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Walking Across Multiple Projector Screen Effect

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Mike Husni
Walking Across Multiple Projector Screen Effect
on Aug 21, 2011 at 7:56:24 pm

I am not very experienced with projectors and have limited video editing equipment. I was interested in creating a stage effect where a character could walk across multiple projection screens (at minimum 3, at max 7). Essentially, I want audiences to see a character walk on from the far left screen and walk all the way over to the far right screen. I looked at some postings that suggested things like make a super wide video, but I do not know what software to use to make this happen, nor do I know how to display this. I'm just trying to decide if this effect is going to be worthwhile/possible in an auditorium space. Any help you can offer would be really great! Thank you!


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Matt Geiser
Re: Walking Across Multiple Projector Screen Effect
on Aug 22, 2011 at 1:02:32 am

I've accomplished this before by having the editor render out the individual screens from an oversized comp and then sync rolled them back on a Pro Video Player system. I've done 5 screens this way with no troubles.

Matt


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Walter Soyka
Re: Walking Across Multiple Projector Screen Effect
on Aug 22, 2011 at 11:53:13 am

[Mike Husni] "Essentially, I want audiences to see a character walk on from the far left screen and walk all the way over to the far right screen. I looked at some postings that suggested things like make a super wide video, but I do not know what software to use to make this happen, nor do I know how to display this. I'm just trying to decide if this effect is going to be worthwhile/possible in an auditorium space."

Since your question encompasses many smaller questions, it's going to be hard to answer neatly in a web forum. The effect is certainly possible, but whether its worthwhile will depend on your familiarity with the tools you'll need and the budget you have for engineering a solution.

You could use VTR/DDR sync rolls to play multiple videos together over multiple projectors. In this case, Adobe After Effects is probably the first and best choice for creating effects like this with arbitrary frame sizes. If AE isn't your thing, you could also accomplish this specific effect with careful editorial in your NLE of choice.

You could both create and play the effect in a system like Dataton WATCHOUT or a network of media servers.

I hope this is at least a helpful start -- if anything here raises more questions for you, please ask.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Thomas Leong
Re: Walking Across Multiple Projector Screen Effect
on Aug 23, 2011 at 2:25:46 pm

Just an idea:
Have the 'walker' on one of those walking exercise machines, green-screened and keyed - or canned into a video file - and sent to a projector which projects onto a small mirror (8"x8" will do nicely; probably 3-piece triangular for stability and easier mounting) mounted on a turn-table (slowed via belts and pulleys to an appropriate speed, or have someone build a small motor system for you with a variable speed controller). As the mirror swivels, the projected image of the 'walker' on it will 'walk' across the width of the screen. Experiment with angles, projection distance and lens to be used in order to -
1. achieve a realistically sized image of a person on screen; and
2. avoid the projected image varying too much in size as it traverses the width of the screen.
The 'moving walker' is then keyed over the wide-screen background.

As for the wide-screen projected background, if you are not into this, suggest you get a pro to handle it for you. Else try-out VJ software like Module8, Resolume, Archaos, vvvv, and the like depending on which OS platform you use. They all can do wide-screen projection relatively cheaply.



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Walter Soyka
Re: Walking Across Multiple Projector Screen Effect
on Aug 24, 2011 at 3:45:06 pm

Clever approach. One note on doing this with a projector and mirror (or with DL.3s) is that light is additive; you couldn't, for example, project a black shadow onto a lighter background.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Thomas Leong
Re: Walking Across Multiple Projector Screen Effect
on Aug 24, 2011 at 4:02:15 pm

Noted. Used to do it with masked 35mm slides (car, plane, boat and kite), but like you said, it was additive.
If the parts of the background were kept dark enough, the 'transparency' is not so apparent - examples are alleyway, high angle downwards to a night street view, dark trees and lots of shadows in the background, etc.



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Mark Suszko
Re: Walking Across Multiple Projector Screen Effect
on Aug 25, 2011 at 2:33:08 pm

Doesn't this sound like a job for the Matrox triple-head playback card, feeding three projectors from a single extra-wide composition done in AfterEffects or Apple Motion, played out of a mac tower PC?


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Walter Soyka
Re: Walking Across Multiple Projector Screen Effect
on Aug 25, 2011 at 2:42:36 pm

[Mark Suszko] "Doesn't this sound like a job for the Matrox triple-head playback card, feeding three projectors from a single extra-wide composition done in AfterEffects or Apple Motion, played out of a mac tower PC?"

For three screens, sure, but for seven screens -- no. We don't really have enough information to make a solid suggestion for such wide-ranging scenarios.

Getting back to Mike's original post (where he says he's not sure how to create nor display this), I'd give this advice: start at the end (display) and work backwards to the beginning (content creation). Start with the creative requirements and budget, then determine the physical screen configuration, then playback, then finally content design.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Tom Sefton
Re: Walking Across Multiple Projector Screen Effect
on Sep 5, 2011 at 2:45:02 pm

have a look at wotbox products. They produce an interesting video store that can be edge blended and controlled by a master show controller. Either way this technique won't be acheivable without a good budget.

PS - Thomas - love the ingenuity of your idea. Its almost like a Pepper's Ghost video effect that we are working on at the moment!


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Thomas Leong
Re: Walking Across Multiple Projector Screen Effect
on Sep 5, 2011 at 8:13:43 pm

Yes, wotboxltd has some interesting and useful products.

Ah...Pepper's Ghost, my favourite subject (and biggest headache/challenge). Problems I've encountered were :
- Video black is not black;
- Balancing and gobo'ing the set lights to 'eliminate' the bevel edges of the LCD TV monitor we used for the video; and
- on-site color correction to the video which had a tint due to the reflecting glass used.

Hope you have less problems in your project!



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