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Spring 2017 Newsletter

Drago’s Castle—Immersive Adventures Now Entertaining the East Coast

Drago’s Castle—Immersive Adventures Now Entertaining the East Coast

Chicago Scenic Studios recently worked with Massachusetts-based, live-action entertainment firm 5 Wits Production, Inc. to help build castles for two of their 1,200-square-foot hands-on adventure experiences.

“This was a really great work collaboration,” said Doug Pokorny, project manager for Chicago Scenic. “Being engineers, the 5 Wits production team knew exactly how they wanted the castle built. They had very specific requirements to integrate mechanical and special effects. On the other hand, they were very receptive to our suggestions regarding construction and implementation.”

Pokorny added that, just like a puzzle, the project was challenging, but in a good way. Since the 5 Wits team had such specific specifications on the materials and construction techniques they wanted, the Chicago Scenic team approached the projects in a different way than we might otherwise have done. This, in turn, led to new and innovative ideas on how to produce this project and expanded Chicago Scenic's fabrication versatility, Pokorny added.

Under the design leadership of 5 Wits, Chicago Scenic built the scenery for their attraction’s three major rooms—the Bell Tower, Dungeon, and Throne Room—as well as a crawl space; the Library entryway; and select props. Special build treatments for the rooms included faux-brick walls, engineered wood beams, and a steel tube grid to support the ceiling. The two Drago’s Castle immersive adventures Chicago Scenic helped produce are now entertaining audiences in Albany and Buffalo, New York.

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Chicago Voices Concert

Chicago Voices Concert

The First Annual Chicago Voices Concert recently took place at the Civic Opera House in Chicago’s Ardis Krainik Theatre.

The sold-out event brought together both local and global celebrities and was billed as ‘A celebration of vocal music and its place in Chicago’s rich cultural history’.

Chicago Scenic Studios was commissioned to design and build the five paneled backdrops and floor staging for the event. Chicago Scenic hired scenic designer Terry McClellan, who has collaborated with Chicago Scenic on other projects including the Ford NAIAS press reveal stages. The first plan however, was not to build a set.

“Originally, we talked with the Lyric about renting stage pieces, but as the conversation went on, the decision was made to design and create a custom set,” said Stefan Koniarz, project manager for Chicago Scenic.

In making the decision to build pieces instead of renting, Chicago Scenic was able to give Chicago Voices a more custom and versatile look. The five paneled backdrops were made of a semi translucent plastic that could be both back and front lit with different colored lights. By using this special plastic, it was possible to change the mood and the lighting, without the need to move around large set pieces.

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‘Bracket Genius’ Game Show Airs

‘Bracket Genius’ Game Show Airs

Chicago Scenic Studios was able to get in on the March basketball hype this year by designing and building the broadcast set for InterSport’s new game show, “Bracket Genius”.

The show featured 16 three-player teams from different colleges and universities that were also participating in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Using a bracket elimination style, teams answered random trivia questions to score the most points and move on to the next round of games.

Chicago Scenic worked with Designer Amy Jackson, who has worked with Chicago Scenic on the Steve Harvey Show and Oprah, to build the 1,200-square-foot, 13-piece set. According to Project Manager Angelo Petratos, the set was designed to expand as the show grows.

In addition to scenery, Chicago Scenic was responsible for programming the show’s gaming systems. That programming enabled InterSport staff members to control the contestants’ ability to use their buzzers in between takes, so if contestants were fidgeting with their buzzers, they wouldn’t go off and need to be reset during the show.

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Ford Press Reveal at NAIAS 2017

Ford Press Reveal at NAIAS 2017

This past January, Chicago Scenic Studios completed its sixth press event with Gail & Rice for Ford Motor Company at the North American International Auto Show.

Chicago Scenic had just one-and-a-half days to get the stage loaded in and built in to the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan.

“We had a very small window to complete the build in order for the other elements of the stage to go up—lighting, projector screen, seating—and still give time for tech rehearsals.” said Stefan Koniarz, project manager for Chicago Scenic.

Despite the small build window, a crew of 40 worked tirelessly to build the LED surround 90-foot wide x 46-foot tall, masking flats 24-foot wide x 46-foot tall, and a deck in plan 68-foot wide x 32-foot deep. There were also two ramps that ramped from 24-inches to 0-inches to allow access for the vehicles.

The stage in total weighed in at over 10,000 Ibs., 4,500 lbs. of which was the backdrop. The crew later discovered that the weight of the backdrop also matched the weight of the projection screen used for the show.

After six days of labor intense work to complete the rest of the staging elements, and a full day of press events and presentations, the crew worked overnight to tear down the stage in order to make room for another event happening the next day.

In addition to the Press Reveal, Ford held presentations on the stage throughout the day including TED Talk: The Future of Mobility, The New York Times: City of Tomorrow—The Mayor’s Perspective, and VICE Media: Living and Working in the City of Tomorrow.

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Setting the Stage for Culver's Reunion

Setting the Stage for Culver's Reunion

Culver’s franchise owners and suppliers gather on an annual basis for the Culver’s Reunion.

This year they came together in Chicago at the Sheraton Grand Chicago, and Chicago Scenic Studios was there to build and install the set for them.

Designed by The Patrick Group, Ltd., the 1,000-square-foot heart-shaped stage set the theme for this year’s meeting, “It Starts with Heart”. The 720-square-foot heart-shaped backing flats surrounded a 128-square-foot custom design logo for the reunion, as well as five photo frame graphics of Culver’s employees.

According to Project Manager Doug Peer, the photo graphics needed to be removable for the second day of the reunion. Chicago Scenic installed pinch pleat clips on the frames to make it easy to hang and remove the graphics and avoid damage to the set.

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Opening in May—American Writers Museum

Opening in May—American Writers Museum

A national museum celebrating American writers is opening in Chicago on May 16! See photos and get the inside story of the project in our next issue. Here’s what the press is already saying about the museum:

SMITHSONIAN.COM

A new home for celebrating American literary titans, titles and traditions takes root in Chicago With the inauguration of this museum, [founder Malcolm E.] O’Hagan and his associates have taken an important step toward ensuring that writers remain an important and influential part of the American experience for years to come. Read more @ smithsonianmag.com/artsculture/new-american-writers-museum

LONELY PLANET

American literary titans, titles and traditions takes root in Chicago Chronicling the American experience is a national obsession. The new American Writers Museum (americanwritersmuseum.org) offers a look into how the literature of the USA has documented and influenced the culture of the nation. Located in Chicago, the mission of this museum is to engage the public with the profound ways writers have shaped the way America sees itself. Read more @ ria.wa.gov.au/Articles/latestnews/Lonely-Planet-Names-2017s-Top-New-Opening

ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST

Design Lovers Will Be Visiting These 5 Places This May: The American Writers Museum is set to open May 16 in the heart of Chicago, just steps from Millennium Park. The first of its kind in the U.S., the museum will have permanent and rotating exhibits showcasing the work of American writers, interactive games, and artifacts from writers’ homes. Read more @ architecturaldigest.com/story/may-2017-design-destinationstravel-guide

Founder: Malcolm O’Hagan
Inaugural President: Carey Cranston
Designer: Andrew Anway, Amaze Design
Fabricator: Chicago Scenic Studios, Inc.

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Exciting news...we're on the move!

Exciting news...we're on the move!

​Early this summer, Chicago Scenic will be moving to a new location in Chicago.

While we’re still working on the exact date, our new address will be 955 W. Cermak, Chicago, IL 60608.

Our phone number, 312.274.9900, will remain the same. Starting in early June, keep up with our progress, see photos ofthe space, read about exciting plans underway, and participate in our trivia contest (and win fabulous prizes!).

Visit our website at chicagoscenic.com and our Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn pages often!

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