Below you will find a brief description of several curtains layers that you can find and use as a guide for your project.
Backdrops & Cycloramas
Used as scenic elements on stage.
Drops and “cycs” are used as scenic elements on stage. Backdrops can be one color to be used for projecting or lighting effects, or they can also be painted or digitally printed to become part of the scenery and set the mood of a performance.
Depending on their purpose, backdrops are usually made from seamless Muslin Flame Retardant or net fabrics like Sharkstooth Scrim Flame Retardant or Leno Filled Scrim Flame Retardant.
A cyclorama, also known as scenic backdrop, “cyc” or panorama, is usually the largest single piece of scenery in a theater. This curtain is sewn flat without intermediate seams or pleats, and once installed is tensioned to achieve a flat surface. Cycloramas are widely used in theater, dance, film and television to create a sense of depth, giving the feeling of open sky or space without horizons. Multiple scenes, moments or places can be represented by varying the intensity or color of the light projected into the cyclorama, offering set designers and lighting techs a highly flexible design tool. A cyc can also be used for front and rear projection.
To create an illusion of greater depth it can be combined with the installation of a Sharksthooth Scrim backdrop.
As seams tend to disrupt the smooth surface of a cyclorama, we highly recommend it is made from seamless extra-wide Muslin Flame Retardant; but when on a reduced budget a more economical choice is a cyclorama made with seams from a narrower Muslin FR fabric option. Another great fabric alternative is our synthetic extra-wide Trevira CS Muslin IFR or for a backdrop used for front projection, consider using our Leno Filled Scrim FR material.
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Typically, a cyclorama is tied up to a pipe batten while an additional pipe is either tied to the bottom hem or fed through a bottom pocket hem to achieve a smooth-tight fabric surface. Occasionally, on stages with restricted space, a cyclorama can travel on a one way draw BESTEEL® 170 Series curtain track, a SILENT STEEL® 280 Series curtain track. For curved configurations consider using our I-Beam type RIG-I-FLEX® 140 or for long runs and extra large backdrops consider using our Patriarc® 500Series curtain track. Even though traveling a cyclorama on a track is a common industry practice, it is not the best alternative as leaving a cyclorama gathered in the stack position for a long period of time, can cause wrinkles that can distort the smooth seamless fabric surface.
Feel free to contact us with questions about cyclorama fabrics, finishes or related curtain track or suspension hardware.
A scrim drop is used to achieve a bleed-through effect and can reflect and transmit light giving the illusion of magically revealing objects placed behind it. When a scrim is lit from the front in the proper angle it will appear opaque, while when lit from behind it turns transparent. A scrim can also help dull the image, creating a greater sense of depth. A dreamy or foggy look can also be achieved by lighting a scene entirely behind a scrim. Scrim drops are used for projection and can also be painted. Scrims are oftentimes combined with a flame retardant Muslin cyclorama backdrop.
For a custom made scrim backdrop we recommend using our 100% cotton Sharkstooth Scrim Flame Retardant or our 100% polyester Sharkstooth Scrim Inherently Flame Retardant. These materials are available in various widths and colors.
A Sharkstooth scrim backdrop can be tied up to a pipe batten and may be weighed down to keep the material tensioned and wrinkle free by feeding a light weight pipe batten through a pocket built in the bottom hem. On occasions, a Scrim drop can travel on a one way draw BESTEEL® 170 Series curtain track, SILENT STEEL® 280 Series curtain track, or for space restricted configurations a curved RIG-I-FLEX® 140 Series curtain track may be used to allow for curtain storage in an alternate location.
On stages with a fly loft generally a scrim drop curtain would be dead hung from a pipe batten rigged to either a motorized hoisting system or a counter-weight hand operated system.
Please contact us if you need help choosing the right hardware for your application or visit our curtain track selector guide for more information.
Digitally Printed Backdrop
A digitally printed Cyclorama or Backdrop is a more modern and sophisticated alternative to a traditional painted one. Digital printing has many advantages over the traditional painted drop; like a much longer life span, high quality and color resolution with a realistic photo-like finish and fast turnaround among others. Another advantage is that since the printed image is saved on a computer file, it can be easily reproduced. These backdrops are created with the ability to print seamlessly up to 16’ of material (4.87 meters) from dye sublimation transfers to direct inkjet fabric printing with endless possibilities and very impressive results.
A projection screen is a device consisting of a projecting surface and a support structure used for displaying a projected image for the view of an audience. Projection screens may be permanently installed, semi-permanent, or mobile (portable). The most common color shades are uniformly white, off-white, cream, grey and in some cases for 3D projection silver screen surface colors are used almost exclusively as to avoid any discoloration to the image. The screen surface can be solid or perforated for acoustic transparency, and in most cases is made of a specially designed PVC screen materials which can be solid or textured as required for each specific project. A screen surface may be suitable for front, rear projection or both. Some fabrics like our white or grey Muslin Flame Retardant as well as white Tendo IFR are suitable for projection as well.
Projection screens can be fixed or retractable, hand operated or motorized. Retractable screens usually roll up into an overhead screen enclosure, while some large screens can roll on an aluminum tube from the bottom up on what is known as a scenic roller. Smaller screen units can also be hand operated, while large screen surfaces might also be stretched and laced to a permanent frame.
A projection screen can hang from a pipe batten, truss or overhead structure, may be surface mounted or recessed into a ceiling or can in cases also be wall mounted.
Please contact us with your custom need.
Fiber Optic Curtain or LED Curtain
A fiber optic star drop is typically a flat black backdrop with randomly spread polymer plastic extrusions inserts which are connected to a lighting fixture or illuminator. The optical fiber lines are concealed between the opaque face fabric and the curtain backing, and they are routed out of the curtain bundled together inside a fabric covered connecting stripe or “pig tail”. The bundled fibers are fixed into a solid connector known as a ferrule. The ferrule works as a quick connector, and it links the curtain to the controller, also known as illuminator.
Fiber optic backdrops can be manufactured to create a night sky scene with a random pattern, a specific logo or a scenic image. Depending on the chosen layout, different areas of the star drop can be lit simultaneously or randomly to achieve the desired effect. By adjusting the settings of the illuminators the optical fibers can twinkle and change colors at different speeds and patterns. The illuminator can be a programmable stand-alone unit or a DMX compatible unit that may interface with the existing lighting control board.
LED curtains are a durable and versatile alternative to traditional optical fiber curtains, and consist of randomly spread or evenly distributed LED’s wired to a variable 8 channels DMX compatible controller. The lighting operator can control the effects of the grouped LED’s, their intensity; chase speed, pattern type, and behavior. LED backdrops can also be plugged into a standalone programmable controller and the settings can be saved on the controller’s internal memory for recurring plug and play applications.
LED backdrops provide a more dramatic and realistic effect than a fiber optics backdrop and are widely used by touring bands, discos, houses of worship and venues all around the world.
The recommended fabric choices for Fiber Optic curtains are Eco-Poly 15oz IFR lined with Poplin IFR or Commando 16oz FR, lined Ranger FR lining. For LED curtains we recommend Encore Velour 22oz IFR, lined with Poplin 10oz IFR. The lining is attached to the curtain by way of hook and loop Velcro fasteners to allow for easy lining removal in the event a quick LED or optical fibers repair or replacement is required.
Please contact us for a price quote on a custom fabricated backdrop.