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We are a bit behind on cutting our blog films (thankfully cuz of a back log of work) but we finally had a day to sit down and start to catch up.

This is a short on the building of our cyc wall here in our new studio.

Day three is done, and we are almost there…

The plasterers spend the day in the studio and did there thing.

I am a pretty stubborn guy, and love (really insist a lot of the time) at doing most of my own work.  I love to do everything.  Framing, windows, sheathing, electrical, plumbing… whatever.  If it involves building, I love to have a hand in it.  The fact is that (in my mind) anything that has to do with building is fair game to me.  I have (a stupid) desire to do it all.

But… The one thing that I learned a long time ago that is worth having a pro do is plaster work.  It is truly an amazing art that takes a special skill.  A good plasterer can work so fast, so efficiently, and do such an amazing job, that it’s not worth ones time to try to do.  Two guys, in one day, did what would have taken me three days.  (and my job would have been just ok.)

At any rate… The job is done, and it looks perfect.  Next step will be to do a light sand, hit the transition from the floor to the start of the swoop with thinset mortor, prime the wall, paint the wall,  and then a last coat of floor paint.

God willing and the creek don’t rise, we will be shooting on the wall next week!

Cyc at the end of day 2

The saga continues…

The cyc wall is really coming together, and it’s pretty exciting to think we will no longer have to travel to shoot in the studio.

Day 2 was all about the swoop, and although a bit frustrating at times, the build was really rewarding.

We first started with the ribs which were all cut out on a CNC machine by Mystic Scenic in Norwood MA.  It really was the right decision to have Mystic (thank you Eric!) design the wall.  Once we started building, it was clear just how much time was saved having the ribs pre-cut.

48 ribs pre-cut from Mystic Scenic

Ribs are painted with a fire-retardant paint

We dry-fit the ribs against the metal studs just to make sure we had enough, as well as ensuring all the mathamatatics were perfect.  Once we knew everything was going to work, we anchored down a 2×4 to the floor so we could key the ribs.

Keying the ribs

Once this was done, it was just a matter of screwing the ribs to the studs, and then doubling up the ribs every eight feet in order to lap the wacky wood.

From here, we inset the stringers 90 degrees to the ribs to give added support to the face of the swoop.

Stringers across the ribs

One interesting thing to look at is how the ribs on the two walls are attached.

The ribs on the long wall were going to sit flush against an existing wall which would cause the wacky wood (for the swoop) to leave a gap the width of the wacky wood (.25″)  Not that big of a deal… This gap will be filled with plaster.

The short wall is easier and is done slightly differently.  For these ribs, I had Mystic add three extra inches to the vertical side.  Since the short wall had no drywall on it yet, the extra material would allow the ribs to go into the open wall and be screwed to the existing studs.  This basically allows the wacky wood to run right up flush to the drywall making for a seamless transition that needs only a small amount of plaster.

Along with having Mystic Scenic design the plans and pre-cut the ribs, I also had them send over one of their master carpenters to lend a hand.   While I was tackling the ribs and stringers, Harold (from Mystic) kicked into high gear and went to town on the hardest part of the wall… The center compound curve.

Harold rockin out with the mesh and his grinder

This is basically done the same way as the straight wall, but with a bit more math and a lot more parts.  In order to get it just perfect, we used mesh stapled to the ribs.    Once it was all secure, we would call in the plasterers and let them hit it.

Center compound curve

Once the corner mesh was set, it was all about the wacky wood.  A bit of glue on the ribs, and then down went the wacky wood.

Plasterers swing by to prep the job for plaster

For the cherry on top, the plasterers stopped by to check out the work and tape the seams in preparation for an early start.  I cant wait till I can start painting!

All in all, it was an insanely productive day.  I was wiped, but satisfied that we did a great job and didnt cut any corners (literally)

Beginnings of cyc wall looking down from upstairs office

It’s been one hell of a crazy week here I have to say…  We got back from the West Coast on the Fri eve red-eye only to continue to get kicked to the curb with too much to do.  (not complaining mind you, just wiped)

Weekend shoots, followed by rush turn-around times for processing jobs quickly turned into This Old House at The Bunker.  I wish we had a bit more time, but we are all at battle stations in prep for three big ad campaigns we are shooting in June and in July, two of which are catalogue jobs and will be shot here in The Bunker.

This week is Cyc week, and I’m beyond pumped.  Our cyc (cyclorama, or infinity wall) won’t be the biggest in the world, but it will be more than big enough for anything that we will shoot.  It’s a two wall cyc with a 3×4 curve to the floor.  The long end is 26′, and the short 17′.

In order to best use space, I built two rooms into the back of the wall.  One will be a make-up room, and the other a changing room for models.

First wall goes up

Because we are in a commercial space, we have to pay particular attention to fire codes, which means we can not use stick framing (wood.)   This is actually very easy and goes up quickly.  I built each wall on the floor ensuring it was plumb, and then raised it to position.  The good thing about the changing room and the make-up room is that it really will give the cyc wall some stability.

Looking thru the changing room to the shoot space

The next step was to start thinking about the ribs for the floor to wall transition.

We are going to use 48 vertical ribs with stringers inset in the face.  The covering will be Wacky Wood and will be screwed to the ribs and stringers.   After that, the face will get a nice coat of plaster to smooth it all out.

Since the long and short wall are a bit different (long is closed, short is open) the ribs will attach in a slightly different manner.  On the long wall, I screwed sister-studs directly to the wall.  The ribs will screw to these.  On the short wall  added a 2″ tongue to the vertical part of the rib.  This will inset into the wall and be screwed to the metal stud directly into the open frame wall.  (I will post photos when I do it.)  The net net is basically a savings on time as well as material.

Installing sister-studs for the cyc ribs on the long wall

Once the walls were up, I started in on the drywall.  They have a really cool new product out called “lightweight” sheet rock.  (very cool) As soon as I saw it, I grabbed it.  Made moving it around much easier.

Make-up and changing rooms

Tomorrow we tackle the swoop….  It should be a long-ass day, but hopefuly we can tackle it in less than 14hrs…  Stay tuned!

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