wings. Works a treat and a lot cheaper than motors.
I'm the all night drug prowling wolf, who looks so sick in the sun.

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