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Creating a Forest Effect onstage

Printed From: Community Theater Green Room
Category: Producing Theater
Forum Name: Set Design and Construction
Forum Discription: Post your questions or suggestions about designing or building a set here.
Printed Date: 4/26/18 at 5:12am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 8.05 -

Topic: Creating a Forest Effect onstage
Posted By: lebraatt
Subject: Creating a Forest Effect onstage
Date Posted: 11/01/07 at 4:36pm
Hello to All,
I am putting up Neil Simon's "Proposals" in January, and I want to create a forest onstage. I know this is an ambitious task but just wanted to know if anyone else out there has done this and any advice on how to proceed.

Posted By: JoeMc
Date Posted: 11/02/07 at 1:37am
I don't know the show?
If you require just an effect you could project the image required, fairly cheaply using the Pacific [Selecon] Profile Lantern [ElipsodialLight] ;-
Iam a Selecon Pacific Zoom;- -
Pacific projection;- -
Gobo's from a Desktop PC;- -

Or really El cheapo with the Linnebach flood rear projection;- -

Any old lamp like a flood.Or a Fresnel with reflector & lens removed will work.
Not a sharp images more of a shadow silouette.
With the Pacific Profile you can project from the rear, using just a Scrim or bouncing off a Cyc as the screen.
RP or FP inage screens can cost you a few bob, unles you can cobble one together yourself, as the material is not that costly bought by the metre.
However 'Vickifrank' a member of this forum, would be better to give you an idea on either Painted or  scrim  image fabrics &/or other ideas. -
If you don't have a lot of space US to project, you can play about with bouncing the projected image thru a mirror, which can give  increase  by a factor upto 1:5 in size. However it can take a lot of messing about keying in & masking to achieve  the results.
But you need to be judicial with the level & focus of the general  lighting wash.
With front image projection the actors may get in the way of the light beam & cast shadows, unless it can be focused from the overhead ['X' Postion] & aviod the warm props or set pieces.

[western] Gondawandaland
"Hear the light & see the sound!
{may you always play to a full house!}

Posted By: vickifrank
Date Posted: 11/02/07 at 11:12am
One of my favorite methods is appropriate for Into The Woods and Midsummer Nights Dream is to create the Forest with hanging cut softgoods.  I prefer to use cut scrim (not sharkstooth).  So imagine large leaf shapes hanging down from battens on stage--but you can see through the layers, and now you project the gobos into it to get a dappled shade.  This is less realistic and more suggestive.  Unlimited entrances...and some fun when you blow around the softgoods, allow them to move in the heat currents,  or move them with actors brushing by.  Note that this must be a scrim material that you cut and won't curl or unravel--that's why sharkstooth won't do it.  But it can be other softgoods too. 
The second more realistic method involves a few cut drop scrims painted with trees as 'legs' and either a full stage scrim with a forest projected on it upstage behind the legs or  a painted forest scene upstage.  Now you have two or four entrances (two behind legs, two in fornt of legs).  My company has a few of the scrim cut 'legs' for rent and the full stage width scrim for rent.
JoeMc's projection works well for these variations on a theme too.  I'd at least have gobos to break up the light and pop the scene for the audience.

Posted By: JoeMc
Date Posted: 11/02/07 at 10:36pm
Great ideas there vicki & augmenting with breakup gobo's does fuel the punters imagination & add to the feel of a glade on the sward.
If going to the cost of a suitable gobo is a problem, they can be made up cheaply, using a piece of tin cut to fit the profile lamp & punching nails holes in it. Also using split gels to colour up, I normally cut them on an angle corner to corner from two colours [green/yelow or gren/samon depending on the season], jioning them together using clear sticky tape.

[western] Gondawandaland
"Hear the light & see the sound!
{may you always play to a full house!}

Posted By: ruthrbns
Date Posted: 12/17/07 at 5:36pm

First of all wishes from me for making the forest theme on the stage.

Anyway, My suggestion for this will be follows:

If you are using the forest for the kids show, just use the colorful objects and more colorful lighting. More over use the color papers ans paintings in the background. It will increase the eye appeal for the children and the audience.

If it is for the big shows or for the youngsters, just use the original equipments like wood, leaves, trunks, mud and colorful lighting for the stage and the background.


Posted By: kalloo
Date Posted: 12/31/07 at 5:31pm
We have successfully used camo netting , cut and draped to create a forest effect. Hang it above trunks made from wood and bark effects made with moulded plaster, styrofoam or whatever you have on hand.


Posted By: Cguidry
Date Posted: 2/15/08 at 11:58pm
We are doing The Wiz and I was interested in renting scrims, legs, etc.  Please send me your information.

Posted By: vickifrank
Date Posted: 2/16/08 at 9:17am
Hi Cquidry,
You can find rental prices and information at: - .  Typical rental is 15' 2" x 30' which rents for $195 for two weeks.  We even have an "OZ" scrim, which is solid green. 
Feel free to contact me through private messenger or call 1-800-359-2964 in USA or 1-812-579-5063 from outside the US.


The theater scrim people

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