Tuesday, May 18, 2010

History of Video Walls

Blooloop has an article on the history of the video wall. It's worth a read. I first remember seeing this technology with the Who's Tommy.

Also on the site is an article about

As with the above resource, it is not specifically theatre related. While I always "knew" that there were many different types of entertainment that used either technical directors specifically, or an equivalently named position, I really didn't fully grasp how many different places utilize the same skill sets that TD's nurture. Just as every show is a little different, not every museum job or attraction, or event, or trade show is the same, but all of these jobs require similar skill sets. For instance, all require planning and organizational skills, knowledge of a wide variety of construction techniques, materials, estimating, communication skills among the many other skills TD's must utilize.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Addams Family

With the opening of Addams Family on Broadway, my articlediscussing how we built the ground row including doing the lighting for all of the city lights. PRG also has an article in the issue that you should check out.

Exhibit Builder also ran an article about the show.

I enjoyed building the piece for a variety of reasons. Mostly, the project offered a challenge due to aligning the graphic to the substrate, while making the lights assessable. But first the graphic needed to be finalized. The beginning of the project started with samples of the printed graphic with multiple colors of grain of wheat lamps hooked up so that we could test how brightly the lamps would show. This led to a subsequent sample where a graphic was printed that had about 10 different percentages of transparency (ink), for the windows, each with lighting behind so that the final image could be modified to the desired window transparency. Once the graphic was off the printers, we had the experience of the samples to lead the way through the rest of the construction process.

It was a fun piece to build!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Foam Coat

Rosco has a story about how they created a short article about how an entryway was carved from foam, covered with foam coat and painted. I think it is interesting that while the foam coat was wet, they sprinkled sand on top - I have mixed sand into paint before for texture / traction, but this works as well to help with the up-close realism that museums must offer guests.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hardware Terminology

Sometimes the hardest part about finding the ideal piece of hardware is knowing what to call it. For example, as simple as a slip on flange cover plate (for square tube) may seem, it took me a good half hour to find what I was looking for. The interesting thing to note, is that for the square shape, it is a cover plate - but if it is for round tube, it is a flange canopy. I finally found what I was looking for at Wagner which offers a variety of railing systems and components.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Draw Catch

While ordering a few run of the mill door catches, I came across this at McMaster Carr.
These remote actuation cable latches allow doors to be opened remotely. McMaster describes them as:
Operate these latches from a distance—a flexible cable connects the latch and the T-handle. Pull on the handle to retract the round, spring-loaded bolt. Because the cable is flexible, you can bend it around corners and other obstructions. Min. bend radius is 1.5". The recommended maximum amount of total bending is 720° . You have two mounting options: through-hole mount the handle and bolt housing(s) or surface mount them using the included mounting plates. The through-hole mounting size for the handle is 1/2". The through-hole mounting size for the bolt housings is 9/16".
Handles are plastic. Bolts are zinc-plated steel. Mounting plates are 12-ga. steel with a black-oxide finish and require #10 screws (not included). Strike plates are Type 304 stainless steel and require 1/4" screws (not included).
Please specify cable length: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 feet.

These seem like they would be a great low-tech way to do a variety of special effects. I could have used something like that when I did Blithe Spirit a few years back.