What Is Rigging?
Rigging might happen behind the scenes, but it has a visible impact on every moment of production. Rigging is the structural system that makes the magic happen. From lighting and dramatic curtain openings to backdrop movement and memorable stunts, a strong rigging setup ensures every production effect can happen smoothly and seamlessly.
How Does Rigging Work?
A rigging setup — commonly known as a fly system — uses a long beam, called a batten, above the stage. This batten becomes the foundation for hanging essential equipment, including lights and backdrops, that will set the scene for your production.
Quality rigging requires a complex combination of equipment to operate properly. The equipment setup typically includes rigging anchors for rope pulling systems, pulleys to lift heavy equipment and safety cables for hanging lights. A rigging structure will vary between shows, as each production has its own scope and needs. As a result, stage rigging requires a versatile range of equipment that’s ready to fit any situation that arises.
The tremendous versatility, show-stopping significance and safety hazards of rigging make it a task best left to the professionals. From installation to maintenance, rigging setups require an expert eye for detail and knowledge of safety precautions. When it comes to one of the most vital ingredients for your show’s success, why take any chances?
The right rigging is essential for supporting any performance, whether you’re giving a sermon or managing a theatrical show. With properly installed rigging, you can masterfully control the lights, backdrops and curtains throughout your show — paving the way for an unforgettable, immersive audience experience.
Types of Rigging
Stage rigging comes in two primary styles — static and motorized. Our team specializes in both rigging types. Explore the primary differences of each popular rigging style below.
1. Static Rigging
Static rigging — otherwise known as a no flying system — is a suspension rig style that stays in one location. With a static rigging design and integration, borders and legs are commonly tied to pipe hung from the roof structure, where the entire rig stays permanently during operation. Because of its unchanging position and magnitude over time, static rigging offers several benefits and drawbacks:
- Advantages: Static rigging offers a higher level of consistency, as it remains in one place throughout the entirety of the show.
- Disadvantages: The unmoving nature of a static rigging setup doesn’t lend itself to versatility. Performances with multiple set changes, dramatic stunts or multiple ambiance shifts may find themselves limited by a static rig.
2. Motorized Rigging
A motorized rigging design is fully automated. This setup uses powered winches and motorized devices to move the equipment rather than relying on manual power to get the job done. By combining the batten and motor in one unit, attached cables can move the motor and pipe together.
This design allows for several advantages, along with a few cons to consider:
- Benefits: Motorized stage rigging is the ultimate choice for moving scenery, lighting or curtains. Theaters can enjoy unmatched flexibility when transporting equipment from the stage level to the fly loft. As a result, the stage can transform with ease and efficiency.
- Drawbacks: Motorized rigging typically requires more technical operating expertise than a static rigging setup, which can be a challenge for smaller companies with staff restraints.