Which comes first, the elevations or the floor plan? Should the plan be completed before starting the elevations, or vice versa? Although the floor plan and elevation are separate drawings and are sometimes at different scales, the safest way out of a prolonged discussion is to assume that they are developed simultaneously. This is true in most cases for there is a continual cross-reference between the plan and the elevation before either reaches its final form.

The term elevation applies to all views seen in a horizontal direction. A front view of the set is an elevation. Because the elevation of an assembled set has little value as a working drawing, the stage designer uses another technique. Compared to the floor plan, which is an assembled section showing the relation of the many parts, the elevation drawings are, in a sense, disassembled or dismantled views. The set is taken apart, flattened out, and each piece of scenery is shown in front view at a scale of ½" = 1'0". Starting with the right return, the scenery is laid out in order, piece by piece, to the left return. All the pieces are shown in true size and shape.

A solid line marks open joints or edges between walls. In effect each flat wall surface or unit of scenery is an outline. The outline may include a large area involving a major portion of the scene or may merely mark off a small jog in the wall.

For special reasons, it may be necessary to indicate a covered joint, or the line, where two or more wings are hinged together to make up a flat wall surface. The covered joint is indicated with a dotted line and a note to hinge and to dutchman, or cover, the joint. Normally, this isn't necessary as the carpenter decides just how an oversized surface will be subdivided. His decision as to how it is to be made is guided by such technical considerations as the size of the stage, the method of handling the sets, and if the scenery has to be transported, the nature of the transportation. The standard maximum wing width of 5'9" is based on the height of a baggage car door. If the scenery is moving by truck, or not traveling at all, the maximum standard width can vary accordingly.

Designers vary in the amount of detail they show at ½" scale. Although the decorative trim and other details are better shown at a larger scale, it is sometimes wise to at least sketch a portion of the detail on the ½" elevations. It not only shows the trim in assembled view but also gives the carpenter some idea of any special construction that might be needed. Because of the light wood frame and canvas


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Sceno-Graphic Techniques


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