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Best way to shoot iMac screen? Weird pattern issue.

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Alan Langdon
Best way to shoot iMac screen? Weird pattern issue.
on Oct 23, 2012 at 7:00:17 pm

I need to shoot some angles of an iMac screen, with Facebook open: browsing through photos, close ups of some pictures, the main user page, etc... all of this in 1080p24 (SONY XDCAM3) for using in an edit in Final Cut.
What has happened is that when I focus on the intended part of the screen, I get weird noise/moray patterns which vary with camera angle, position and focus. When I sweeten the focus a tad, this seems to help with the moray/noise (this is not a scan line issue, since the monitor is LCD), this helps, but it is a difficult balance to find.

Any tips for shooting LCD/ LED screens?

Below is an image showing the weird pattern / moray noise I am getting.



Any info much appreciated, as always!


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Todd Terry
Re: Best way to shoot iMac screen? Weird pattern issue.
on Oct 23, 2012 at 7:26:10 pm

Yeah, definitely not scan lines, you are seeing a moire pattern from the actual dots on the screen. That can be a booger.

If you can't resolve it with playing with your focus and f-stops, the other solutions may not be ones that you'll want to or can implement for a variety of reasons....

1) Fake it.
This is what I would do, shoot blank (or greenscreen) monitors and insert the contents from screen grabs in post. You'd have to track the shots if they are moving, but that's not a big deal. We tend to do this whenever shooting screens. In post you can play with the brightness and contrast until you get a realistic looking image, and then have more flexibility in adding shadows and screen reflections to your liking.

2) Change your angles.
The angle is what's killing you. You won't get nearly as much moire the less the angle is, the more dead-on-straight you are shooting the screens. Of course aesthetically, I know this is not what you have in mind, and I understand that completely.

3) Use a different camera.
Some cameras handle moire patterns better than others. We have just (for the last couple of weeks) started shooting with the Canon C300PL as our primary camera. Before we got it I saw a demo on how it supposedly handles tiny patterns well... they did a side-by-side shootout with the C300, a DSLR (I think it was a 5D) and some other Sony. The other cameras strobbed and moire'd like crazy, but the C300 was rock solid. I've only had the opportunity to test it once, a couple of days ago I was shooting talent that happened to wear a very very tiny checked tweed jacket. I know it would have KILLED my other cameras, but it was solid as a rock with the C300. I can't speak to other cameras, some of which might also have this moire-dampening feature, but with this model it works like a charm. You might see if you can beg/borrow/rent one just for these specialty shots.

But again, unless there was a real and compelling reason to do it practically, I'd just fake it.

T2

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



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Mark Suszko
Re: Best way to shoot iMac screen? Weird pattern issue.
on Oct 23, 2012 at 8:09:19 pm

I've got to wonder if this isn't a factor of the rez on the individual tiled images, more than the screen overall.


The way I'd cheat this shot would be to screen record it using the built-in screen recording in quicktime, then bring that recording into Apple Motion and match the angle of the product shot of the imac. If the angle is changing over time, you can use the tracker in Motion to lock the image to the screen. No more moire'.


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Alan Langdon
Re: Best way to shoot iMac screen? Weird pattern issue.
on Oct 23, 2012 at 10:30:45 pm

Many thanks for the ideas, folks. I will probably end up using the "fake it" approach... I shot straight on and got a better result when softening a tad the focus and blowing out the whites a tad, but still nothing aesthetically pleasing, thus the "fake it" approach sounds best.
cheers!



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Brent Dunn
Re: Best way to shoot iMac screen? Weird pattern issue.
on Oct 24, 2012 at 2:47:06 pm

Welcome to DSLR. This has been an issue with Moire and DSLR.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite





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Mark Suszko
Re: Best way to shoot iMac screen? Weird pattern issue.
on Oct 24, 2012 at 9:42:10 pm

There CAN be such a thing as a camera with "too many pixels" :-)


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