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Craig Alan
best projector for projected back grounds
on Apr 5, 2016 at 6:21:55 pm

working on production where we will be using projected stills as a green screen alternative.
so far the problem is the blown up stills will show their pixels when reshot on video or other stills.

the projector:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=745432&gclid=CLjpgoW...

the stills are shot with a canon 5d shot raw edited in aperture and exported in full resolution

fed to the projector using an older macbook pro with mini display adapter to VGA but the VGA input on the projector says RGB IN. The projector works pretty well for films but seems a bit washed out for stills and like i said you can see the individual pixels when filling the center of the CYC wall enough to get wide shots.

Would a better graphic card like in a new iMac i7 with the AMD Radeon R9 M395X with 4GB video memory make a difference?

I was actually thinking of getting a film camera that uses the same set of lenses as the 5D and wheel out my old kodak slide projector for this purpose.

But thought I'd check here for advice cause I know lots of productions use digital projections for back grounds.

this might be the wrong forum, open to suggestions, but we're all generalists now, I think.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Blaise Douros
Re: best projector for projected back grounds
on Apr 6, 2016 at 12:07:05 am

It all comes down to the resolution of the projector, which is frankly way too low for the application. 1280x800 is just too low for a really large projection. Pretend you were printing it--would you send a file to the printer for a 12-foot billboard if it was only 1280x800? No way. That's exactly the problem here--the resolution of your source image could be 15 gazillion megapixels, but the projector can only display 1280x800.

So, you have two options: rent a 4K projector, or go the film route. Or of course, option three, just greenscreen it for real!


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Craig Alan
Re: best projector for projected back grounds
on Apr 6, 2016 at 1:16:19 am

Thanks Blaise. So none of the affordable projectors would be adequate to the task? The prices I see for 4k are all over the lap from under $10,000 to well over $100,000. The difference being the Lumens count and the lenses. I had two reasons I was looking for a projection rather than green screen. One is you can compose your shot knowing what the background looks like rather than adjusting it in post and second I was experimenting with using the projection as a light source. It also sets the talent in the world of the projection.

I'm going to bring in my old kodak film projector and some old slides and see what its capable of. If it does the trick I'll think about using my old minolta or maybe buy a Canon that uses the same EF lenses as the 5D.

They are selling used for really low prices.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Blaise Douros
Re: best projector for projected back grounds
on Apr 6, 2016 at 3:19:28 pm

I don't think you're going to get the kind of results you want out of a cheap projector; you need a lot of resolution and brightness, and those both cost money! When they did this for the movie Oblivion, they used 19 projectors! Granted, it was a really big set, but still.





The slide projector would probably be the cheapest option resolution-wise, although it would involve the highest ration of results-to-pain-in-the-ass. It probably isn't that bright, too, so it might only work for dark scenes.

Have you looked at renting a 4K projector? There's no way it's THAT expensive just to rent one.


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Bill Davis
Re: best projector for projected back grounds
on Apr 7, 2016 at 5:12:43 am

I played around a couple of years ago with doing stills with a projected foreground/background - but never video.

With a decent still camera, the superior light capture of a fast lens can get decent results, but not sure video would work as well.

I used the technique for publicity shots with a friend of my son's who is a local artist - and we DID manage to balance the projection with the subject lighting as this detail from one of our shots indicates.



I shot it on a 5dMkII using a simple 800 lumen Sharp projector, so you should get more punch at 2100 lumens.

The wildcard is how sensitive your camera will be at video frame rates.

It was a fun little weekend project.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Claude Lyneis
Re: best projector for projected back grounds
on Apr 7, 2016 at 7:16:53 am

VGA is awful. A lot of the projectors can work with HDMI off of a mac and that is much better. Not to Hollywood standards but a big improvement on VGA.


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Craig Alan
Re: best projector for projected back grounds
on Apr 7, 2016 at 10:18:57 am

Thanks Claude, what did you use to get stills out HDMI? I can get video out using a black magic breakout box (thunderbolt out the mac) but it only works with video. I asked black magic when I first set it up and was editing with aperture and a broadcast monitor but they weren't interested.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Blaise Douros
Re: best projector for projected back grounds
on Apr 7, 2016 at 7:33:05 pm

It really, truly, seriously, for real, for sure, absolutely, positively doesn't matter how you connect to this projector, or how good the source material is. The projector's resolution isn't high enough for you to use it for a large image. The projector has 1280x800 pixels, so roughly a 720P HD display. Imagine taking a 720P TV and blowing it up to the size of a background, at 12 feet wide. You don't gain any resolution by making it larger; there are not extra pixels between the existing ones that suddenly appear when you project the image on a 12-foot screen. You're just making the existing pixels larger.

720P video (1280x720) is about a 1 megapixel image. Zoom in on a 1 megapixel image, and you see pixels almost immediately. So a projector that outputs 1280x800 is roughly a 1.1 megapixel projector.


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Craig Alan
Re: best projector for projected back grounds
on Apr 7, 2016 at 10:59:57 am

Cool shot, Bill. If I put the projector close to the subject and or B.G. then the resolution of the projector obviously plays better. It's when I try project onto a large portion of the CYC that I start to notice the lines and little boxes of pixels. Here you have a little spill on the B.G. but mostly on the subject. How far about was your cam from the subject and then how far from the subject was the b.g.? Here the b.g. is mostly black so I assume the projector was close to subject and subject far from B.G.? And then did you use another light on talent? Or the projector was the only light source?

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Bill Davis
Re: best projector for projected back grounds
on Apr 7, 2016 at 8:57:52 pm

The talent is lit separately.

Then the strength of the projector image relative to THAT follows the inverse square principal. So it can be moved closer or farther from the subject to increase or decrease the relative brightness of the projected image.

It's a balance of elements like all lighting compositions.

The strength of the projector is just one element in the mix.

Also the size and nature of the projected image. The image on her face is just small part of the projected frame. It's relative size and effect is totally related to the composition of the image. If the image I wanted on her face had been larger, I would have needed to be closer, and drop the value of the projection to get the same exposure.

Right there is the ENTIRE reason to test this stuff relentlessly. A strong projector solves some things, but can just as easily make other things worse. What matters (in my thinking at least) is understanding the balance of the various elements. For me, the fun is in the experimenting.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Craig Alan
Re: best projector for projected back grounds
on Apr 7, 2016 at 11:43:17 pm

[Bill Davis] "inverse square principal. So it can be moved closer or farther from the subject to increase or decrease the relative brightness of the projected image. "

I am concerned here with two other factors, other than brightness. One is the width of the projected image - I'm trying to get a wide image, a landscape to place my talent in. And my other concern is the image looking like a grid of pixels rather than a wash of light.

Here's an example.



Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Bill Davis
Re: best projector for projected back grounds
on Apr 8, 2016 at 1:06:39 am
Last Edited By Bill Davis on Apr 8, 2016 at 1:10:37 am

Looking at your example, It's a great start. To my eye, she needs more edge lighting to bring her form out of the background, but the aesthetics are yours to determine, of course.

That said, since the effect is abstract, I suspect I'd just defocus a bit and that would solve the pixels problem.

But I completely understand if that's not your vision.

To light your central character without effecting your background, you'll need a very careful subject lighting plot. (Or you could get crazy if it's a set piece - and take a still of the model in position - that you could use to invert and knock out a mask overlay on the projected background, letting the projector do BOTH the background AND her key light. I suspect that would be kinda fun to play around with!)



YMMV

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Craig Alan
Re: best projector for projected back grounds
on Apr 8, 2016 at 2:36:44 am

Thanks Bill, interesting idea but I was hoping to not do this in post. The shot i posted, the projector was actually the key light and the b.g. And the photo projected had soft colors. But on other shots, the pixels, at this width, were quite obvious and washed out looking. If I moved closer than yes i was able tighten the pixels and I could with an additional light get an image similar to what you posted. But I was going for a different look. The concept was that the character was part of the environment. And yes I've done this before with layers and adjusting opacity and using masking and so forth. But I'd really like to set some one in this environment and shoot stills at different focal width/length I would use for any photo shoot. I loved my kodak projector back in the 35mm days. Beautiful wash of color. I'm going to bring one in with some old slides and see what the reality is using this. If it works I just might get a canon film cam that can use my EF lenses.

Anyway I appreciate your input. Fun stuff.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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