Magazine article Stage Directions

GROSH DIGITAL: From Traditional Backdrop to Projected Scenery

Magazine article Stage Directions

GROSH DIGITAL: From Traditional Backdrop to Projected Scenery

Article excerpt

After more than 80 years in the traditional painted backdrop rental business, Hollywood, CA-based Grosh Backdrops and Drapery, Inc. is branching out further by adding digital projections of background imagery as well as the painted backdrop.

Grosh, a family-owned business led today by Amanda Uhlein, who serves as president of Grosh, was founded in 1932 by Robert L. Grosh, Uhlein's great-grandfather. Uhlein speaks about this new direction for the company. "It's been clear that large-scale productions are using projected scenery, and certain customers of ours asked if we offer that service," she says. "We really started to think about it two and a half years ago. We started putting energy into coming up with a plan."

Grosh's ample stock of painted backdrops includes more than 5,000 individual pieces, some developed for specific shows to drops that create a setting for a production. "It's a natural progression to take that to digital," said JoAnna Smith, Grosh manager of business development and sales. "We knew what they wanted for their productions, and it just flowed for us."

"We are also creating a brand-new line of animated images," says Uhlein. "Our artists are creating a digital version, so you have snow falling, or clouds moving across a moonlit sky." Smith adds, "You don't want projections to take away from the actors, you just want them to enhance the scene. The bird will fly across, the snail moves, the winds are blowing the clouds, but it's not a movie screen behind them. It's a realistic environment."

Uhlein sees the possibilities of digital work as a very exciting solution. "With our digital projection app all our customers need to do is rent the backdrop through our website, and the content will be delivered to their computer-you're simply connecting the app to the computer and then you can run the whole show. Your backdrop no longer needs to be static-if a backdrop depicted fireworks before, with a projection, you can now have fireworks blowing up in the sky onstage. …

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