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Chroma Fabric vs. Paint

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Eric Olson
Chroma Fabric vs. Paint
on Jan 7, 2010 at 6:30:12 pm

The company I work for is installing a new audio/video studio and I would like them to add some green screen capability to one of the walls.

Do you recommend that we sheet rock the wall and paint it with chroma paint? Or leave the wall bare and cover it with a green screen cloth? The room is fairly small so I would like to retain as much floor space as possible.

Cheers,

Eric


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Bill Davis
Re: Chroma Fabric vs. Paint
on Jan 7, 2010 at 7:47:27 pm

Either will do the same thing.

If, however, the "room is fairly small" - whichever path you take will be made more difficult because pulling a good key typically benefits from both talent to keywall distance AND camera to talent distance.

If the keywall to camera distance is less than 15 feet or so - with room to move around within those two limits- you may be disappointed in the size of the key you can easily pull.

YMMV, Good luck.



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Mark Suszko
Re: Chroma Fabric vs. Paint
on Jan 7, 2010 at 8:05:40 pm

I recommend you buy vinyl kichen/bath flooring, doesn't matter what color or pattern, the ugliest stuff is dirt cheap, paint the reverse side of it, the "felt" side that normally takes the glue.

This can be hung from simple hooks on the wall, and when you unroll it, it makes a natural limbo curve to the floor, and continues on along the floor, all the way up to the camera. Excellent for wide, full-body shots. The vinyl is very durable and better to walk on or put furniture/props on than photographer's paper or cloth. You can wash off shoe marks or re-paint from a leftover bottle of touch-up paint. When you don't need it, you can loosely roll the whole thing up and put it in a closet.

Yes, it is heavy, heavier than paper or cloth, but cloth wrnkles, paper tears, paint on a flat wall is great but is locked into one location and you have the issue of making a good transition to the floor for full-body shots. That's why I like the vinyl idea, since you get a free cove at the bottom. Paper will do the same, a wide roll is about $50 at a photography supplier store or thru Deny's online. If you are careful, it will last you a good while, a typical roll is good for two to three instances of using it and tearing off the part that got torn or dirty. I also use cloth in some cases, a stretchy spandex from RoseBrand in NYC is a good value. If I was doing a lot of travel with it, I would go with cloth or paper. If it was semi-permanent in the studio, the vinyl.

Prime the vinyl's rear surface first with Kilz brand latex primer, then add your latex-based flat Ck paint. Save a pint or two in jars or a can for touch-ups. The top end where the vinyl hangs from, sandwich the edge of that between 2x4 boards using screws and contact cement. Eye hooks in the wall studs or ceiling joist will hold it well, as will sturdy light stands.


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Eric Olson
Re: Chroma Fabric vs. Paint
on Jan 8, 2010 at 2:53:28 am

The room is 10' by 9' but I will not be doing full body green screens, only from the waist up like:

http://i.ytimg.com/vi/3_oHyxHEuAk/0.jpg

I will be shooting on HVX which has 4:2:2 color space so I think I can get a clean key.

Do you think the room is too small?


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Mark Suszko
Re: Chroma Fabric vs. Paint
on Jan 8, 2010 at 5:07:19 pm

10 by 9 foot room plus camera to subject distance and head and shoulders only means you're shooting with about what, four feet by four feet of actor space. Then just go buy a chroma-pop from Digital Juice and be done with it.


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Bill Davis
Re: Chroma Fabric vs. Paint
on Jan 10, 2010 at 4:56:32 am

Eric,

The problem is pretty much geometry.

In a small space, the camera to back wall distance is necessarily limited. So you back your camera up to one wall - and open the lens as wide as possible. With small aperture lenses like on the HVX series of camcorders, this means that at full wide, you'll probably see both the floor and the ceiling. So you'll push in a bit to give yourself a full key shot.

Then you bring in the talent and the trouble begins. No matter how you light the green screen, you'll find that to avoid spill on your subjects, you want to maintain as much distance as possible between your talent and the green screen wall. So you bring your talent forward toward the camera - but that act makes the talent appear BIGGER and almost immediately you face the fact that the angle from the lens to the now closer subject means that your field of view includes not only the talent's head, but an area OVER the talent's head.

You can raise the camera, but with a 6 foot talent against only a 7' green screen, you'll have to both raise the camera AND tilt down in order to keep the talent's head against the green screen. And this starts to look VERY forced, very fast. It's just not natural. Plus unless you tilt RADICALLY down, you're still shooting a lot of what ever is above the talent, ceiling, wall-pipes, whatever.

This is the relentless geometry of short space green screen work.

So, unless you're talking about seated news desk style shots, a 7' screen height isn't likely to do what you want.

Good luck.




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