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Front Projection Effect--is it possible with a steadicam???

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Tara Sennott
Front Projection Effect--is it possible with a steadicam???
on Feb 13, 2016 at 7:56:57 pm

Heyall

I'm building a set out of theater flats, and there's a window on one of the walls. Outside of the window, I want it to look as if we're looking out onto a sunflower field. We've decided that this effect can't be achieved with a green screen because we're using a steadicam and the post-production work would be too much.

I'm looking into doing a front projection (since I think a rear projection would be too faint), but every diagram I've seen has the camera in a fixed position on a tripod....Is it possible to do a front projection using a steadicam, and also--to have this front projection only showing behind the window? Your advice would be much appreciated!!!

Also, I've included a picture for reference.


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Tara Sennott
Re: Front Projection Effect--is it possible with a steadicam???
on Feb 13, 2016 at 8:00:32 pm

Also, we need the image projected to be a video, so that rules out doing a painting for the sunflower field


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Todd Terry
Re: Front Projection Effect--is it possible with a steadicam???
on Feb 13, 2016 at 8:42:38 pm

If I follow you, I think you are wanting to basically put a window-shaped screen on your flat and project your exterior image into it?... right?

If so... and you are able to flag your projection exactly to the window, and it is bright enough compared to the ambient light (remembering that to look natural the exterior should be about 2-3 stops brighter than the interior), then technically I think you can do it.

Aesthetically, though... I don't think you want to.

Since this is a Steadicam shoot, then obviously the camera will be moving. Every time the camera moves, in the real world the perspective of the view through the window would change. In this case, though, it won't... the view out the window will just stay flat flat flat... as it painted on the wall (because basically it is, just with light). It's going to really look phony.

I would say by far the best looking results would come from using a greenscreen there, and motion tracking the exterior so that you can achieve a natural-looking perspective (probably using Mocha to do the planar tracking would work well).

But... you said you won't do greenscreen because it is too post intensive...

As an alternate, I'd suggest installing a real window in the flat, and behind the flat putting a large monitor (plasma, LED, LCD, whatever) to show your exterior footage. I think that's doable since that it looks from your drawing as if the window isn't too big. In that case you'd use the biggest monitor that you can get your hands on, and put it as far back behind the flat as you can and still cover the edges from the camera view. I suggest a monitor since that will typically be much brighter than any projector. You appear to have a fairly smallish vertical window... if so, something like a 60" monitor mounted vertically might work and let you put it some reasonable distance behind the flat.

That way when the camera moves around it will still maintain some of the dynamic movement of the background's perspective changing.

In this case when doing your DP work, you'd want to start with seeing what light levels you have for the window, and light all the interiors about 2 stops below that.

There are probably other options, but that's what comes to mind.

Here, though, in that situation I'd greenscreen it... I wouldn't even really consider any other method.

T2

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



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Mark Suszko
Re: Front Projection Effect--is it possible with a steadicam???
on Feb 18, 2016 at 10:19:53 pm

As a postscript, I'll add that you *can* do live tracking on greenscreen with a steadicam, however, the computer power and software needed to do that to a level aceptable for braodcast production is probably not in your budget. You'd have tracking markers or a special pattern on the "green" walls, your camera raw feed goes into a computer program where the markers are continually tracked and aligned with a 3-d model. There are online examples where hardware hacker experimenters do this, using Kinnect 3-d cameras, but none of that is truly at a level where you'd be comfortable charging people money to see it.

A variation on this is projectors on computer-controlled motion-control rigs, "painting" a bare gray or white set with texture maps.

Either way, that stuff is really expensive, probably not in your budget.

Build a shadow box onto the back of the window, put in prop flowers or a projected/ videoscreen exterior view, and call it done.


As to making your entire set green, without trackers on it, how do you expect to match the shots to the geometry?


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Todd Terry
Re: Front Projection Effect--is it possible with a steadicam???
on Feb 18, 2016 at 10:25:19 pm

[Mark Suszko] "As to making your entire set green, without trackers on it, how do you expect to match the shots to the geometry?"

She might correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think she's talking about an entire green space... I think that was just an unfortunate color choice when building the reference picture.

I could be wrong about that (always a first), but if so they're looking at loads of post production and planar motion tracking there... a heckuva lot more than one little window (which is why I assumed the main set wasn't greenscreen).

T2

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



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