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Craig Alan
wall paint
on Oct 15, 2009 at 4:19:38 am

Converting old print shop into video production classroom

What paint colors would you recommend for the walls?

Currently, it’s an off white and presents a too reflective, too contrasty background. There are also large windows that had been previously painted by a former video teacher but not enough to block the light and they are still an off white. So I need to add another coat of paint on those as well. The room has an incredible number of different temperature light sources including:
Daylight filtered through the painted windows (a few different shades), daylight filtered through frosted glass, daylight coming through a door that is left partially open (can be closed), fluorescent overhead bulbs (which can be turned off), a sky window that is not yet painted, etc.
Teams will need to shoot toward the walls/windows in order to isolate their shoot from other teams/students/teacher stuff. Yes we also shoot in other locations.

I will also be setting up a studio style shoot against different background cloths including black, grey, and green screen. I hope to purchase a Fresnel light kit and maybe some kinos this year, but need to proceed without them for some time to come. I figure the fresnels will be studio temp and will work on getting the outside light blocked.




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Todd Terry
Re: wall paint
on Oct 15, 2009 at 5:32:10 am

[Craig Alan] "What paint colors would you recommend for the walls?"

Black.

And any studio or stage setting should be able to be made completely dark when needed, so you'll definitely want to do something about any and all of the available light, such as the windows and skylight... either temporarily or permanently completely blocking them. Floor can be white or a neutral gray if you think white will give you too much kick. Although some people don't like a white floor, our stage floor is white and it works well. Our floor required repainting semi-often, until we finally put down a proper industrial epoxy "garage floor" coating, which works well if you are starting with a concrete floor.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Mark Suszko
Re: wall paint
on Oct 16, 2009 at 3:52:39 pm

Flat black, like the man says.

I also often use black or dove gray photog paper for tight stand-ups and depending on how much light you hit it with, it can look like anything from black up to gray and near-white. Plus colors if you gel that light, and patterns if you use gobos or cookies, so one sheet does a lot of different things.

The description of all those daylight sources to fight, well, I started thinking "why fight it, can you use it to advantage", but that would require supplemental HMI lighting or gelling conventional tungsten lights. The HMI's are expensive and suck power, heck, a new bulb for a Joker-Bug is around $300 alone. Gelled tungsten lights lose a lot of their power, so you'd have to have more of them, even though they're cheaper. That's also a lot more heat and electicity used for the lights and the noisy air conditioning. Not great. LED banks are great but not on a school budget. Long term I suggest Kinoflo or the cheaper Videssence fluoros we use, you can get the right color balance, they run forever, don't make heat or draw lots of power. Saves a lot on reduced air conditioning costs over time as well. Downside is they are generally soft sources, so you'd still want to mix in a couple fresnels if you like some harder light here and there, but perhaps not as many or as big.

Painting out the windows is probably for the best, hey, the kids will love it as the most "goth" classroom in the school:-) You might gel the overhead to color correct for tungsten, but normally you want the whole room a black box as your blank canvas. Skylight light is going to constantly vary over time, more trouble than it is worth IMO.

Linoleum tile is very cheap, and you could buy loose squares to lay down just where the camera sees it. The second side could be painted black or chroma green to go with your greenscreen. When not needed, box them and store them.

I like to recommend simple greenscreen coves made from the backside of any cheap vinyl kitchen-bathroom flooring. The part that takes the glue holds paint really well; prime it white first with KILZ latex, then green, blue, gray or whatever you want, hang on the wall and let it curve onto the floor for a natural limbo and you can walk on that in street shoes and use furniture on it without much hurting it, cleans up well, or easy to touch-up with leftover paint. You can get these in pretty wide rolls for seamless walls and you can buy the cheapest, ugliest pattern they can't seem to get rid of at the store because you don't care what the color/pattern is, just that the felt-like backing is smooth. :-)


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Craig Alan
Re: wall paint
on Oct 18, 2009 at 2:30:46 pm

Thanks Todd and Mark,

Very useful.
I'll work on black on the large windows first. I'll need to wait for them to get fixed; they don't close all the way.
I considered daylight temp but it seems out of any budget I ever get.
I have a couple of good camcorders that we can use as a class. But when the class is broken into teams, they are using small consumer cams that like a lot of light. The white walls currently are too reflective and blow out the image; but if the windows are painted black, I think we’ll be ok.

I’m reluctant to paint everything black because we need to function as a class with reading and writing stuff. On the other hand, the overly reflective Imacs will like it.

Would it be effective to paint several shooting areas black and leave the rest of the room more reflective?

If the windows are black and we can block light from all sources then we should be able to use studio lights without competing with contaminants.

Sound treatment is another concern. Horrible acoustics in this room.
Will the epoxy help with this?—yes it’s a concrete floor.
If I use epoxy paint how long to dry, ready for traffic?
I already tried to get them to buy vinyl studio tiles TV GREY. But so far no budget.

Craig





OSX 10.5.7; MAC Book PRO (EARLY 2008); Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30, Sony vx2000/PD170, Canon xl2; Pana, Sony, and Canon consumer cams; FCP certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Mark Suszko
Re: wall paint
on Oct 18, 2009 at 3:56:46 pm

Combine your sound treatment issues and your black wall issues in one, and upholster the walls with cheap acoustic ceiling panels covered in black cloth of some kind, like burlap. Treat the cloth for flame resistance first, one DIY method is to soak it in a borax solution. Or do it right and buy flame-treated cloth thru a vendor like Rosebrand. Self-stick carpet tile squares on the walls could be another way to go, a dark gray could work. These are relatively cheap as well.


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Craig Alan
Re: wall paint
on Oct 19, 2009 at 11:44:18 am

Thanks Mark,

That is certainly my wish list: Fiberglass Board panels covered in cloth hung around room to absorb sound; TV studio tiles on floor; drop acoustic ceiling which would block out the echo-y rafters and skylight (though I'd like this as high as possible to allow for boom poles/shotguns), and a light grid.

However, there are low hanging AC vents, an exhaust vent that was installed over the old machinery, and a huge heater inside that looks like an outdoor unit — massive. Deafening when we need to turn it on.

But even these relatively inexpensive treatments (except perhaps for moving the heater to the roof) add up and I need funding for this. In the meantime, I'm willing to spring for some paint and whatever I can come up with to absorb sound. I'm also thinking of treating areas where we can shoot studio style, though a light kit would help before blacking everything out.

Thus my first question about what color someone would choose with a mess of light sources and cheap camcorders that need lots of light.

And though I knew that one goal is to be able to blacken the room (which I did at my previous school in a regular size classroom with gaffer’s tape and back art board over the indoor windows) I did not think of painting all the walls black. Also there, I had a 3 piece 650 watts Fresnel kit – mole Richardson -- and soft banks for them.

I’ll start by painting the windows black and treating one area to use with the better cameras. I’ll hang my black cloth for a backdrop and try to cover the sides as well. Then I’ll lay down some tiles or grey carpet and hopefully can order a Fresnel light kit with this year’s funding if they don’t cut it from the budget.

I was left with some cheap photo light kits. The stands are cheap and could easily fall over (I have a few sand bags). I was able to order one c-stand. Need to blacken the room first before I can test them. I guess I could bounce them off a white board to soften them. But until the room is dark, I imagine, there’s not no point.


OSX 10.5.7; MAC Book PRO (EARLY 2008); Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30, Sony vx2000/PD170, Canon xl2; Pana, Sony, and Canon consumer cams; FCP certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Todd Terry
Re: wall paint
on Oct 19, 2009 at 2:20:16 pm

Craig....

Sound blankets could be your friend... by hanging lots of them around the perimeter of your room, you can deaden it a bit and cut some of the "live" sound you're getting in audio. Secondly, being black (well, some of them are), they will give you a matte dark wall surface that will kill the reflections and light bounce you are getting. Thirdly, since they are opaque, you could hang them over the windows to both kill the incoming light and deaden the audio reflections you are getting from the hard glass.

You don't have to wallpaper the room solid with them, some are better than none. Some judiciously spaced and placed ones could make a world of difference.

Now, you could call up Matthews or some other film grip supply company and order a boatload of them... at about $50 a pop. OR you might have a Harbor Freight Tools in your city... a place that has tons of cheaps tools etc. where you should never buy a power tool but for other stuff you can find great bargains. There they have those quilted furniture pads which are basically the same thing (maybe not quite as well made, but good enough), for only $4-$7 depending on the size you need.

We've bought tons of these through the years, and almost stopped using "real" sound blankets completely.

If you don't have a store, you can get them on line...

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93162
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=47262
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93156

Uhaul also sells cheap mover's blakets, but they are a little more expensive there (and if I recall, I think theirs are blue).


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Mark Suszko
Re: wall paint
on Oct 19, 2009 at 2:52:18 pm

Markertek.com is also a good resource, kind of like the Warshowski's/J.C. Whitney catalog for video supplies. Harbor Freight is a handy store to have near you for many things.

Drill hooks into the walls and drape the place in black blankets like Todd says, would be the cheapest answer. Only issue may be the fire code since it is a school. The blankets may need to be rated against fire. You can imagine what might occur if a student accidentally puts a one-K light next to the cloth for a few moments.

I was only going to add that what you have is not a light and sound problem so much as a money problem. Do a fundraiser of some kind and get the money together to get the job done. Score your lights used off ebay or similar.

You might also want to talk to the public affairs directors at the local TV stations to see if they can A: offer your kids a tour ( PBS stations also always need volunteers to man the phones and etc. for pledge drives) and B: offer to donate any used stuff they don't need any more, like sets or old studio curtains, old lights they no longer need, etc. Try the same tack with the local Broadcaster's association and theatre stages.

Get out there and hustle:-)


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Alan Lloyd
Re: wall paint
on Oct 19, 2009 at 6:34:01 pm

PBS stations donate? Where?

They seek donations, true - constantly. Give anything up? Not that I've ever heard!


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Mark Suszko
Re: wall paint
on Oct 19, 2009 at 10:01:19 pm

When they upgrade studio lights to Kinos, for example, sometimes they will "retire" old lights they are not using, or toss an old mixer, stuff like that. Every operation generates some surplus; it may be high quality or it may be so old and busted it may have been originally soldered together by Vlad Zworykin. But, you never know if you don't ask.

Same for old sets and props; studios have limited storage space and may need to part with still-useful stuff from cancelled shows, just to make some room.

The outfit I work for used to have a pet charity, a local grade school they helped to build a studio out of donations and parts scavenged from surplus auctions. The high school near me got two or three pallet-loads of nearly-new ellipsoidal Source Fours for pennies on the dollar at a surplus auction I once steered them towards. They were take-outs from the retired school where they shot "The Breakfast Club". After the school district closed it the building was bought by the state for office space and they auctioned off a lot of stuff including most of the state of the art theatre and all it's support gear.

Don't be above a little dumpster-diving as it were, if it fits the budget. The point is to never let anything stop you from making progress towards your goals.


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