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I am at a point in the semester where ordinarily, I spend two or three classes in one of our theatre spaces experimenting with lights. One of the goals is to bring beginning theatre students to an understanding of how a lighting design is often composed of washes and specials, and what those terms mean. I also try ...
This video is intended to help individuals who are venturing into the use of scenic projections with modest experience in theatre technology.
Hi. I’m Matt Kizer.
In this brief tutorial, I’m going to provide tips on how to make the most out of projections on stage.
Projections can add a lot of magic to any stage ...
This is a design from 2011 for the musical Pippin.
Director Morgan Murphy wanted to keep the medieval setting of the show, but wanted a technological overlay like a rock concert. I showed him pictures of a complex of buildings in Pittsburgh called PPG place. It was designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee. ...
There are times when you are doing a show when you need to make a fireplace. You just need a good fireplace, not some special effects masterpiece. Maybe something simple that you can burn a letter in.
You can make a good fireplace with ordinary scene-shop materials. You might start with a block of styrofoam. ...
Today I want to talk about some low-tech methods for achieving interactive projection media. This is BlackTrax, an amazing system of sensors that tracks very small transmitters in 3D space with lights and projections. You can track performers or scenery so that moving lights and projections respond to movement, even pure improvisation.
A few years back, we wanted to explore ...
There is a common conversation about casters that I hear in theatres.
“For that short scene, the one with that thing in it, let’s just put it on a wagon.””But I don’t want it to feel like a wagon, so make it as low as possible.””Use the smallest casters that we have.””Maybe even make the wagon extra thin so we can ...
This is a set design from 2006 for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. It was for Kearsarge Arts Theatre (KAT) Company, a summer children’s theatre program in New Hampshire. They produced in a space with no flies and limited wing space.
I broke down the settings into three categories. Everything happened, in general, in either the village, the ...
I got asked yesterday about the best way to mount a projector to an electric over a stage. This is not hard to do, but it gets a little murky when you try to research it online. The projector industry is aimed primarily at mounting projectors to a ceiling in a classroom or a conference room. Projectors ...
I’m looking back right now to a summer season I did in 2015. It was two shows: Pippin and Man Of La Mancha. They were running in rep together at Jean’s Playhouse in Lincoln, New Hampshire. The set had some minor adjustments between the two shows. My specific portfolio listings for ...
In this video, I discuss media that I created for a production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid by the Educational Theatre Collaborative ETC in Plymouth New Hampshire at Plymouth State University. The process of creating media for projection on stage is discussed by examining the step-by-step process of creating this media.
© 2019 Matt Kizer LLC All Rights ...
There’s a common trap that captures some people building scenery – especially novices.
Maybe the drama program is run by a solitary English or Music teacher; someone who does everything for the show.
“Okay, students! We don’t have time for anything fancy. Let’s just get these walls up.”
“There’s so much else to get done, we’re going to keep this simple!”
Making that piano light weight, wireless, playable, and grand.
Theatre is story telling. It is vital that the audience understand the words that are spoken or sung by performers. Words advance the action. When there is also an orchestra, sound gets complicated.
Microphones help, but there is deep magic for mixing a stage full of lavaliere microphones against ...
In 2012, I designed a production of Sylvia at Auburn University. The design included scenery, lighting, and projections. The visuals were all inspired by cover art from The New Yorker. You can read about that here.
The projected media had an illustrative quality to it that mimicked the cover art. We took this a ...
Sometimes you have a few skilled people building your designs. Sometimes, you have a lot of unskilled labor instead. Design choices can play to your strengths and get the most out of the shop and the crew that you have.
In 2001, I worked on a production called Ananse the Spiderman and the Golden Box of ...
A long time I ago, I worked in a little family-owned furniture store. They sold unfinished wooden furniture. Really nice folks. There was a sort of a large alcove in the store that was filled with all kinds of wooden stools. The stools came in three standard heights:18 inches, 24 inches, and 30 inches.
Low Tech Windows that Light Up
In 2010, I was the lighting designer on a production of Company by George Furth and Stephen Sondheim. The set designer was Marni Balint. The venue was our three-sided thrust space that behaves a bit like a black box.
Company at the Silver Center for the Arts in 2010.
Marni wanted ...
Set changes should look easy. The audience should never feel sympathy for the people moving things around on stage. It would be a rare show in which it would be appropriate to see running crew exerting themselves.
There are a lot of factors that will go into choosing the means by which scenery will move. A big one ...
Sometimes memorable designs come from simple, bold choices. This design is for Orpheus in the Underworld by Jacques Offenbach. This is a comic opera. It is an irreverent, risque, and ridiculous parody of classical opera and Greek mythology.
For our production, we included white acoustic clouds that doubled as projection surfaces. ...
In April of 2018, members of several groups collaborated at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire in the United States. They engaged in a workshop production of A Dream Play, by Swedish playwright August Strindberg. Jump to video
Some of the creative team had been brought together originally through The International Organization of Scenographers, Theatre Architects ...
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Anything that reflects light – even just a little bit – can be a screen. The bigger question is what makes a good screen. And before we can answer that, we should ask a more specific question: for a specific use, what would be the most appropriate screen?
Some basic variations on screen types include:
Front projection ...
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Design the set around the screens
It is easy to think of projections as being just the background behind the set. An important thing to consider is that this is just one of many ways that you can use projections on stage. Let’s start there, though, because that is the most prominent way that ...
- I’m not saying I do, but I am not saying that I do not. In my home, on my breakfast table, I may, or I may not have a gun that shoots butter. If I did have such a thing, it would have a large plastic bellows that you could slam your fist down onto. ...
- I was asked for a curved balustrade unit that could be moved around the stage by performers. This did not want to be simple wooden spindles. It really needed to be the kind of big, cement balustrade that would be present at an upscale hotel on the Mediterranean in France. This particular season is short ...
- “Compromise” is a very ugly word for beginning artists. We don’t want to compromise our vision. This is true for designers, directors, and every other artist involved in the process. A great production team knows that if the collaboration is on the mark, nobody compromises. Instead of anyone giving up ...