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How To Light A Sharkstooth Scrim (Part 3)

Updated: Aug 31, 2022

For more information on lighting a scrim check out our following blog posts:

Here is the third article in our series on “How To Light A Scrim.” This article is derived from questions most frequently fielded by our salespeople at Rose Brand.

Does it matter in which direction the “tooth,” or opening in the scrim, is oriented?

Vertical tooth alignment (top) Horizontal tooth alignment (bottom)

In the vertical tooth alignment, the tooth is about twice as high as it is wide. Vertical, in fact, is the more common orientation when sewing the scrim. The properties of the scrim, however, are not affected if the tooth is rotated. In fact, this may be done to save a user money and more efficiently use the available widths of scrim in stock.

Another common reason for rotating a scrim is to combat the moiré effect: this is caused when holes of the same size are lined up with one another, causing a wavy, blurring look to whatever is seen through the scrim. This effect can cause discomfort to audiences and should be avoided. This can be done by rotating one of the scrims to ensure that the “teeth” do not line up. Trying to maintain at least 6' between scrims will also minimize this effect.

What side of the scrim should face the audience?

When you feel a sharkstooth scrim, one side is fairly smooth, while the other has more texture (where the threads pass over one another). While it does not appreciably affect the use of the scrim, more texture gives the light more surface area to hit and is slightly more visible to the audience. We generally place the textured side towards the audience.

Can you project onto sharkstooth scrim?

The left half of this image has an opaque black drape directly behind the scrim to highlight the potential projection quality of the scrim.  However, when the opaque background is removed (on the right side of the picture) notice the quality degradation and the unavoidable spill.

Short answer: yes, but you may not want to do so. Since scrim is a series of holes tied together, it wants to be lit at an extreme angle. If you project images onto it, you will want to use a fairly direct, flat angle, which means much of the image will continue through the scrim and strike whatever is behind. The image on the scrim itself will be degraded, both by the secondary reflection from behind the scrim and by the low quality of the surface. The image will be recognizable but not of high quality. That said, projecting “patterns” or “abstractions” onto a scrim are often very effective, especially as the secondary reflection may provide additional depth and dimension.

Please see our Scrim Fabrics for a broad selection of products in varying widths, composition, and colors.

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