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Flying of Half Black from Stage during performance


pbarnett88

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I'm a Production Assistant on the Opera 'L'assedio di Calais' at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where I'm currently a second year student.

 

One of the scenic elements that the designer has asked for is an 'Iris' upstage, which starts the show closed but as the show progresses gradually opens. We're fully able to create the top of the iris with a standard flying bar, however the bottom of the iris is causing a problem as we need to figure out a way for the iris (half black cloth) to descend to the stage safely. Obviously we can't simply use our counterweight flying system as this would mean an imbalance in the weights, especially dangerous as we have an extremely large chorus on stage throughout the opera.

 

The iris crosses the entire stage (16m) and is downstage of a cyclorama which is going to be lit up by the lighting dept, which means that our pick up points are very limited as the designer doesn't want anything infront of the cyclorama.

 

We have looked at the possibility of automation but because we aer a drama school have a limited budget to hire in equipment.

 

If anyone has any other ideas of ways in which we could go about rigging the iris and operating it safely, it'd be much appreciated.

 

Thanks guys.

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Dealing with imbalances isn't usually a problem - bearing in mind in many installations, imbalances that are within the capability of the people hauling the line are common during weighting operations. A half height black won't be a huge imbalance, and after all, dropping a cloth to the floor, out of weight is often the only way to tie it on to the bar in the first place. The usual problem with doing this is that the wire rope suspending the bar is visible. If this is the case, then a length of bi-chord truss, with the cloth on the top chord, suspended from drifts from the real flying bar just out of maximum opening would work - assuming the weight on the truss is ok to be lifted at that span. A lighter weight cloth could solve many problems. Heavy Bolton or velvet does weigh quite a bit.

 

Can you tell us a bit more? - The idea seems pretty good, but the problem may well be well within the limits that the fly crew can work with. have you asked their opinion of if in your venue, this can work? They are the people who will have to work it, so their advice is always worth taking. If the idea is for the bar to gradually creep in, with no fast movement, then they may be able to rig you a small hand winch to cope with the out of balance load as it flys in and the cloth weight unloads on the floor?

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We don't have an inhouse flying team, the second year production management students, of which I'm one of two working on this production head a team of first year students and we with a group of them fly the show. Th ideal thing would be to simply hang it as you described and simply fly the bar in as you would when loading or unloading, however, the director and designer both want varying speeds on different cues, and we've been asked to find a way which doesn't include hauling the bar to the deck.

 

Is there any type of cloth you would recommend to use instead of a Heavy Bolton? We have looked at different types of truss and found that it is possible to span the 16metre width, but obviously do have a degree of deflection.

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In terms of the imbalance in the flying system, my answer would be: Risk Assess it!

 

Also, don't forget that most counterwieght fly system's fly bars don't go all the way to the ground but instead have a stop around working height, which could be an issue if the iris needs to go completely to the floor.

 

I presume you can't install a temporary hemp system in your grid?

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If the shutter is close to the cyc could you consider hanging the cyc between the "blades" of the shutter, and dropping the cyc as you lift the top shutter? Your bottom shutter would basically some sort of black groundrow; the cyc would drop in front of that but be covered by the top shutter when you want the full black job. Looking from the side, the top shutter, when in, would overlap the groundrow by a bit to get the fully closed effect.
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another way of doing a similar effect is to move it sideways rather than up and down. if you make two flats with for example "v" profiled sides ("v" on it's side, e.g. "<" and ">" (opposite hands of course). the flats need to be suspended from a track, and would overlap so as to appear solid, then when pulled apart, an expanding square of white cyc would be revealed, or in reverse, the white square would disappear down to the white dot like the old fashioned nightly TV closedown (back in the days before 24 hour on demand everything).

 

 

or the profile could be curved in an elipse, or star-shaped or whatever, I guess.

 

(not my idea, seen it done in a show somewhere some time)

 

I realise this isn't quite the effect you're describing, but might be an acheivable alternative if you can't find a way of doing it.

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Obviously we can't simply use our counterweight flying system as this would mean an imbalance in the weights, especially dangerous as we have an extremely large chorus on stage throughout the opera.

As others suggested, I wouldn't be too worried about imbalance in the counterweight line, it is really not that dangerous as the imbalance would only be a few kilo's, provided you have some experienced and qualified people to supervise the operation.

I would be much more concerned about the material on the floor, specially with the large chorus roaming around. It could easily become a trip hazard once completely on the floor.

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On a similar thought to Stuart could you attach the bottom black to the bottom of your cyc (ask the Wardrobe department very nicely and give them plenty of time). Then dropping the bar reveals more of the cyc.

 

Of course the lighting designer will hate both this and Stuart's suggestions as it puts the blacks so close to the cyc that he can not light inbetween.

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Of course the lighting designer will hate both this and Stuart's suggestions as it puts the blacks so close to the cyc that he can not light inbetween.

Yes. Just re-read the o/p and the LX designer doesn't want anything "in front of the cyc," by which I assume that there'll be some distance between cyc and "iris;" enough to get a bar of floods in, say. As an optical illusion viewed from the front, lifting the top black while dropping the cyc in front of the bottom one may still work, even with a few feet between cyc and top black. A question of "try it, and see," without knowing the venue at all.

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There's a bar distance inbetween the cyc and the iris the LD has chosen to back light the cyc using a whole load of LED screens.

 

I know the imbalance issue isn't a problem, it's simply that we're not allowed to do it. Is a choice I don't have. As for the bottom of the Iris being a trip hazard this isn't a problem as there is a metre high Infinity Curve infront of the Iris meaning that the chorus will be no where near the fabric whilst it is on the stage.

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