Drops and cycloramas are meant as scenic elements on stage. They can be one color drops used for lighting effects or projection purposes, or they can be painted or printed to become part of the scenery.
Most drops are made of either Muslin or Sharkstooth Scrim depending on their purpose. Other commonly used fabrics include Filled Scrim (Leno), Bobbinette, and Canvas.
A Scrim Drop provides multiple effects. When lit from the front it is opaque, when lit from the rear it is translucent. This quality allows for a wonderful bleed through effect revealing or concealing other backdrops, scenery or actors by shifting the lighting gradually from rear to front and vice versa.
Scrim can be used for projection, especially Filled Scrim (Leno). It is also suitable for painting.
Cycloramas are often used in the rear of the stage, primarily for lighting and projection purposes. They can hang from a pipe batten or travel on a curved track.
For a general purpose backdrop natural muslin is sufficient and the least expensive choice, especially when seamed. For a Bounce Drop, which is used to bounce light onto the rear of another drop for a softer more diffused effect, bleached white muslin should be used. A Skydrop is made of light blue muslin.
Muslin is also a common choice for painted scenic backdrops. Only
Digitally Printed Backdrop
A digitally printed backdrop is a more recent alternative to the traditional painted scenic backdrop. Although it will not be right for every situation, digital printing has certain advantages that cannot be ignored, including photo-realistic resolution and color, easy replication, and a much longer life in spite of frequent handling and storage. With the most modern airbrush technology almost any fabric or material can be printed.
Fiber Optic Curtain
A Fiber Optic Star Drop usually is a black backdrop with a random spread of fiber optic points. It can be used as a night sky or for other special effects. The fiber optic points can be white or multi-color and twinkle at various speeds. Depending on the layout different areas of the drop may be lit at different times.
Custom Fiber Optic Curtains feature fiber optic points in specific designs such as logos or scenic images. Fiber Optic drops require illuminators (fixtures). Basic illuminators allow for a simple “plug-in operation”, while better units are dmx ready and can be integrated into the existing lighting controls.
Typical fabrics include but are not limited to Velour and Commando Cloth. The fabric should be heavy enough to hold the fiber points properly, and opaque enough to block out the light from the fiber strands behind the drop.
A projection screen is made of a vinyl screen material, suitable for either front or rear projection. Different colors have different qualities in terms of the amount of ambient light they accept and the viewing angle they provide.
Note: A projection screen can hang from a pipe batten as other backdrops. For best results, however, it should be stretched on all for sides.