Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Behind The Build - Dreamscape Festival

Alright! Time for Festie Season! This is the time of year when I do nothing but work on festivals and events. This past February-May, I dedicated my life to conceptualizing, fantasizing and building for Dreamscape Festival. This was the newest and most recent installment of festivals by B.A.D.A.S.S. Raves and held at Camp Ramblewood in Darlington, MD - the same location as Nightmare Festival. It was great to return with an all new array of visual goodies for everyone. Even better because the weather was beautiful and the theme was oh so dreamy!

 My job, once again, was to create an outdoor fantasy world for patrons to walk through while moving about from stage to stage. I had a few different areas to theme - accent areas in the main stages, one enchanted forest-like path leading to camp and another open field that served as a major thoroughfare between the 2 upper stages.

In my mind i needed to create environments that made people feel as if they were in a lucid dream state. It needed to be ethereal, magical and full of light. 
Early on, I knew I wanted to make some form of an L.E.D. Rainbow tunnel for patrons to walk through. I saw a few light tunnels on Pinterest that sparked my imagination but most were incredibly complex and expensive, so we kept it simple. The task was to build something that was easy to set up and break down, was interactive and soft to the touch and also, immersed in light. 
This tunnel was 80 ft long, 18 ft wide and 10 ft tall. Composed of pvc, rebar, led strips and nylon chiffon, it stood up to wind, rain and thousands of patrons.
It ended up being a huge hit. I spent a lot of time watching people walk through and listening to them as they experienced it. Everyone loved it and for that I am grateful.
The tunnel led to an open field that is always a huge challenge. We only have a few days to set up and one truck to get it there. In my mind, I needed to create a big effect that was also easy to transport, set up and break down.  I decided to wrap the perimeter in flags that I custom made from nylon fabric and electrical conduit. These were illuminated with various lights and a projector.

 Nothing is easy of course, because with any flags, you need wind to create a lasting effect. I found that winds were good during the day but always died off at night. To combat that problem, i double poled them all, which was also challenging since the ground we were working on was full of rock. We worked through it and the install was good but that was mostly due to the centerpiece sitting in the middle - my newest and greatest so far-  the Disco Moon. 


 The total size is 8x8 ft. The core is made of wood and then covered in hundreds of blue acrylic mirror squares cut into various sizes. 
I started out by projecting an image of a crescent moon onto 2 pieces of very thin wood and then traced the image for good clean lines.
I laid the wood on the ground to make sure everything was lined up just right and then cut out using a jigsaw. Once the first side was cut, i flipped it over to trace its back. Then cut again. 
To achieve the 3dimensional, we used 12" 2x4s, screwed into the flat surfaces. 
 Now, to make this strong, it needed to have a support inside. We created a brace made from 2x4s that would be attached to the inside. This allowed us to not only attach the two halves, but also give it something to attach the entire thing to a motor, because, yes, it was going to spin, of course.
Once brace was created, it was slid into place and then screwed in multiple times. 
To finish the sides, we cut the same thin plywood into sections, allowing for the bend, and then screwed into place. 
I spray painted everything using a Rustoleum 2x coverage spray paint in the closest blue color to my acrylic. 
Now it is ready for the tedious task of mirrors.
 This is a 4x8 sheet of blue, acrylic mirror from a company called Evonik Industries. The product is Acrylite and can be purchased here: http://www.acrylite-shop.com/US/us/mirror-p20gdcfwyme/acrylite-reflections-mirror-blue-5c026-x1-ccslmratyt0~p.html
 Cutting this SUCKED. I will not lie. Even with an amazing Delta table saw, it was loud, messy and if I had to do it all over again, I would pay extra for the laser cut. But i'm glad i did it for the experience. You never know what it will do until you do it yourself. Now I know. Never again.
I cut hundreds and hundreds of squares in 2", 1.5" and 1". 

We were finishing up the last of the mirrors on site at the festival. 


The moon sat in the middle of the Lucid Sky Walk, with lighting all around. It served as a great photo op for patrons.
Overall, the moon only took a couple weeks to build. Next time you see it, it may be hanging in a ceiling spinning like a disco ball. We might have had it in the main room of the festival but there was a laser show in there so we couldn't have mirrors in the room as it would have been dangerous with the laser beams. Instead, we built a giant cloud.
The giant cloud was created the night before we opened. We were working on this until 3am which is pretty typical for deco the night before a festival. 
 It is made with electrical conduit, chicken wire, polyfil, zip ties, spray adhesive and leds.
It was 10ft wide and 4ft tall. 
It was the perfect centerpiece for above the stage and Supercal, the lighting designer, really brought it to life. 
 Of course, a festival isn't a proper festival without a welcome sign. This time, i wanted it to look as if it was floating in mid-air with elements of both nature and rave. It was made out of thin, sanded birch plywood, acrylic sheet and l.e.d.s. It was 16ft long and double sided.
Using two 4x8 ft sheets of birch and a projector, i projected the logo to scale and traced. Twice.
Using a jig saw, I spent many hours cutting the logo on each side.
Once cut, we then stained both sides in an English Chestnut.

Once the stain was dry,  I applied a couple layers of polyurethane.
 Using frosted plexiglass from Acrylite, we cut to size and glued.
 We ended up putting a layer of spandex in between the sheets of plexi as they just weren't opaque enough.
 Then we applied 2 l.e.d. strips, which gave us the gradient effect naturally.
 Using a fade program, and having the speed just slightly off, it creates a gradient

Throughout the rest of the patron paths, we created an environment full of earthly delights including these butterfly nets made by my new friend and artist - Gary Roosa. 
And of course my giant mushrooms made an appearance as they always do at a Badass Raves party. They have become a staple of these festivals and are always enjoyed. Right now we are preparing them for Big Dub Festival. If you want to see how these are made, click here for The Making of the Giant Mushrooms.


See what it took to bring this all to life through a short video i made using over 7,000 still photographs including the main stage build over a 24 hour period. Till next time!

2 comments :

  1. Rania, I always look forward to your build pictures and videos and this did not disappoint! I love the use of the fabric, led lights, flags and of course the tunnel. You could use that tunnel during Halloween! Just string it with pumpkins! Your display was truly magical! The beautiful butterflies were amazing by your new artist friend and of course the giant mushrooms! Well done girlie! You are always a great source of inspiration and creativity!

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  2. Wow Rania, hands down INCREDIBLE work! To say “surreal” doesn't do it justice. It feels like you reached into my imagination and pulled something out that I wouldn't even begin to know how to build. All the pieces you do with lights are hypnotic and the quality of the photography really shows off all the blood, sweat and tears you put into this!

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