Filming A Videoprojected Image

I am going to shoot a pair of short films where both directors want to use videoprojectors. One of them wants to use the projection as the scenery in a theatre and the other wants to project video on the face of a person. I am not 100% sure if the video will look ok or it will be a very low light to register on film.

Can anyone give me an advice or has any one experience doing this type of situations.


Ruben Marquez
Mexico City

There are many creative ways of using video projection for theatre sets or film background scenery. The issues of light levels will be a function of the choice of projector. If it is a theatre set you would need a larger projector to fit that venue but a film shot only requires a projection size to match the frame unless of course if you plan to track or boom through a scene. Back projection through translucent screens will give you good light levels with less ambient light gain. You can use smaller projection areas by creating the video to fit theapplication without stretching the capability of the projector.

The "On face" projection can be done with a unit as small as the 2.2 pound Plus projector which will give you 1000 k lumens at 2000:1 contrast ratios in hi-def if you want. Depending on the budget you can go all the way to 1080 hi-def digital projection at 40kb/s which is twice the rate o fcable HDTV . The video content is just as important as the projector and can be a major production in it's self. There are many techniques for video projection in theatre sets that can sizzle, but if it over shadows the production it is no longer theatre, it's only a movie.

Paul Jackman Media

As always the first piece of advice is :

Testing Testing Testing

There are several types of video projectors and each has a different way of making us see an image.

Your best bet is with an LCD projector, they have the least artefacts.

As a light source you will probably want the brightest you can get, it can usually be turned down some if needed. Do be careful about getting the talent in the eyes with a bright projector, they can cause damage even with a dark image. If projector is close to them and the lighting is subdued you could use a smaller projector. The little portable desktop projectors can be cool for putting a computer screen image on a face.

For the scenery trick, you will be light challenged if the image gets too large or the scene wants to be too bright. For that you will want one of the big bright projectors. Like a 6000 lumen unit.

There is a really cool Panasonic projector I have worked with recently and the model has escaped my brain cells. It is a 6K lumen unit that I can carry up the stairs in the theatre by myself. I'll have to follow-up with the model. it is real bright and portable.

There will be many challenges for these tricks, but if your director is co-operative you should be able to do some cool things. I also hope your producer has a fat wallet since these projectors are not cheap. I would also suggest hiring a good projectionist with film experience.

To sum up, it is not so crazy an idea and can be cool is everyone works together.

I hope some of our brethren chime in who have shot more of these.

Marty Brenneis

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