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Rose Brand Motion Control Products

Jim Hutchison • November 2019Product Spotlight • November 9, 2019

For decades, Rose Brand had focused predominantly on soft goods for the entertainment and event industries. However, over many years, its organic growth has expanded that focus to include technical products, services and solutions, all of it an outgrowth of its fabric heritage. In general, if it touches the fabric, Rose Brand does it. Today’s industry professionals require more and more from everything purchased. The market requires products with a bevy of features, all that allow for several methods of deployment of that product for a wide variety of applications. The reality is that there is an expected wow factor needed on today’s shows that is quickly increasing in intensity. Scenic products, motion control systems, even relatively simple products like a Kabuki drop system are critical pieces of gear in productions, and they have got to be solid, both in construction and reliability. If it moves, can it be triggered from a variety of signals, or a dedicated controller? Is the product variable speed? Is it easily assembled and installed by a minimum amount of people, and can it handle the rigors of the road? These challenges apply to everyone. Rose Brand is and has been known for making magic, and their product and service offerings are immense.

‡‡         Rising to the Challenges

Rose Brand Vice President Peter Finder says, “We occupy a unique position in the industry. We’re good at designing uniquely affordable solutions to customers’ technical challenges. The solutions are often the difference between doing a project and not doing it, because it would otherwise be impractical.”

When it’s soft goods time at the load-in, the odds are pretty good that the goods are Rose Brand. But whether you’re hanging the tabs in arenas across the seats at an angle to border the stage, pulling drops out of their hampers to hang in a theatre on line sets, or you’re running a border on a piece of truss, it has to hang on something. It makes perfect strategic sense for a master manufacturer like Rose Brand to provide not only the fabric, but also the hardware that supports and moves it — an idea that ostensibly gives you a complete system in an easily installed package.

A particular interest of the Rose Brand group is the area of Motion Control. They have the products, strategy, design, and implementation services to make impractical projects hindered by budget limitations now entirely feasible. Good examples include recent projects done for the 2019 Hootie & the Blowfish tour and the Nick Cave art installation at the Park Avenue Armory in NYC, two artists using two completely separate applications of Rose Brand technology for successful results. The two products highlighted here are the T-Lift 2.0 Automated Curtain (for Hootie & the Blowfish) and the ERail track system (for Nick Cave’s installation) with a large selection of options, accessories, and customization.

The opening curtain reveal of the band

‡‡         Hootie & the Blowfish

The Hootie & the Blowfish project involved multiple Rose Brand divisions (Rose Brand, ADC and Printhead Studios) working in tandem to accomplish a client challenge. The band members were planning a 44-city North American tour and wanted a dramatic reveal at the outset of its concerts, using a curtain lift mechanism. They were also interested in the fastest possible load-in and load-out of any gear involved to save on labor costs. (Along with 47 shows in North America, the 2019 Group Therapy tour included seven more stops in the U.K. and Europe last month, for a total of 54 shows in all.)

Ordinarily, technical directors for a multi-city tour would avoid anything involving multiple lift lines and moving cables, due to system complexity and expense. However, the Rose Brand ADC division offered their new T-Lift 2.0 automated curtain lift system to make the solution surprisingly practical.

“The ADC T-Lift 2.0 patent pending system is the easiest and fastest automated curtain lift system on the market,” says ADC general manager Kevin O’Grady. “It comes ready-to-rig in modular truss sections, so it requires very little instruction and supervision, and the system can shorten curtain load-in time from numerous hours to as little as 20 minutes.”

T-Lift 2-0’s innovative self-aligning shaft

Features of the T-Lift include a self-aligning shaft that enables installers to just bolt the truss sections together, as well as “Quick Connect” lift lines that attach to the drums in seconds. “Just leave the lift lines rigged into the curtain between tour stops to save time when reinstalling,” says O’Grady. “The time, labor, and transportation savings are significant across a multiple-city tour — the system enables production to utilize a complex curtain reveal and deploy it within their uncompromising tour schedule.”

Flat nylon lines replace metal for a quiet, safe system

The lift-lines for three independent curtain mechanisms are operated by four motors and a single controller that easily lifts and positions the drapes, to within hundredths of an inch. The system “remembers” its last position and comes pre-packaged in “third-pack” modules for touring.

For Hootie & the Blowfish, T-Lift 2.0 controlled logo curtains that Rose Brand and its Printhead Studio division sewed, printed, and painted. UV light sensitive paints were used, displaying the band logo in bright, glowing colors. As the band began to play, the high-speed curtain mechanism dramatically raised the curtain to reveal the musicians on stage, causing the crowd to erupt with wild cheers.

Nick Cave’s Park Avenue Armory show, with ERail curtain track

‡‡         Nick Cave Art Installation

On the complete opposite end of the production spectrum, the Nick Cave art installation at Park Avenue Armory also involved an innovative motion control system and the manufacture of custom designed curtains. Unlike the Hootie & the Blowfish project, the curtains for Nick Cave needed to move horizontally.

The technical challenge involved slowly and smoothly moving a massive 300-foot-wide rain curtain, in a continuous loop, along a compound curved track. Six motors needed to be in perfect sync while under constant load changes to avoid bunching up the curtain as it travelled along 800 feet of serpentine ERail track.

The curved ERail track for Nick Cave’s Park Avenue Armory show gets installed

“That’s no easy feat to begin with, but we were also able to meet the significant budget limitations for the project as well,” explains Rose Brand director of technical solutions Mark O’Brien.

Along with the complex curved track, Rose Brand also manufactured the large-scale multi-layered rain curtain itself for the exhibit, which served at times a magnificent work of performance art and at other times an immersive, interactive, artful visitor playground. Performers and visitors danced to music, in and out of the curtain, as it swished around the track. Rose Brand’s Technical Services Department handled installation of the exhibit as well.

For more information on the ERail curtain system, the T-Lift 2.0 and other Rose Brand products, visit www.rosebrand.com.

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