iWeiss has earned a reputation for devising creative solutions to unique requests. Our recent crafting of a 16.4’ diameter ball with a smooth and removable front projection surface is a prime example. The large sphere would be inflated and deflated during stops of a global music tour where themed graphics, changing with the music, would be projected onto the ball.
Trapeze fabric was selected because of its opaque matte surface and stretch capabilities. As trying to pattern directly on the sphere would have been unwieldy, and to minimize the number of seams on the projection surface, a desk top “virtual” design determined the skin should be made in 5 vertical pieces. Each was cut flat, the sides sewn together, and Voila! . . the 16’ inflatable balloon had a tight fitting dress. The two photos below reveal in-house inflation testing of the ball and an actual performance projection onto the ball.
At iWeiss, sometimes we use theatrical solutions for non-theatrical situations. And other times we just use good old fashioned ingenuity.
Should I use flame proofed cotton velour or should I use inherently flame proofed polyester velour? The best answer depends on your locale and environment. Even IFR velour can fail an open flame test and require re-treatment. This can be caused by dirt accumulation or other environmental factors. More expensive is not always better, and remember that having IFR goods does not relieve you from the responsibility of annual testing.
To keep the project running smoothly, it is always better to communicate dimensional and construction information in writing and to get confirmations back the same way. A little effort up front saves time and money in the long run.
We love sewing cotton velour nap up. Colors, especially black, are richer and darker and many of the faults found in today’s weaving and dyeing are well hidden. With Inherently Flame Resistant (IFR) fabrics like Prestige, we find the same is true. Charisma, however, seems to work well in either direction. Serge has no real nap, so for up and down it’s much the same. Even though it is more expensive, many Broadway designers are starting to use Serge (wool – which is common in Great Britain) over velour (cotton – which is a big US product). US customs tacks on a 25% import duty on Serge to protect the American cotton industry.
Today’s safety tip . . . know how the pipes in your venue are hung. Connections with couplings are no longer accepted in the industry. Regularly check lift lines for proper terminations, frayed cable and the like. If your purchase lines are still hemp, check that the hemp is not rotting or splintering. When in doubt, contact an iWeiss ETCP professional to schedule a complete safety inspection.
A client came to iWeiss Theatrical Solutions with a concept for their production, but wasn’t quite sure how to execute it. Their original concept was to make fabric panels, with a gingham design, that stretched over frames at least 5’ wide. After some research it was concluded that gingham fabric widths would not extend that far, so I then asked how they intended on using the panels. The client stated they were looking for the panels to be slightly translucent in order to aid in silhouetting and creating shadows during a “comedic chase” scene during the performance.
Loving to think outside of the box, I suggested that they paint NFR Natural Sharkstooth Scrim with a gingham design. As scrim comes in larger widths, creating multiple panels per width of material would also save on the required yardage. These panels could then be stretched over the frames and essentially travel on a track for the chase.
The client loved this idea and has informed us that it has worked marvelously from both a technical and a comedic aspect. The painted gingham design can be seen from lighting the front of the panel, while lighting the scrims from the rear allows an actor to be revealed at just the right time. Check out the production if it’s traveling to a theatre near you.
Got a concept you would like to brainstorm?