Monday, June 17, 2013

Medieval Set Design

Here is a run down on a medieval set. The skills employed here will work for any set.
The panels are all 4' wide x 8' tall.
The completed set.

Construct the panels with a 1/8"x4'x8' hardboard sheet.  Brace the back with 2"x2" wood stud around the perimeter. You don't need any supports in the center. You will use two uncut 2"x2" for the long sides, and cut two 45" studs for the top and bottom that fit between the 8' long studs. Screw the studs together with 1" screws, a single screw for each joint is fine. Then apply glue to the wood studs, align the hardboard on top and screw the hardboard to the studs. Use 2 1/2" screws for the 2"x2" studs and 1 1/4" screws to attach the hardboard to the studs.

A view of the panels from behind, including the door panel.

You can screw the panels together directly to make runs.  Use 2 1/2" screws. Use an angled 'L' shaped brace for support, and brace the supports with sand bags.  If you angle the end panel of a run at forty-five degrees, it will brace itself. For panels that joint at an angle, 3" or longer screws between panels are advised.

Production concept. The final set looks very similar.
This set used printed brick paper and flagstone patterned gossamer fabric.  Both were adhered to the panels with 3M spray adhesive and staples.

The printed brick paper.
The door panel was created in a similar way as the other panels.  The door was framed with 2"x2" wood, as was the door opening. A diagonal brace was added to the door since the door would see more use than a typical panel. I used a hardware set I had lying around and added bracing for attaching the hardware.
The rear view of the door.

With the door being framed in 2"x2", and the propensity of them to warp, bow, and twist, making the door actually latch was an issue.  I should have recessed, the latch, striker plate, and hinges. In trying to finish quickly, I didn't, but I really should have. An alternative idea I had was a dowel at the top and bottom of the door, for it to pivot, and a sliding latch. Though I would have run into many of the same issues. I recessed just the hinges on the door side. It is a rough fix, but regardless, the door opens, shuts, and latches so I'm calling it done.

The wall spikes are painted cardboard stapled to the panels.
The battlements (square cut outs) are hard board attached to a 2"x2" wood runner screwed to the top of the panels.

The castle, and it's battlements.
The curtains serve to block backstage from view. A black material was sewn along the top and strung along 3/4" steel pipe that is screwed to the set panels. The material is 8'-0" in length, and the pipe is attached to the top of the panels.
Galvanized 3/4" 2 hole pipe clips attach the curtain rods to the set.
If you have to cantilever one of the curtain rods, use a pipe twice as long as the length of cantilever.  This will help balance the the weight of the curtain on the pipe. Attach the pipe right at the cantilever edge of the panel and at the farthest end of the pipe.

All banners are large scale print outs.

A dragon pennant.

A dragon shield.

Utilizing additional props like plants, a hay bale, or even an archery target will add ambiance to your set. An area rug could add a stately feel to the 'interior' portion of the set. The little details are what make the set feel like a real place.
Props to create a general ambiance would have been nice.

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