design

Vendors and Suppliers

A somewhat brief but hopefully useful list of local suppliers for stage supplies and equipment. NB - the world of equipment supply and rental is complicated, and often confusing. Many students can end up paying far more than they may have to because they negotiated their rentals directly. Even if the OFA or the HRDC isn't financing your show directly you should still contact the appropriate staff members to discuss your options. The ability to get a good price and service is often dependent on who you know, and the chances are the OFA staff or Michael Griggs know more people than you.

Sound Systems

Introduction

A bare-bones sound system consists of only a few main parts. You have a bunch of sound sources (microphones, CD players, etc.) fed into a mixing board (a device which combines a bunch of inputs into a couple of outputs). The “mixer” is fed into one or more amplifiers, which take the sound and gives it enough power to drive the speakers. We'll start by looking at the speakers, which I feel should be your first consideration.

Speakers

Sound Design

The sound designer is in charge of anything that is heard during the production. This includes any live or recorded music and sound effects as well as the vocal projection of the actors, both speaking and singing.

Things a sound designer might do:

  • Acquire pre-recorded sound effects and decide where they go during the production.
  • Record his or her own sound effects.
  • Design parts of the set that can be used to create sound as “organic” sound effects.
  • Choose previously recorded music for scene changes, underscoring, or featured moments during the production.

Set Design

Set design is an important part of almost any theatre production, as almost every show will utilize some sort of set, however minimal. Sets can be abstract, highly realistic, or anything in between, and they are a chance for a designer to showcase interesting concepts, new techniques, and unusual materials. The primary function of a set, of course, is to provide the audience with some context for the play, but it can also be a chance to create something stunning to draw in the audience.

Poster Design

The poster designer has a much smaller job during a production, as they usually work on their own and get their poster done way in advance of opening night, usually 3 weeks or so before load-in. He/she is responsible for designing and making a poster advertising the show. This involves meeting with the producers and the director and discussing the information they need to be included on the poster, and the type of message or feeling they want conveyed by the poster.

Master Painter

Simply put, the master painter is the one in charge of painting for a show. Depending on what the set calls for, the painter can have a variety of responsibilities (including making certain props or texturing building elements). A painter does not have to be a classically trained artist. all that is called for is a good grasp of color, perspective, and a familiarity with using drawing tools. The painter, along with the set designer, is responsible for translating the director’s vision into a finished set.