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So far Megan has created 156 blog entries.
4 03, 2020

Want to Learn More about Kabukis?

By |March 4th, 2020|Education, Products|1 Comment

You may well know us for our kabuki “drape drops” and effects – for several years now we have been providing premium kabuki drop drapery for bands and venues alike.  The KABUKI DROP is in fact, one of the more favored of drapery stage effects!

So, let’s start here: – what is a KABUKI DROP exactly?

It is an effect whereby a drape / backdrop / textile prop is suspended in the air by way of a row of “mechanical clips”.  The KABUKI effect occurs when the mechanical clips – or more correctly solenoid heads are “fired” by way of a controller.  When you hit the GO button on the controller box the mechanical drapery clips / solenoid heads release their grip – and in turn the drape / backdrop / textile prop will magically and INSTANTLY DROP TO THE GROUND.

It creates one of those WOW moments for the audience…

Such as: at the start of the Alice In Chains tour, a large white silk drape was hung with solenoids between the band and the audience.  The lighting design incorporated some front projection of the bands logo and album art, as well as moving and ambient front light on the drape.  For the audience it was a dynamic giant projection surface of color and visual movement. Once the band were positioned and the show was ready to start – the front lights are killed, the stage lights are engaged and the solenoids are fired. READY, DRAPE – DROP!  In an instant the band is revealed – and the music starts – the white silk flutters to the ground ans is quickly struck by stagehands to the side of the stage.

It is exciting to watch – check out this great Kabuki Drop Compilations Video that we created.  You will see everything from drapes to ping pong balls being dropped from the ceiling.

SO – that was a description of a SINGLE KABUKI.  The term “single” refers to the fact that the drapery element made a “single” move.  Meaning it simply dropped to the floor when the go button on the controller was engaged.

So, let’s then briefly explain the difference with a DOUBLE KABUKI.

In this scenario, the drape / backdrop / textile prop will in fact make TWO MOVES.  Indeed – we will have two rows of mechanical clips in the air.  Usually one run on the downstage cord of the truss and one run on the upstage cord of the truss.

What happens now is we have the full size drape as well as a short little “diaper” as we call it.  The diaper and drape are held by one run of solenoids.  The second run of solenoids will hold the other edge of the short diaper only.  As such we have created a fabric hammock up in the air that the larger drop is resting in (reefed or nooked). This is great for a midstage reveal or an intermission effect.  When the drape is in the fully loaded position within the diaper, you won’t see it at all! it is happily hidden up in the rafters! Your audience has no idea it is even there….

FIRE ONE – the first run of solenoids will release – and in doing so the diaper’s edge will be dropped and the drape hidden within will be “unfurled” – falling down into its natural backdrop / drapery position – as such revealing the drape! It happens VERY quickly – and is exciting to watch the drape unfurl and fall into place.

FIRE TWO – the second run of solenoids will now release the drape itself (as in the first example of a single kabuki).  Now you see it – now you don’t!

So, in two moves we went from a hidden drape within the rafters, to a revealed drape for scene or lighting or projections effects – to “poof!” – nothing at all.  It falls to the ground and is quietly struck stage side by the crew while the audience’s attention is shifted to the stage reveal!

WE LOVE KABUKIS – and we would love to answer any questions you might have regarding them.  Reach out any time and our educated staff will be very happy to advise you on an appropriate equipment list for your event.

30 09, 2019

Digital Drapery for the Marc Anthony Opus Tour 2019

By |September 30th, 2019|Digital Printing, Products, Projects|1 Comment

Check out our digitally printed drapery used for the Marc Anthony Opus Tour 2019 in Las Vegas.

No matter where you look, you will likely see digitally printed fabric, digital printed backdrops and wide-format digital billboards. That’s because any graphics created for printing on paper can be printed on fabric. With a variety of substrates to choose from, digital printing enables you to magnify photo quality images into stunning custom theatrical and scenic digital backdrops, concert drapes, and exhibit booth panels.

This massive printed drapery for the Marc Anthony OPUS Tour is a gorgeous example of how a printed billboard sized cloth can transform a stage. This is a spectacular walk-in scene for the top of the show!  Our fabric of choice for this type of project is our Crystal Poplin because of its durability and semi-gloss print surface. In a large-scale piece such as this, you really want the image to pop when lit. As Crystal Poplin is a translucent fabric, it also offers lighting designers the opportunity to flood with light from behind for a back lit or silhouette effect which gives another dynamic to the stage look.

At 42’h x 78′ wide this custom sewn brail lift drape is crafted with virtually invisible lift line details to fit and lift on a ShowRig Automation Lift System.  On cue, the drape is raised to reveal the stage. If needed the drape can be lowered mid show to mask the upstage area for a set change. Fascinated? To learn more about automation systems and how you might include one in your next show design visit SGPS ShowRig online at www.sgps.net

With so many different lighting effects, this spectacular drape with mural sized portrait of Marc Anthony takes on a life of its own. Just remember, the show starts BEFORE the curtain goes up!

Thanks to Roly, Andres and Silvia with the Marc Anthony production team for choosing Sew What? Inc to supply softgoods for this world tour.

Need something custom? Our custom sewing department can provide personalized drapery quotations for any specialty concert stage design. Take a look in our portfolio {https://sewwhatinc.com/portfolios/rock-n-roll-portfolio/} at some of the custom drapery styles available. For details and pricing contact us at 310-639-6000

#sewwhatinc #sewwhatrentwhat #marcanthony #backdrop #concertdesign #lightingdesign

10 09, 2019

Unique Multi-layer Backdrop Takes Center Stage in Tyler, the Creator Tour Set Design

By |September 10th, 2019|Clients, Digital Printing, Projects|1 Comment

When Alex Reardon of Silent House Productions contacted us regarding this year’s Tyler, the Creator tour, we could not have been more excited. We immediately knew that we would be involved in a stage design and touring production of epic proportions. With a full-on tour schedule of more than 30 shows in the USA, UK and Canada, it was clear we would need to develop a hamper friendly and tour ready drapery package.

We love being challenged to create something new and unique. Not the same old run of the mill white cyc – this projection surface was to have the texture of fine ribbons and the ability blow in the wind while offering a reflective and bright surface for lighting and projection. It needed to be tangle resistant and have a series of unique contoured bottom edge cuts.

Sew What?’s very own Shane Nelsen worked directly with Alex Reardon and the TtC design team and got immediately to prototyping different ways we could achieve this unique request. After reviewing many different materials, a decision to settle on a lightly toned knit cloth was made since it would check all the design need boxes and offer wrinkle resistance as well. The best approach was to digitally print the elements onto our Heavy Knit cloth. We were able to add the light grey toning to the cloth, print the 1” wide ribbon cut lines and draft in the unique contoured curved bottom.

Made in separate sections to allow for the sections to be layered and adjusted as needed onsite, there were 48 pieces in total that made up the four backdrops. Once all the printed elements were applied to their respective webbing headers and layered appropriately, it was time for the process of cutting all the ribbons. We don’t call ourselves the Sew What? “family” for nothing. It truly was a family event, and everyone (office staff as well) put in time on the cutting table to slice up cloth into miles and miles of ribbon. (Some might hang around the coffee maker for the most recent news, but for us we were hanging around the @feliciathegoat backdrop to cut and catch up!)

The outcome is absolutely stunning – and we hope that you will have time to see the show when it is in your town. We are thrilled to have been selected to provide a custom touring softgood package for Tyler, the Creator. Thank you to Alex Reardon and team for your support and confidence in our ability and product.

Tyler The Creator @feliciathegoat x Chicago #IGOR 

  • Creative Director / Lighting & Set Designer @alexreardon65 of @silenthouseproductions
  • Lighting Programmer @climbingwombat
  • Disguise Programmer @retinakiller
  • Notch FX @rowanglenn
  • Tour Manager @henrybordeaux
  • Production by @eighteentwentysix
  • Video Content: @immanent_vj

See a video of the backdrop in action as a projection surface: https://youtu.be/N6do_QHcjWk