Here’s a #throwback to our #backdrop that we created for the Black Sabbath tour last year.  (Who doesn’t love #Ozzy ?!) The reason why I wanted to reintroduce this image and design is because we get many clients asking about just “how far” a design can push the “mixed-media” textile combination concept.  Honestly – far – very far, is the answer.

The piece for Black Sabbath seen in the image below was extremely unique. The main graphic elements were supplied by way of mapped out live LED screens. So, no two nights were ever the same, with live in-room camera operators feeding each and every unique element of the night’s performance to the audience on the big and bold video walls. Real time video editing brings the action to the audience in such a bold way.

Bla Sab_2

But beyond the newest technology and look of the LED image walls, this design required that we deliver a very “crafted feel” – a gothic, sweeping, vampiric set of asymmetrical arches to frame the screen graphics – bringing a touch of historical and mystical to the stage scene.  Almost like watching Ozzy thru the window of an old cathedral or castle. The base material of the drapery was in fact 16oz cotton commando cloth.  Offering a durable and relatively opaque structure to the entire upstage zone upon which we could cut and craft.  In order to “reveal” the screens, the areas of drape that were cut out required an invisible “network of support nets” so that the drape retained its structure, and offered a solid and stable picture window effect to the projection screens.

The gorgeous thick textures of the arches are embellished with organically crushed flexible aluminum metal mesh – hand creased and bulked to give the effect that it just piling and rolling right off of the stage.

All the elements of course sewn to be durable AND travel in hampers to the next and subsequent shows of the tour. Road ready and tour worthy draperies – that is what we set out each and every day here at Sew What? Inc to produce.

But that isn’t the end of it…….. you CAN add yet more to a mixed media drop at the design and production level.  Adding vacuum hoses to the backside of drapes to divert smoke machine output to specific locations on the face of a drape, embedding individual LED lights for DMX addressable lighting gags and messaging. Or by adding crystals, bling, trim, mirrors and more; you can take the piece to the next level both texturally and dimensionally.

Mixed media backdrops are without doubt a lighting designer’s dream.  Who would not want to have all those surfaces and fabrics and to play with?  Our backdrops are used for front lighting effects, rear and silhouette lighting effects, and sometimes even in magic “sniffer kabuki” gags for a now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t stage effect.

If you can dream it, we can sew it.  Reach out to us with your Mixed Media Backdrop design ideas or challenge.