Set Design: Work to Design With Repetitive Elements

One of the beauties of a repetitive set design is that you can create one hundred copies of the same thing. It is much easier to create a single item one hundred times, than to create one hundred items that are individually different.

Set Design: Work to Design With Repetitive Elements
Behind the worship band on stage as a backdrop are a series of triangles, with half upright, and the others turned at a 90 degree angle downward.

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Set Design: Work to Design With Repetitive Elements

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From paper plates to plastic patterns, repetitive designs are one of God’s gifts to stage design! Stage design with repetitive elements is a flexible and impactful way to design a stage set.

Repetition creates a large sense of scale, while keeping the creation, design, and building simplified. In this article, we will explore how repetitive stage design can help you create an impactful set, simplify your process, and engage more people in your stage build.

Repetitive stage design is simply the use of multiple identical (or very similar pieces) in a way to create a larger whole. The makeup of these pieces can vary greatly from set to set. Many times, these pieces are finished products that make the preparation phase of your stage design much easier.

Even as finished products, many times as stage designers, we use such items outside their stated purpose. Some great examples that work with repetitive elements are air filters, boxes, modular scenic tiles, paper plates, and blinders.

Repetitive stage design lends itself very well to creating a great set quickly. Since many of the main components are identical, it greatly simplifies the stage build process. The components can either be a pre-engineered product, off the shelf items designed for other uses, or something created from raw material. Many people use pre-engineered products, minimizing the chance for mistakes. These products include Mod Scenes panels, Mio Culture tiles, and spandex tiles

Other off-the-shelf items used for stage design not designed for use as stage set pieces, can nonetheless lend themselves well for such purposes. Whether you opt to use things like pizza box circles, air filters, paper plates, boxes, and beach balls, they can be rather easy to buy or gather, with minimal effort or cost.

Using such items to create a backdrop can create some stellar visuals. Each can offer a different look and requires a different amount of time to prep or build, but while typically cheaper, oftentimes they require more time to figure out a good method of hanging or building. Items like paper plates can simply be attached to a black frame, while other items like beach balls create the need for a different hanging solution.

While the cost savings by using such products for stage design, don’t ignore another consideration, regarding these products relating to fire safety. Many of these products are not fire safe, so finding products that are can be a challenge.


More About Steven Hall
Steven Hall has served on staff at Journey Church in Norman, Okla., for more than three years. He has been involved in lighting design for 10 years. As the church's Technical Director, he oversees all aspects of production but is most involved with lighting and scenic design. Steven also recently started a church scenic company, www.modscenes.com. Steven is a graduate of Full Sail University. He lives in Norman, Okla. with his wife, Sara, and son, Dorian. You can reach Steven on Facebook at www.facebook.com/stevenhallav.
Get in Touch: stevenhallav@gmail.com    More by Steven Hall

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Dig into this final part of a three-part series that looks into choices for lighting design software, including Vectorworks and LightConverse, and how each can best serve the needs of your church.


Article Topics

Technology · Lighting · Visual Arts · Lighting Design · Team Management · Budgeting · Congregation · Cost Effective · Elements · Engage · Frame · Impactful · All Topics

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