Stage Set with Extra Purpose
Learn to give one stage many great looks with these top tips from stage set expertsby Carolyn S. Baragona | Published in July 2009 design | production | Solutions | Production | stage set
Learn to give one stage many great looks with these top tips from stage set experts
All eyes are on the stage. It sets the tone, the branding, the mood for your event. But what if you have more than one event or speaker scheduled for that stage, each with its own messaging? How can you make the most of the stage, set and technology that make your focal point unique?
Here are tips from top stage set companies for giving one stage many looks, with consideration of your budget and your collaborative vision for your events.
tip “Go digital,” says Steven Simmons, president and CEO of STAGINGOPTICS and a certified meeting professional. “New digital projection technology focuses on projectable scenic. The problem with seaming up traditional screens has always been the visible black borders. To overcome this challenge, use a nano-seam technology to create projectable scenic that eliminates the borders almost entirely. The projectable scenic palettes have many modular configurations, including doorways, reveals and presenter entrances, that cannot be done with traditional screens. The use of computer graphics and animation creates a virtual 3D staging environment, delivering an animation scene equivalent to a Hollywood digital effect.”
case study For an annual global CEO summit focusing on the automotive sector, this year’s challenge was to create customized business environments for a wide array of presenters, from Harley Davidson to ABC News and the White House, as well as top automotive industry leaders. The speakers had to present from the same stage only moments apart. Utilizing the digital projection scenic format made it possible to deliver dozens of customized environments over several days. It allowed the previewing of the transition looks during rehearsal. Additionally, it provided unique looks for ancillary programs over the course of the summit.
tip Information is key, says Bill Danner, creative director of Phoenix-based Shadow Mountain Productions Inc. “The most common challenge I encounter is lack of information. Try to provide proper room information and general information such as event theme, meeting agenda/purpose, screen graphics, invitation graphics and audience demographics.”
case study The more you can utilize mixed media to create change, the more interesting and successful your stage set will be. With scenic elements, you can layer on or peel back. You can design lighting changes and projection imagery for unlimited ways to make the same space look entirely different. The sample is a very simple set. The seamless 16-foot by 40-foot leno fabric screen encourages great flexibility and creativity. Just by changing lighting and image projection, Shadow Mountain was able to transport the audience to many different locations.
Backdrops, Drapery and Lighting
tip “Use of backdrops and drapery can be a cost-efficient way to incorporate a thematic design for a stage,” says Jane Mohr of Grosh Backdrops and Drapery. Dramatic lighting of backdrops and drapery is a critical factor in the effectiveness of the look.
case study While backdrops and accessories can be used for a variety of staging looks, Goodwin Lighting Services, at its Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation fundraising event, used the Grosh Opalescent Austrian Puff drapery. This selection enhanced the Great Gatsby theme and allowed for a variety of spectacular looks through the innovative use of lighting effects.
tip “A fun trick is to set up the primary production elements once, then use local, themed rental props that were originally designed for themed parties in this business context,” suggests Stefanie Lerner of Phoenix-based Encore Creative.
case study The client originally requested a proposal for a custom stage set requiring design, materials and fabrication. Renderings by Encore Creative suggested utilization of theme props configured around the production elements. The daytime version utilized a single lectern, drape and a petroglyph wall treatment with boulders and plant-scaping. The nighttime awards set added a cyc to the background, allowing lighting effects to create the illusion of an in-progress sunset. The three lecterns accommodate the variety of speakers, presenters and awards. Additional foliage and red rocks also refined the look. The stage and production elements stayed the same, but the accent props changed the appearance and feel.