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April 10, 2009

Heavy Set Construction, day... something

Set Painted Purple

Set Painted Purple

   I started on the set at 12:00pm and left around midnight.  But the lights are hung, so life is good.  We started the day by taking some film footage needed for the TV monitor in the lab.  I quickly through a scene together in the dressing room where several people in the cast posed for a few minutes of video.  Naturally, it took much longer then expected.  After that, a lot of work had to be done with lights.  I wanted a lot more blue, so I hung several Fresnel interments.  It took a bit of experimentation to get them to work right--the set has several things that fly in and out, and I found they could end up hitting the lights if the lights were not placed correctly.
   Then it was on to my first special effect: cross fading tree silhouettes.  Gene (the director) had just got in 4 gobos, each a different tree pattern.  My plan was to shin the patterns on the walls to the left and right of the stage.  There, two patterns would alternate and give the effect of movement through a wooded area.  It took a fair bit of setup time to get the lights setup, but it worked and look pretty good.
   I would have liked to have had the lighting cues programmed--but that didn't happen.  So that is first thing tomorrow.

April 09, 2009

Set Construction... Lights

Late Night, Double Fetcher, Picture Show

Late Night, Double Fetcher, Picture Show

   Began setting up lights on the set today.  I started by adding filters to the strip lights above the stage.  In the past I have used red, green, and blue filters so I can produce any color on stage.  But I wanted the ability to just have more light, so I decided to try red, blue and no filters.  The results is really nice.  I can do blue, purple, red, orange, warm white and harsh white.  The harsh white is what I was looking for--an extra "clean" white.  I got this effect by using blue and unfiltered light.  The blue has the effect of canceling out the warm side of the unfiltered light.  There is a lot left on lights to be done, but it's a start.
   Pictured is Nicki singing the opening number into a large diaphragm microphone.  We have a video sequence at the beginning of the show that has to be (more or less) synced to the music.  But the music in the movie version of the show is different then for the stage production.  So, we had Nicki sing the song and recorded it. 
   Ken has started on the show to work the sound, and I'm very glad for it.  A sound board isn't the easiest thing to learn, and it's difficult to learn to run it well.  Having someone with experience and a good ear is a load off all of our shoulders.
   Pictured is some choreography work being practiced during rehearsal this evening.  Behind them is the hallway opening we designed for the set.  It has an Oriental look to it, which should be inappropriate with the rest of the the living room.  Some of the initial striping on the walls has been painted and most of the platform has been painted with primer.  Most of what I worked on were little things.  The "car" had to be raised up so it didn't bottom out.  The table for the lab and the 2nd platform in the lab had to be added.  Two more flats had to be added to the living room wall.  And a bit of dressing was done to the narrator's booth.  We're fairly far along, but there is still a lot to be done.

April 07, 2009

Heavy Set Construction, day 7

   Completed the narrator's platform today.  Building begun yesterday with the rough frame.  This evening after rehearsal I put in the floor joists and the floor itself. 
   The platform sits 12 feet above the audience.  The director's concept was to have the narrator "above it all," and she will be.  Construction is fairly solid.  The surface is 8 feet wide and 6 feet deep.  One end sits up against a corner of the wall in one of the many angles in the theatre.  This corner was setup to hide the light bar, which runs through the platform.  The other side is braced using a board that extends and wraps around the wall.  Despite the height, the platform doesn't sway much, unlike the lap platform.
Professor Freedom

Professor Freedom

   A full day of school work and then play practice.  After looking at the set, I'm not pleased with the way the lab platform looks--it resembles a loft in a barn.  We're going to have to dress it up if we expect it to not look completely out of place. 
   I am so exhausted that in Calculus today, we were given some time at the end of class to work on a homework problems, and despite having just covered the material, I was unable to make sense out of a single problem.

April 05, 2009

Heavy Set Construction, day 6

   Noah joined me in the theatre today and we build the stairs up to the platform.  The staircase I had designed was abandon after I found it is much easier to design a complex staircase then it is to build one.  My orignal design had been changed last minute, which ended up modifying several 45° angles.  The 45° angles would have been fairly easy to work with--our saws can all be set and locked into 45°.  However, with the modifications, the new angles ended up around 39° and 51°.  There was only one way I could setup one of the saws to cut the 51° angle, and it couldn't make the full cut--just most of it.  The rest of the cut had to be made with a circular saw.  Over the 10 foot distances these angles effected, I found the cuts were never accurate enough to sit flush to more then 1/4".  Try as I might, I found myself running out of time and wood.  So we scrapped the cool staircase I had planned.  I was quite irritated by this, but time isn't something I have to work with.
   Noah and I finished the stairs and put up all the railings so the platform could be completely ready for Monday's pratice.  Thanks for the help Noah (and I owe you dinne now).

April 04, 2009

Trip to Chicago

   A group from school took a trip over to Chicago to see a musical.  It was my first time on a train since I was a little kid and that was kind of fun.  Chicago was a little chilly (and windy--naturally), but it was a nice sunny day for the trip.  We walked from the train station to the Oriental Theatre--a building with some amazing architecture inside.  They didn't allow cameras, but if it were not for my shutter sound, I would have taken shots anyway.  Really impressive.  After the musical was over, we had a nice dinner and got back on the train to head home.  It was a long day and after all the time I've spent in the U-Rock theatre, I was spent.  Tomorrow will be even longer.

April 03, 2009

Heavy Set Construction, day 5

   Sean joined me in the theatre today and we finished off the flooring on the lab platform.  It started off slowly since we needed to torque the platform in various ways to get it to square up.  Once square, the flooring went on pretty quick.  I also put on a couple of the back railings. 
   The platform does sway a bit when people are walking up top.  It sits on 4x4" posts and the sway is always the same frequency.  I assume this is due to vertical bending of the posts and some cross supports might be needed to null this out.

April 02, 2009

Heavy Set Construction, day 4

   Floor construction begins on the platform today.  Not too much construction as there wasn't really time between class and rehearsal.  A photographer from one of the local news papers came to  take a few shots for an article about the production.  Pictured are Brad (Frank N. Furter) and Mindy (our master custom designer).

April 01, 2009

N00b Gardner Makes Progress

Sprouts!

Sprouts!

   So I wrote on Friday about how I built a grow light.  Well, I also planted some herbs, which I figure will go into the garden once it's warm enough.  Today I looked into the trays, and lo, sprouts!  ("It's alive!  Alive!!!")  So I'm all proud of myself because it's starting.  Whether or not they will survive me is yet to be seen, but for now, there is life.  As a side note, the bamboo plant seems to be taking on a darker shade of green in the leaves which I hope means it is doing better.
   An other side note: the color in the picture should be quite accurate.  These light bulbs have a CRI of 91 and a color temperature of 6500 K which I entered into my camera when taking the shots.  I did underexpose the picture by 1 F-stop though as the images just looked washed out otherwise.
   When I started the planter, I used the clear plastic cover it came with to keep in moisture.  My Vinny cat decided it made a fine place to set while she looked up the window.  Now that I have green sprouts, I'm going to keep the cover off (the trapped condensation blocks a lot of light).  Since kitties don't make good gardners sitting on plants, I walled in the growing area and covered all the surfaces in aluminium foil.  I leave the window shade open so what little daylight reaches that window can assist growing.  And with all the foil, I light up a pretty good patch of lawn just outside that window!  You can't miss the Garage driving down the street at night now :)