From James: We wanted to build a multi-series scenic element that could be re purposed for several looks. The pieces had to be easily produced, easily modified, and self lit. We landed on a simple square shadowbox that was lined with led tape that could be “filled” with various textures depending on the series graphic, and be hung at a 90 or 45 degree angle.
The shadowboxes consist of two squares:
one “face” square of 1x4s on face
one “back” square of 1×2’s on side to hold led tape behind the face.
To speed up the build process and ensure that every piece was square – a jig was built to hold the wood while it was being glued and stapled. We used wide staples on the corners, it worked swell.
First we assembled all the face squares using glue and three wide staples. Next we assembled each back frame using a single wide staple and glue. After each back frame was assembled we laid the face to the back frame, applied glue and used narrow staples to secure each frame together.
Next we rolled flat black paint to each finished square.
Once the frames were dry, we attached the led tape. We purchased several rolls of led tape, one roll cut in half will give you enough tape to light up two pieces without any soldering.
The tape was applied using a can of 3m Spray 90 glue and a 1×2 to press on the tape.
Once the glue dried, we wired a 25’ section of 22/4 alarm cable to each piece. We used UR connectors to secure the tape leads to the alarm cable – the UR connectors are amazing. No stripping needed! They really sped up the process from using the splice connectors. To keep the wire tension from ripping out the led tape. we used zip ties with screw holes to act as a strain relief. The other end of the alarm cable was terminated with 4 wire phoenix connectors to connect them to the decoder boxes.
To hang each piece, we attached a #4 conduit hanger to secure each piece to our 1.5” pipe grid.
Once the pieces were ready with tape glued and clamp attached we added the “filler”.
To match the series graphic where we introduced the boxes, I re-used some crumbled black metal window screen and tore it into smaller pieces and secured it to the boxes using a staple gun. The effect looked great for its first series.
For the second series I wanted something that was unique, would provide maximum output to make the squares pop against our other lighting effects, and could be installed really fast as the week for series changeover was pretty busy.
We chose the Samaurai tiles from ModScenes. Between both campuses we utilized 39 tiles to make one unified look for both campus which worked out swell as this series would be our first time implementing virtual teaching so both stages had to match. We took down each square and ripped out the window screen. From there we used small brad nails in each corder to secure each tile.
The resulting effect was some really cool abstract shadowboxes that looked great live and on video. Each box is wired separately so each tile can chase, change color, dim independently. The huge upside to the Modscene tiles is that when we are through with this series, I can re use them with the included hardware and make newer more complex sets for other stage looks.