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Need some tips on using props with arm rods and rubber bands  (Read 12740 times)
« on: March 08, 2013, 11:35:33 am »

We have muppet-type puppets and use arm rods attached via rubber bands.  This may be a very basic question but we do not know the best way to have our puppet "hold" his/her item.  Mostly, Puppet sized musical instruments.  We have intertwined the instrument with the rubber band but that appears to put too much stress on the puppet wrist.  It is also difficult to hold the instrument realistically.  How do you do it?
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2013, 01:56:54 pm »

Sometimes valcro, sometimes rubber bands for wide shots where you are likely to not see the band so much, sometimes double sided tape for very temporary things, sometimes sewing fingers around and object temporarily, using thread the color of the object and go between the tips of the fingers and the thumb pulling the thread so that the fingers wrap around the object and grasp it, and try and keep the threads facing away from camera or audience.
Chris Arveson
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2013, 03:44:30 pm »

You might attach the rod to the instrument, instead of the hand.
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2013, 02:45:15 am »

oh yes Chris, that would do great. When you attach the rod to the instrument you can attach it strongly and it will take a good deal of punishment and then the hand does not have to be so strongly attached
Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2013, 07:40:09 am »

Yep attaching the instrument to a rod was going to be my suggestion.  In fact I would attach it to a separate rod from the one working the arm. That way the puppet can pick up and put down the instrument during the performance. Takes a bit of practice by the puppeteer to hold both rods in the hand but works well. If the puppet holds the instrument during the entire performance then you could join the two rods together via a bit of velcro strip around the two that hooks into itself.
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2013, 08:24:41 am »

Agree, separate rod in instrument will take the weight off puppet hands.  Dilling a hole in a trumpet takes away the ability to actually play a tune until you plug that hole again. Usually gravity alone will hold it in place if you place it directly underneath.
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2013, 11:01:22 am »

Thanks Everyone!!! We did use a separate rod for the instrument...plastic trumpet, then slipped the trumpet into the rubber bands on the puppets hands from the arm rods.  All the puppeteer had to do was hold it up to the mouth of the puppet and they could grip all three rods at once.  Much easier!! Thanks
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2013, 09:50:17 pm »

We also put a piece of duct tape on the mouthpiece of the trumpet. Wrap it over on itself so it's about the width of the mouth piece and is long enough to fit in the puppets mouth. That way the puppet mouth closes and looks more realistic.
Chris Arveson
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2013, 12:05:45 am »

I was looking at Hansjurgen Fettig's book, "Hand and Rod Puppets" and he also suggested running a line, like fishing line, from the mouthpiece through the mouth, and down inside the body of the puppet. That way you could pull on the string from below, and it would help guide the mouthpiece directly to the puppets mouth. I thought that was pretty ingenious.
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2013, 11:46:58 am »

The trumpets we used are plastic ones so it shouldn't be difficult to fix something for the mouth.  We had a big presentation Sunday (which went great) and looking back at the video, I wished I had fixed the trumpets for their mouths but did not really think about it.  Love your ideas and will continue to use them!
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2013, 05:46:23 am »

Fishing line idea is great, I can see that one working well.
Angel in Tx
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2013, 10:23:26 am »

@Chris, that is a genius idea!!!
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2013, 10:14:12 am »

I like the fishing line idea.  I use fishing line a lot.  But wouldn't that take another person to pull the line?  Our puppeteer already has the puppet head on one hand and holding the arm rods with hands and trumpet in the other.
Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2013, 09:21:32 am »

Depending on how light the trumpet is, it may be that the puppeteer could release the rods and pull the string the with it in his hand grab the rods again.
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2013, 02:56:19 pm »

If the fishing line was tied off in the mouth and the loose end went down the trumpet rod, you could put one finger in a loop to hold to the mouth and take the finger out to let the trumpet down. all the while still holding the rod.  But if you are putting it up and down more than one time that would be more difficult to figure out. If there was a stationary place to hold or hook the end of the line securely it would be a quick motion to adjust the line to another position with maybe loops in the line at the right spaces.  Not a complete idea, maybe someone else can finish it better.
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