A scrim is a lightweight woven material that is widely used in theatrical productions. It is gauze-like, with openings as small as the openings of window screens. With the use of lighting techniques, scrim generates a lot of different special effects, including the illumination of an act to make a dream scene. To help you make the best stage effects, here’s a guide on how to use a scrim.
- Position the scrim on the stage. Determine where you want to place the scrim. The location of the scrim should be identified as you the design and plan the stage. Hang it down from the top and spread it properly across to avoid creases and wrinkles.
- Place lights. Depending on the effect you want to achieve, the lights can be placed behind, at the front, and at both sides of the scrim. You can also light the scrim from the top. Remember to take note of the lights you are going to use. The strength and intensity of the lights will partly influence the creation of the special effects.
- Light the scrim from behind. Lighting behind is applicable if you want to make the action happening behind the scrim visible. The other parts of the stage are totally black, making the scrim the only illuminated area. This kind of effect is useful if you want to make dream, flashback, and epiphany scenes.
- Turn the front light on and the light behind the scrim off. This makes all the scenes at the front of the scrim visible, while the scrim looks opaque and seems to be an ordinary stage curtain.
- Light the scrim from the front and turn the lights at the back on a low setting. This technique will reveal both the actions happening at the front and behind the scrim. With right lighting, the scrim will appear transparent, allowing the audience to see both scenes.
- Use a gobo. A gobo is a special lens that, when fitted into a spotlight, creates different patterns. If you direct a gobo from the front of the scrim, a pattern, such as stars, raindrops, and snowflakes, will show up on the backdrop.
- Paint the scrim. You can also paint the scrim with an image or scene. When you light the scrim from the front, the painted image will appear. You can use two kinds of scrim fabrics for this purpose: sharkstooth and chameleon. Sharktooth is the most widely used material for theater, although it is a little expensive. Chameleon, on the other hand, does not hold paint well but is more affordable.
- Explore lighting techniques. There are plenty of other lighting techniques you can try to illuminate select scenes. Employ the technique you think will meet the scene requirements and your preferences.
Aside from theater productions, you can also use scrim for other purposes. For instance, you can use scrim to control the lights in photography sessions. It works in both studio and outdoor shoots. Scrim is also used in the same way in film productions. It also finds uses in carpentry and industrial settings as a reinforcement material.