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Discussion Starter #1
I just took the family on vacation down to disney world. 7 days is way to much for dragging around a 2 year old, and I was not very impressed by the quality of the resorts compared to the cost. I think we will not stay on site next time. None the less, I am a big fan of the parks and have been to them on 6 different occasions.

While hitting the rides, I noticed an effect that seems to be used a descent amount. In short a wall or ceiling, under what must be certain lighting becomes transparent to view what is behind it. It is used in the Country Bear Jamboree, Muppet Vision 3D, and probably the one we can all relate to is the Haunted Mansion. Where in the elevator, there is a lightning affect that gives away to a transparent ceiling to show the ghost host hanging from the rafters.

So the question is. How is this pulled off? Is it a fairly cheap? And has anyone tried to do it?

Seems like a quick flash of a scary face behind a trick wall like this could be a really cool addition.
 

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I would also guess scrim it's based on the lighting if lit it's see though and less or no lighting looks solid.
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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Scrims are really just the right fabric and lighting.

If you go to any fabric store (take a flashlight) and go through the fabrics to find one that is not see-through when the fabric is lit from the front, and then move the light behind and it becomes transparent, it is good to use. Your only restriction would be the width of the bolt of fabric, as you wouldn't want to stitch together as that would be detectable with the lighting.

You have to make sure the fabric is completely wrinkle-free and stretched flat (like a canvas) and then as long as it's lit from the front it will look solid, fade the front lighting and bring up the lights behind and the fabric would disappear and your prop or whatever behind would "materialize" mysteriously.... :)
 

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Going bump in the night..
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Bubbels, as you had noticed, it's all in the lighting.
When the lighting is on your side of the scrim, and it's dark behind it, it seems opaque.
When the lighting is behind the scrim, and dark on your side, it seems translucent to transparent.

Depending on the size of the application, even black tights stretched on a frame would be a good scrim (you had mentioned a face in a fake wall).

A real bright light on the object behind the scrim will allow you more leeway in the fabric you use - something like a strobe would be great.

Frankie's Girl made a good suggestion with the flashlight at the fabric store. Will allow you to check just how translucent a fabric is firsthand.

Depending on lighting, scrims can work even when painted - a "wood" wall (scrim) with an actor behind, a quick switch of lighting (from on in the room/dark behind the scrim to dark in the room/lighted behind the scrim), and it's a great scare.
Just as you saw in the Haunted Mansion - the "stretching room"s ceiling.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the tips guys! I did a little digging, and it sounds like even a cheap solution like mosquito netting could be used.

So how would one go about painting this fabric? I suppose going black on a black area, eliminates this issue, but painted just sounds like it would add so much more to the effect.
 

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Going bump in the night..
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So how would one go about painting this fabric? I suppose going black on a black area, eliminates this issue, but painted just sounds like it would add so much more to the effect.
Airbrushing would be a good choice - it would put paint on the fabric, and not apply so much that it would stretch to cover the spaces between the threads (the blowing air would just blow the excess paint through).
Spray paint should work the same way.

I think the effect should be in a spot that folks won't be closely examining the surface - close scrutiny would easily detect that it's fabric, compared to a solid surface.

Maybe something like striped wall paper - the pattern might make it blend in more.
In fact, run a length of chair-rail along the front of it, and suspend a picture in front as well (both of them just barely touching the scrim), and people will completely buy into the fact it's a real wall...
Then the lights go out, and a couple of zombie actors light up behind the scrim...lurching about.

Or whatever your application is...that's just what came to my mind.
 

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You can do this effect with the carnival mirrors also. All you see is refection until you light something behind it. A UV gives you a great ghost effect.
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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You can do this effect with the carnival mirrors also. All you see is refection until you light something behind it. A UV gives you a great ghost effect.

Yup. Here is a good effect using the two-way mirror uv film that you can get at the home improvement stores...

The Mirror

Sort of the same concept as using a scrim fabric, but with the lighting changing a mirror into a scary image... :)
 

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Scrims can also be painted with a very dry brush, but it takes a while. I've used them to make a changing sign - worked great!

Sorry you didn't enjoy your stay a a DW hotel. I've noticed on my last few visits that the quality at the value resorts (All Stars & Pop Century) was somewhat lacking, but the moderates were quite good. (I have to fight with the wife to stay anywhere but the values, but her handling of the money makes the trips possible so I can't complain too loudly!)
 

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Painting scrim

I've worked in theatre for many years and this is a very old, very classic theatre/stage trick. As desicribed by everyone, the scrim is just a large peice of fabric that is stretched and lit from front and behind.

Most scrims are painted. Really, we just paint them with any scenic paint, usually just an acryllic paint that has flame retardant in it. The key to making it work is the streching. If you want to paint the fabric, you must stretch it first into the position you are going to have it in. Painting will also help with the stretch in that as it drys, it will "size" or pull the fabric taut as well.

Since you are doing a close-up type of application of having audience near to the scrim, find a fairly tight weave fabric, but test it's "transparancy" like suggested. If people were going to be further away, you would use true scrim material...try this link to see some
Sharkstooth Scrim from Rose Brand

Have fun with this...it's easy and can really be a cool effect! :cool:
 

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livin Halloween every day
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And a quick easy way to do the lighting effect is to just use a flip flop. Hauntmasterproducts has a nice fairly inexpensive one, unless you just want to make your own.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the great insight guys! I will have to play around with these ideas more.

Sorry you didn't enjoy your stay a a DW hotel. I've noticed on my last few visits that the quality at the value resorts (All Stars & Pop Century) was somewhat lacking, but the moderates were quite good. (I have to fight with the wife to stay anywhere but the values, but her handling of the money makes the trips possible so I can't complain too loudly!)
Actually we stayed at the Caribbean beach resort, one of the moderates. I can't complain to much because we got in on the buy 4 nights, get 3 free deals. But beyond that I kept asking myself how the regular price of this hotel was really justified, considering that you can stay off site for half the price. But here is my list of complaints anyways.

1. We took part in the Disney Luggage Express service. We didn't realize that it would take "up to 3 hours" after we checked in for our luggage to show up. So we sat in the room sweating with pants on waiting to change so we can hit the parks. When I called the front desk asking about it, the response was "We will know when it gets here". Our luggage took 5.5 hours to show up, and the staff member gave us crap when we didn't tip. Still really annoyed with that as I remember walking right by my luggage when leaving the airport. To say the least, we carried our luggage with us back to the airport as I feared that Disney staff would not get it to the airport, before the plane left.

2. Our refrigerator was broken. I called and asked for them to send someone down. No one ever showed up.

3. The bus to the parks was the biggest joke. Our average time from waiting at the bus stop until we made it to the park (or vice versus) was 1 hour. With a 2 year old we needed to head back during the day for a nap. (This was the major reason we decided to go this route this time, thinking the bus service would make things easy.) So we spent around 4 hours waiting and on buses each day. On top of that, the bus drivers had no concept of safety, as they would fill the entire bus full, leaving us on several occasions standing in the middle of the isle with some rather brake happy drivers.

4. I called the maid service one evening and asked them if they could put me down for more soap when the maid comes in the next day. Because they wont just do it, you have to ask. The maid informed me that I needed to call back in the morning because requests can't carry over to a new shift. That just baffled me.

5. The pool area was always over filled. Anywhere from 30 to 50 people in the pool, and the hot tub was never available unless you wanted to get real friendly.


Anyhow, it was just a big joke for us. We live in a descent sized city, but it is not one of the big ones as we don't like the stacked rat race feel. The Disney parks are always packed and that is fine. But beyond our small hotel room, there just seemed to be no where we could go on the resorts to unwind.

Next time we go to Disney. I will find a nice $80 a night hotel off site where the staff is attentive and the pools are vacant. I will drive my $20 a day car rental for 30 minutes to the resort and pay the $12 a day parking. And when its all said and done, I will save $40 a day and have a better experience.
 
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