I have an action sequence coming up that is to be shot in a movie theatre.
It's a modern facility with up to date equipment. We need to generate
content for projection and that on-screen content will be a part of the
The production wants to bring in a video projection system. This would
facilitate easy cueing for playback and simpler timeline for editing the
playback sequence. I'm concerned the image may be too dim to be useful.
I've shot in theatres before and the projected images have been barely
Has anyone tried doing this before? What sort of video projector can be
temporarily installed in a theatre - that will fill the screen like a
David Perrault wrote :
> I have an action sequence coming
up that is to be shot in a movie theatre.
David, Is your project for video finish?
I had to shoot a spot last Fall that was kids in a theatre, watching a
movie. Camera had to shoot the screen, their faces, over-shoulders of
After having done quite a bit of video projection on an earlier project,
I decided to go green screen.
I had to do camera movement on the "over-the-shoulder shots"
and the composting guy suggested putting reference "Xs" on the
screen which he took out during post.
We composited the project in a Fire box and it worked out quite well.
The entire composite process only took a few hours. Totally eliminates
"cueing problems", light levels, and such.
For the projector light trick, someone here on the list suggested a bicycle
wheel in front of a leko with strips of gel and black wrap. That also
worked great with just a little bit of smoke.
I think the spot is hidden in my website somewhere, if you want to see
it, email me off the list for the URL.
Director of Photography
>Is your project for video finish?
Yes, it is. And I think greenscreen is a good idea. In this
case, however, the amount of camera movement and required
interaction between screen characters and audience characters
makes it tricky. Or, rather, expensive.
If we did go greenscreen, I was going to suggest we print a few hundred
feet of greenscreen and project that. It's in one of those new, stadium
seat, big screen places.
They also do satellite WWF stuff at this venue. I've never been to one
of these so I don't know how bright the screen can be. We are going to
have the video system (that they rent for the WWF satellite things) available
for a demo when we survey. I'll be able to meter the screen then.
>It's much easier to shoot the
lock off and then have the compositor do any moves in >post.
Less tracking = less time = less money.
I disagree. Tracking is a no brainer today - fast, accurate,
and included in every composting package available, from After
Effects (not the best, however) on up to Inferno and everything
in between. Provided there's some detail in the image at the
proper distance from the camera for tracking (a C-stand knuckle,
with or without a tape mark where the actor's head should
be is just fine - it'll be covered by the actor in the composite),
tracking a shot takes about 30 seconds and retains the "natural"
quality of the operated move, rather than the "mechanical"
feel of a move created in a computer.
is a good idea to try and "flatten" out the shot
with a longer lens to eliminate some of the perspective distortion,
but in general, just shoot the plate wider than you intend
in the final frame (it must be blown up in composting to be
moved and yet still fill the frame) and operate the green
screen shot as you would if you had practical projection.
IATSE Local 600
we want a shot where we are over the shoulder of a couple
making out while they >are watching the screen
Try a lastolite 6 x6 ft portable blue/green screen dropped
into the mid ground, a few rows in front of the couple.
off camera. Shoot the canoodling couple against the bluescreen,
include the backs of the seats in shot to ad realism. You
will have to shoot fairly tight. Make sure that you have enough
depth of field.
Remove blue screen and couple, keeping camera locked off and
shoot the movie screen as the background plate. Create new
back ground plate with your own clips pinned onto the screen.
Once combined throw the background plate out of focus in post.
Key couple over new background plate.
Also, shoot a wide where there is no overlap of foreground
action over the movie screen. Also shoot an additional plate
with something projected on the screen. The bounce off the
screen may not be much but a compositor may be able to use
it to help create the illusion.
Suggest a small pan or tilt in the wide shot. Maybe its within
your budget to track the screen? check with post house.
Did a (HD) shot last week, an over the shoulder of real person
with fantasy person reflected in mirror. On location, only
had 4 feet between subject and blue screen but it worked.
Director of Photography
>Suggest a small pan or tilt
in the wide shot. Maybe its within your budget to track the
It's much easier to shoot the lock off and then have the compositor do
any moves in post. Less tracking = less time = less money.
It is far quicker and easier to do the move in post than to track it in
- especially if you are using a wide angle lens which might introduce
lens distortion which may have to be re-created to get a perfect lock
on the image. Besides, it gives you the flexibility to try out several
different moves very quickly.
If you're worried about resolution, frame it a little bit wide, scan it
at 2.5k or 3k and do a 2k crop into the image with the post move on it.
If you are limited to a 2k scan, you can blow up the image by 10% and
not take too much of a hit in quality and can compensate by re-sharpening
the image. Rule of thumb is to absolutely avoid blowing it up by more
than 25%, unless you are going to defocus it and add grain.
An alternative to the excellent greenscreen approach suggested might also
be to use the theatre's projector with no film in it to light up the screen,
and then fill the foreground to taste.
If there is very little rim light on the foreground, the compositor may
be able to
pull a decent luminance key off the screen.
You can probably test this technique with a still camera if you have time
and a co-operative movie theatre.
Perhaps another alternative is to Photograph some greenscreen material
with 35mm reversal film (or a print from a neg) and make a loop which
you can then project onto the screen, and balance your foreground light
to match. (Dirt on the projected footage might be a problem, but nearly
all footage going through composting is digitally dust-busted so it might
be an insignificant issue.)
If you are testing, you should definitely try to run your test footage
or frames through the same composting pipeline which you intend to run
your production footage. This will help you quickly identify any trouble
spots and insure that you are giving your post people everything they
need to quickly nail the shot.
"...you start out wanting to make the greatest movie
ever made….and you end up just wanting to live through
Thanks to all who replied about shooting in a cinema.
We tried a few different options :
1.2k hmi parnie and a 2kw follow spot on a flicker generator also tried
the 35mm projector but finally opted for the video projector which we
ran a beta sp tape of a music video that we were going to drop in to the
finished spot on the screen and used this bounced into an 8x4 silver foam
core board just off camera - with a bit of additional fill to light the
faces when the exposure was down.
This worked really well and mixed with an oil cracker gave us some beautiful
As for the blue screen shot - we tried the projector route onto the screen
- but it didn't give us enough foot candles - so we had 2 x 2kws just
off the screen to either side with Geoff's suggestion of midnight blue
- this worked well – I had a Dedo just off lighting the couple in
the audience - giving a back light - sort of illumination from the screen
and lighting out any blue reflection - then directed the video projector
on the back of their heads to give the feel that there will be something
projecting to match the screen when the shot is dropped in.
So thanks again for all the help offered - hope I can return the favour