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Can I get scrim effects in churches or non-theater spaces?

The scrim effect is so interesting that lots of people would like to use a scrim in spaces not set up as theaters.  So we field the individual questions, “Can I…..?”  The answer is sometimes ‘Yes’ and sometimes ‘No’.  Some of the more common questions are answered below….Please be aware that the answers are written with our product Chameleon™  in mind…the issue of whether you can do this with other types of scrim are handled at the end.

Scrims traditionally come with grommets and ties on the top, and a “pocket” or fabric sleeve on the bottom for a pole weight.  Typically the ties go through the grommets and are tied off to a pipe hanging from the stage ceiling (called a batton).  A simple pipe is slid through the bottom pocket to weight the scrim.  For Chameleon™  this can be a lightweight pipe of PVC, aluminum, smooth dowel, or other.  For sharkstooth, use a heavier pipe.

You can also have the scrim finished with fabric sleeves (pockets) on the top and bottom slide dowels or pipes through these to hang. You can think of this as a banner type finishing.  That method is far less expensive and time consuming than building a frame and is easier to store.  Chameleon™  holds it’s shape so a similar strategy can be used by finishing the fabric with a sleeve/pocket on the left and on the right and using flag stands (or similar) to hold the scrim.  You can think of this as a banner turned sideways.  Its not recommended to use either of these methods with sharkstooth, because it hourglasses (narrows in the center when weighted) and sags.

Unusual ways: Chameleon™  can be razor cut and is lightweight so several really easy ways can be used.  You can have a grommet placed in each (reinforced) corner and tie the scrim in place.  Velcro dots can suspend a small scrim that is not going to be pulled on.  If the span is small you can suspend it with a very heavy fishing line or a cable.  The span needs to be under 15 foot for this method.

On stages there are two ways to move a scrim: flying or traveling.  Flying means you move the scrim up out of view, and traveling means you move the scrim left or right.  You can fly or travel with Chameleon™ , but only fly scrim with sharkstooth (of course you can do anything, but sharkstooth, a stretchy fabric has lots of problems with traveling!)

Traveling a scrim would in the best cases mean that you have a curtain track for the scrim. Many spaces have one curtain track, the same one the main curtain is hung on.  That can sometimes be used. You can also rig a simple rod similar to a shower curtain rod and slide the scrim along it.  The key to this approach is a small span for the scrim to move across.  The reason you need a small span is that a long pipe needs to be held up in the center.  The support would then be in the way for sliding the scrim past it.

To read more about rigging solutions: No-fly space rigging solutions.

A less traditional solution is to rig a scrim to roll up like a window shade. This is an Oleo Drop rigging. To read more about oleo drop rigging: How to make an Oleo Drop.

Can I make things appear & disappear? Can I use the “scrim effect”?

The key to making things appear and disappear is lighting--so do read the section below about lighting

To read more about how to achieve a scrim effect:  What is a scrim effect?