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How are shadows formed?

February 26, 2019

Three years ago we began to receive letters with the question: how are shadows formed. Both from teachers at school, and for students preparing for a competition. We answered in detail everyone, except those who asked how is shadow formed at home. Because we are professionals in part of the stage performing. And then we decided to write a full detailed article about shadow movie.

How are shadows formed? It’s very simple!! You need screen, light, props, and actors (preferably with basic physical level). Now details. We’ll share our experiences on how to make shadow theatre on the stage.

how shadow is formed

Can a shadow be formed without a screen?

The easiest way it’s to use a white sheet and a torch of a mobile phone. We stretched the fabric with two wooden beams on tripods and tied them to the supports. Later we buy a frame of 5m × 3m. It was designed especially for screen sizes.
Then we replaced sheet on a white banner so that there was no light point in the middle. Also, you can use a medium density tarpaulin.
But be careful, increasing the density of the fabric, you need to increase the power of light. Read more about it below.
Now we use a screen of rare projection, its cost much higher than the above options.

Hand shadows at home

Firstly, we will demonstrate the Hand shadows. This performance can be easily recreated with your child. Shadow show at home is easy, especially animal figures. In the video you can see how the artist throws off his hands, making the shadow of a dog and pig. We pass to the practical part. By the way, this performance of the Verba Shadow Show was shown on tour of the Balagan circus in Israel.

Light for shadow theatre

Which light to use best? A rather powerful light source is a spotlight. But be sure to check whether it hasn’t a double or blurred shadow. One more minus is only one color of the spotlight. If you want to revive the shadow and add colors – it’s definitely a projector.
You can use additional pictures on the background or animation. But again, be prepared that good professional animation is expensive.

how shadow is formed


Of course, it all depends on the set topic of performance. Try to use a minimum of props, but more human bodies and authoring solutions. In order to save your backstage from a lot of “rubbish”. You can use both cardboard and things from everyday life. Now we also use plastic for individual parts. But for one-time performance cardboard is a great solution.

how shadow is formed


Of course, any person can try himself in the shadow theatre and how to make a shadow. But, it’s no secret that the dancer or acrobat will look more professional in the shadow. By the way, it’s a myth that if you’re behind the screen, you can hide something. You are really like the palm of your hand.
Plus physical training is needed in order to be stable in the figure. Not to mention acrobatic or dance elements. We basically work in the genre of shadow theatre. And know all about how to make shadows with humans bodies. Therefore, we pay a lot of attention to it. It is also necessary to develop an actor’s skills. But remember, creating a shadow show without the ability to express emotion with the help of body – it is impossible. Therefore, we advise you to plunge a bit into the basics of the plastic theater and pantomime.

And in general, important is your creativity and fantasy. Of course, you can copy any shadow shapes from Verba shadow’s video. But to invent it is always more interesting and fun.
Therefore, give freedom for your Shadow! Create together!

We hope that we have answered the main question, namely, how is shadow formed.