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This can't be THAT difficult!!!

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Dionne Knapp
This can't be THAT difficult!!!
on Jan 28, 2008 at 9:18:48 pm


I have been doing an interactive "movie set" at local elementary schools for almost a year. The presentation has gotten pretty popular and i have schools calling me all the time now.
Last week a Junior High School called and begged me to do it for thier 7th & 8th grade classes.
I usually only do elementary and the kids get to "act" in a scene fron a pirate movie I wrote just for the presentation.

My 11 year old daughter and I agreed that Junior High Schoolers may find "Pirates" too "babyish". I decided I would have them "Film" a "Mucic Video " instead.

To make it look more authentic, I want to have a scenic background on the set. This is because the Cameras are connected to a big screen TV so the students and "Director" can see what the "Cameraman" sees.

The problem is, those large Muslim Scenic Backgrounds for film and theatre are EXPENSIVE!!! Like THOUSANDS of dollars!

I remember taking my kids to Chuck-E-Cheese pizza and they had a video camera with a "Green Screen". When the kids got in front of the camera and danced around, you could see the on the TV above- only with a different background!

I keep asking my friends how they do that but of course, they don't know.

Does anyone here know how I can ackomplish that same effect? I have the chroma screen and camera of course but what else do I need? A laptop? If so, what kid of software and cables and how do I connect everything?

Im sure its MUCH cheaper that buying or renting a cloth backdrop!

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Bill Davis
Re: This can't be THAT difficult!!!
on Jan 31, 2008 at 6:30:14 am

The cheapest thing would probably be to find a used video mixer that does chroma key.

Then you don't need a computer at all.

Panasonic made a few, including the MX-12 and MX-50.

The cheapest I recall that does chroma keying was the Videonics MX-1 - it's more a toy than a piece of real production gear - but it works just fine and since this is just for school fun, that's not really an issue.

Feed the main camera with the kids in front of the green screen - point a second camera at the background photo (or use a cheap digital still camera playing the background - anything that generates a still frame signal to a a standard video connection will do), call up the keyer, and click the X on the green part of the key shot and that's about it.

Flat even lighting on the green screen will help.

Pretty basic. Pretty cheap.

Look for the hardware on eBay and good luck.

FCP since NAB 1999
creator: muti-track movies

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