A prop, formally known as property, is an object used on stage or on screen by actors during a performance or screen production. In practical terms, a prop is considered to be anything movable or portable on a stage or a set, distinct from the actors, scenery and electrical equipment. Consumable food items appearing in the production are considered props; the earliest known use of the term "properties" in English to refer to stage accessories is in the 1425 CE morality play, The Castle of Perseverance. The Oxford English Dictionary finds the first usage of "props" in 1841, while the singular form of "prop" appeared in 1911. During the Renaissance in Europe, small acting troupes functioned as cooperatives, pooling resources and dividing any income. Many performers provided their own costumes, but special items—stage weapons, furniture or other hand-held devices—were considered "company property"; some experts however seem to think that the term comes from the idea that stage or screen objects "belong" to whoever uses them on stage.
There is no difference between props such as theatre, film, or television. Bland Wade, a properties director, says, "A coffee cup onstage is a coffee cup on television, is a coffee cup on the big screen." He adds, "There are different responsibilities and different vocabulary." The term "theatrical property" originated to describe an object used in a stage play and similar entertainments to further the action. Technically, a prop is any object that gives the scenery, actors, or performance space specific period, place, or character; the term comes from live-performance practice theatrical methods, but its modern use extends beyond the traditional plays and musical, novelty and public-speaking performances, to film and electronic media. Props in a production originate from off stage unless they have been preset on the stage before the production begins. Props are stored on a prop table backstage near the actor's entrance during production generally locked in a storage area between performances.
The person in charge of handling the props is called the "props master". Other positions include coordinators, production assistants and interns as may be needed for a specific project; the term has transferred to television, motion picture and video game production, where they are referred to by the phrase movie prop, film prop or prop. In recent years, the increasing popularity of movie memorabilia has added new meaning to the term "prop", broadening its existence to include a valuable after-life as a prized collector's item. Not available until after a film's premiere, movie props appearing on-screen are called "screen-used", can fetch thousands of dollars in online auctions and charity benefits. Many props are ordinary objects. However, a prop must "read well" from the house or on-screen, meaning it must look real to the audience. Many real objects are poorly adapted to the task of looking like themselves to an audience, due to their size, durability, or color under bright lights, so some props are specially designed to look more like the actual item than the real object would look.
In some cases, a prop is designed to behave differently from how the real object would for the sake of safety. Examples of special props are: A prop sack representing a burlap bag, might have another black fabric bag sewn, discreetly inside the burlap, giving it strength, hiding the contents and creating a visual void to the audience view. A prop mop, representing a string mop, but built out of a rectangular shape covered with fabric, so the mop can be slid across the stage to another actress as part of a musical number. A prop weapon that looks functional, but lacks the intentional harmfulness of the corresponding real weapon. In the theater, prop weapons are always either non-operable replicas, or have safety features to ensure they are not dangerous. Guns fire caps or noisy blanks, swords are dulled, knives are made of plastic or rubber. In film production functional weapons are used, but only with special smoke blanks with blank adapted guns instead of real bullets. Real cartridges with bullets removed are still dangerously charged which has caused several tragic instances when used on stage or film.
The safety and proper handling of real weapons used as movie props is the premiere responsibility of the prop master. ATF and other law enforcement agencies may monitor the use of real guns for film and television, but this is not necessary with stage props as these guns are permanently "plugged". Breakaway objects, or stunt props, such as balsa-wood furniture, or sugar glass whose breakage and debris look real but cause injury due to their light weight and weak structure. For such safe props often a stunt double will replace the main actor for shots involving use of breakaway props. Rubber bladed-weapons and guns are examples of props used by stuntmen to minimize injury, or by actors where the action requires a prop which minimizes injury. "Hero" props are the more detailed pieces intended for close inspection by the audience. The hero prop may have legible writing, moving parts, or other attributes or functions missing from a standard prop; the term is used on occasion for any of the items that a main character wou
A scenery wagon known as a stage wagon, is a mobile platform, used to support and transport movable, three-dimensional theatrical scenery on a theater stage. In most cases, the scenery is constructed on top of the wagon such that the wagon, the scenery it supports, forms a single, integrated structure. Heavy duty casters are mounted to the underside of the platform so that the entire assembly can be moved onstage or offstage, so as to facilitate rapid scenery changes during live productions. Scenery wagons are built in a wide range of sizes, ranging from less than one square foot up to the size of the playing area of the stage. Scenery wagons comprise one of the four methods used to move scenery during the course of a theatre performance, the other three being "flying" scenery from a fly system, elevating or lowering scenery on a stage lift, or "running" the scenery. Various caster types are used on scenery wagons; the choice of caster type for any particular wagon depends on a number of factors, including platform size and shape, scenery weight, production aesthetics and budget.
Casters are mounted so that the bottom of the platform is elevated one-half to three-quarters of an inch above the stage. The number of casters required for a wagon depends on caster type and load rating as well as the size and weight of the wagon and scenery. Swivel casters are used on smaller wagons because of the flexible, omnidirectional mobility they offer; as the number of swivel casters attached to a wagon increases, though, it becomes difficult to align them. It may be difficult or impossible to move a wagon that has a large number of swivel casters when the casters are unaligned; as a result, rigid casters are preferred for larger wagons, which require a proportionally higher number of casters. Air casters are sometimes used in place of rolling casters; these require pressurized air to operate, which produces audible hiss, undesirable in some situations, are more expensive than rolling casters, but they have the advantage of "locking" the scenery securely in place when depressurized and, like swivel casters, they permit omnidirectional movement.
To effect a scenery change, a wagon is rolled offstage to remove it from the set or rolled onstage to its designated position to add it to the set. In the latter case, the wagon must be immobilized after it has been positioned on the stage so that actors can safely interact with it without causing the wagon to move. A number of methods and mechanisms are used to immobilize, or "lock" scenery wagons in place: Wooden wedges may be forced between the stage and the bottom edge of the wagon perimeter. Ideally, the wedges are driven under the wagon to the extent that the wagon is supported by the wedges instead of its casters. Wedges are used in pairs, on opposite sides of the wagon so that the wagon can't slip off the wedges. Slip bolts may be used to hold scenery wagons in position when high lateral strength is required and it is permissible to drill holes in the stage; the bolts are mounted to the wagon base and, when the wagon is in position, the bolts are lowered into their designated, predrilled holes.
A lift jack is fundamentally a lever that attaches to the scenery wagon platform with a hinge, with a caster mounted to the underside of the lever near the hinge. When no downward force is applied to the lever handle, the wagon rests securely on the stage; when the lever handle is forced downward, the caster serves as a fulcrum to lift the wagon above the stage, thus enabling the unit to be rolled. Lift jacks may be built onto a wagon's exterior, as circumstances dictate. A wagon brake has a handle which, when pushed down, extends a steel rod onto the stage; when extended, the steel rod lifts a section of the wagon off the stage floor. The bottom end of the rod has a threaded cavity that will accept an extension spindle, which in turn can be used to adjust the height of the wagon above the stage; the brake is released by raising its handle, thereby retracting the steel rod away from the stage. Wagon brakes provide a fast means of locking and unlocking wagons, but the brakes and stage can be damaged if the running crew attempts to move a wagon while its brakes are engaged.
Damage to the stage can be mitigated by using extension spindles with compliant tips. Toggle clamps, which are functionally similar to wagon brakes, are sometimes used in lieu of theatrical wagon brakes due to their higher load ratings and more durable construction. Hinged foot irons may be bolted to the sides of the wagon. To lock the wagon in place, the free ends of the foot iron hinges are folded down and secured to the stage with stage screws; this is a reliable method for immobilizing wagons, but it creates holes in the stage and can slow the process of locking and unlocking a wagon. If a foot iron is allowed to contact the stage while the wagon is being moved, the stage floor can be damaged. Scenic design
Video design or projection design is a creative field of stagecraft. It is concerned with the creation and integration of film, motion graphics and live camera feed into the fields of theatre, dance, fashion shows and other live events. Video design has only gained recognition as a separate creative field. Prior to this, the responsibilities of video design would be taken on by a scenic designer or lighting designer. A person who practices the art of video design is known as a Video Designer. However, naming conventions vary around the world, so practitioners may be credited as Projection Designer, "Media Designer", Cinematographer or Video Director; as a new field of stagecraft, practitioners create their own definitions and techniques. Filmmaking and video production content has been used in performance for many years, as has large format slide projection delivered by systems such as the PANI projector; the German Erwin Piscator, as stage director at the Berlin Volksbühne in the 1920s, made extensive use of film projected onto his sets.
However, the development of digital projection technology in the mid 90s, the resulting drop in price, made it more attractive and practical to live performance producers and scenic designers. The role of the video designer has developed as a response to this, in recognition of the demand in the industry for experienced professionals to handle the video content of a production. United Scenic Artists' Local 829, the Union representing Scenic Artists in the USA has included "Projection Designers" as of mid- 2007; this means anybody working in this field will be doing so as "Projection Designer" if he or she is working under a union contract if the design utilises technology other than video projectors. The term "Projection Designer" stems from the days when slide and film projectors were the primary source of projection and is now in wide use across North America. MA Digital Theatre, University of the Arts London is the first Master's level course in the UK designed to teach video design as a specific discipline, rather than embedding it into scenic design.
Opera Academy Verona has a Workshop Laboratory from 2009 of Projection Design for Opera and Theatre, Directed from Carlo Saleti, Gianfranco Veneruci and Florian CANGA. In the USA, a number of programs started at about the same time reflecting the growing acceptance of the profession and the need for skilled projection designers. Yale University began a graduate level program in Projection Design in 2010. It's being headed by Wendall K. Harrington. CalArts had their concentration Video For Performance since the mid-2000s and is led by Peter Flaherty while UT Austin started the MFA concentration Integrated Media for Live Performance in 2010, it is being led by the Sven Ortel. Both the UT Austin and Yale program are part of an MFA in Design and graduated their first students in 2013. Depending on the production, due to the crossover of this field with the fields of lighting design and scenic design, a video designer's roles and responsibilities may vary from show to show. A video designer may take responsibility for all of the following.
The overall conceptual design of the video content to be included in the piece, including working with the other members of the production team to ensure that the video content is integrated with the other design areas. The creation of this video content using 2D and 3D animation, motion graphics, stop motion animation, filming or any other method; the management of live cameras, their signal and how it is used on stage as part of the design. The direction, lighting and/or cinematography of any film clips included in the piece; the design of the technical system to deliver the video content, including the specification of video projectors, LED displays and control systems, cabling routes and rigging positions for optimal video effects. The management of the budget allocated to video, including the sourcing of display technologies and control technologies, their delivery and insurance; this is a wide skills base, it is not uncommon for a video designer to work with associates or assistants who can take responsibility for certain areas.
For example, a video designer may conceptually design the video content, but hire a skilled animator to create it, a programmer to program the control system, a production engineer to designer and engineer the control system and a projectionist to choose the optimum projection positions and maintain the equipment. Concert video design is a niche of the filmmaking and video production industry that involves the creation of original video content intended explicitly for display during a live concert performance; the creation of visuals for live music performances bears close resemblance to music videos, but are meant to be displayed as'backplate' imagery that adds a visual component to the music performed onstage. However, as the use of video content during musical performances has grown in popularity since the turn of the 21st century, it has become more common to have self-standing'introductory' and'interstitial' videos that play on screen on stage without the performers; these pieces may include footage of the artist or artists, shot for the video, presented onstage with pre-recorded music so that the final appearance is a music video.
Such stand-alone videos, are only viewed in this live setting and may include additional theatrical sound effects. The earliest concert video visuals date to the period of the late 1960s when concerts for artists such as Jimi Hendrix and The Doors featured psychedelic imagery on projection screens suspended behind the performers. L
See stage clothes. Costume design is the overall appearance of a character or performer. Costume may refer to the style of dress particular to a class, or a period. In many cases, it may contribute to the fullness of the artistic, visual world, unique to a particular theatrical or cinematic production; the most basic designs are produced to denote status, provide protection or modesty, or provide visual interest to a character. Costumes may not be limited to such. Costume design should not be confused with costume coordination which involves altering existing clothing, although both create stage clothes. Four types of costumes are used in theatrical design: historical, fantastical and modern. Village festivals and processions in honor of Dionysus amongst the ancient Greeks, are believed to be the origin of theatre, therefore theatre costume; the sculpture and vase paintings provide the clearest evidence of this costume. Because of their ritualized style of theatre many masks were used giving each character a specific look and they varied depending if they were used for comedic or dramatic purposes.
Some masks were constructed with a cheerful as well as a serious side on the same face in an attempt to indicate a change in emotion without a change of mask. The same is true for the Romans, who continued the mask tradition, which made the doubling of roles easier. During the late Middle Ages in Europe, dramatic enactments of Bible stories were prevalent, therefore actual Christian vestments, stylized from traditional Byzantine court dress, were worn as costumes to keep the performances as realistic as possible. Stereotypical characterization was key. In most instances actors had to supply their own costumes when playing a character found in daily life. In Elizabethan performance during the 1500-1600s in England, costume became the most important visual element. Garments were expensive because only the finest fabrics were used; the majority of characters were clothed in Elizabethan fashion, otherwise the costumes could be divided into five categories. Her practice soon became standard for all tragic heroines" Major actors began to compete with one another as to who would have the most lavish stage dress.
This practice continued until around the 1750s. Art began to copy life and realistic characteristics were favored during the 19th century. For example, Georg the second, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen took personal interest in the theatre and began managing troupes, he advocated for authenticity and accuracy of the script and time period, therefore he refused to let actors tamper with their own costumes. He made sure the materials were authentic and specific, using real chain mail, swords, etc. No cheap substitutes would be allowed. In August 1823, in an issue of The Album, James Planché published an article saying that more attention should be paid to the time period of Shakespeare's plays when it comes to costumes. In the same year, a casual conversation led to one of Planché's more lasting effects on British theatre, he observed to Charles Kemble, the manager of Covent Garden, that "while a thousand pounds were lavished upon a Christmas pantomime or an Easter spectacle, the plays of Shakespeare were put upon the stage with makeshift scenery, and, at the best, a new dress or two for the principal characters."
Kemble "saw the possible advantage of correct appliances catching the taste of the town" and agreed to give Planché control of the costuming for the upcoming production of King John, if he would carry out the research, design the costumes and superintend the production. Planché had little experience in this area and sought the help of antiquaries such as Francis Douce and Sir Samuel Meyrick; the research involved sparked Planché's latent antiquarian interests. Despite the actors' reservations, King John was a success and led to a number of similarly-costumed Shakespeare productions by Kemble and Planché; the designs and renderings of King John, Henry IV, As You Like It, Othello and Merchant of Venice were published, though there is no evidence that Hamlet and Merchant of Venice were produced with Planché’s accurate costume designs. Planché wrote a number of plays or adaptations which were staged with accurate costumes. After 1830, although he still used period costume, he no longer claimed historical accuracy for his work in plays.
His work in King John had brought about a "revolution in nineteenth-century stage practice" which lasted for a century. In 1923 the first of a series of innovative modern dress productions of Shakespeare plays, directed by H. K. Ayliff, opened at Barry Jackson's Birmingham Repertory Theatre in England. Costumes in Chinese
Lighting control console
A lighting control console is an electronic device used in theatrical lighting design to control multiple lights at once. They are used throughout the entertainment industry and are placed at the Front of House position or in a control booth. All lighting control consoles can control dimmers. Many modern consoles can control Intelligent lighting, fog machines and hazers, other special effects devices; some consoles can interface with other electronic performance hardware to improve synchronization or unify their control. Lighting consoles communicate with the dimmers and other devices in the lighting system via an electronic control protocol; the most common protocol used in the entertainment industry today is DMX512, although other protocols may still be found in use, newer protocols such as ACN and DMX-512-A are evolving to meet the demands of increasing device sophistication. Consoles vary from small preset boards to dedicated moving light consoles; the purpose of all lighting consoles, however is the same: to consolidate control of the lights into an organized, easy-to-use system, so that the lighting designer can concentrate on producing a good show.
Most consoles accept MIDI Show Control signals and commands to allow show control systems to integrate their capabilities into more complex shows. Preset boards are the most basic lighting consoles—and the most prevalent in smaller installations, they consist of two or more identical fader banks, called scenes. The faders on these scenes can be manually adjusted; each scene has the same number of channels. So the console operator can build a scene offline or in "blind", a cross-fader or submaster is used to selectively mix or fade between the different scenes. At least with a preset board, the operator has a cue sheet for each scene, a diagram of the board with the faders in their positions, as determined by the lighting designer; the operator sets the faders into their positions based on the cue sheets. During a cue, the operator sets the next scene; the operator makes the transition between the scenes using the cross-fader. Preset boards are not as prevalent since the advent of digital memory consoles, which can store scenes digitally, are much less cumbersome but more expensive than preset boards.
However, for small setups such as that of a DJ, they remain the board of choice for their simple to use interface and relative flexibility. Preset boards control only conventional lights. However, this is not recommended. Memory-based consoles have become popular in all larger installations theatres; this type of controller has completely replaced preset consoles as controllers of choice. Memory consoles are preferable in productions where scenes do not change from show to show, such as a theatre production, because scenes are designed and digitally recorded, so there is less room for human error, less time between lighting cues is required to produce the same result, they allow for lighting cues to contain larger channel counts due to the same time savings gained from not physically moving individual channel faders. Many memory consoles have a bank of faders; these faders can be programmed to control a group of channels. The console may have provision to operate in analog to a manual desk for programming scenes or live control.
On more advanced consoles, faders can be used to control effects and moving light effects. Moving Light Controllers are another step up in sophistication from Memory Consoles; as well as being capable of controlling ordinary luminares via dimmers, they provide additional controls for intelligent fixtures. On midrange controllers, these are provided as a section separate from main Preset and Cue stack controls; these include an array of buttons allowing the operator to select the fixture or fixtures they want to control, a joystick, or a number of wheels or rotary encoders to control fixture attributes such as the orientation, colour, gobos etc. found in this type of light. Unlike a fader that shows its value based on the position of a slider, a wheel is continuously variable and provides no visual feedback for the value of a particular control; some form of display such as LCD or LED is therefore vital for displaying this information. The more advanced desks have one or more touchscreens, present a GUI that integrates all the aspects of the lighting.
As there is no standard way of controlling an intelligent light, an important function for this type of desk is to consolidate the various ways in which the hundreds of types of intelligent lights are controlled into a single abstract interface for the user. By integrating knowledge of different fixtures and their attributes into the lighting desk software, the detail of how an attribute such as pan or tilt is controlled for one device vs. another can be hidden from the operator. This frees the operator to think in terms of what they want to achieve instead of how it is achieved for any
A stage weight or brace weight is a heavy object used in a theatre to provide stability to a brace supporting objects such as scenery or to stabilize items such as lighting stands