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BIG Projected backdrop?

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by TupeloTechie, Jan 5, 2007.

  1. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Active Member

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    We are doing High School Musical in about 2 months, and the director was talking to me today about the set and lights. Her Idea was, since the play takes place in SO many places that she wanted to project pictures on the cyc as a backdrop. I'm not sure if it will work or not, I know we can't do rear projection, because there is only about a foot or so behind the cyc. also, im pretty sure If we did do projection that more than 1 projector would be needed, we have about 4, but I have no idea how to connect them to make a picture out of multiple projectors. I've seen the DL-2's do this, but we don't have the money to buy them. I really don't know anything about projectors, so really any help is needed.

    Thanks

    ~Paul K.
     
  2. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    You're going to want to rent a very high lumen output, very wide throw, very keystone corrective projector and hang it from the grid or a lineset, depending on what you have. We did this with our production of Spring Awakening this past fall, and we had an RP screen, but i was basically the same thing. We had a huge screen, and a projector about 15 or 20 feet behind it, and it was an extremely wide throw projector, and it was "crazy-bright," as my TD said. We rented it for 2 weeks. We were glad that we did, because the first one that they sent got bumped too much in shipping, or got messed up on the way out of the rental house. I really don't see any way to properly mount and synchronize four projectors on a cyc, but if anyone else has ideas, I'm sure that they'd speak up. It'd work if you had them in a perfect array, but the throw distances, keystoning, and brightness once they hit the screen are all going to be different unless the two lower projectors have the same relationship to the bottom half of the screen as the upper two projectors have to the upper half of the screen, and they are all the same model of projector, with same zoom and keystone, bulbs that are the same age (about), and you're going to have to have a massive video system and way too much cable to run this. I'd say that the cost of putting up your system is going to about equal the cost of renting a nice, wide-throw projector from a rental house.

    Good luck with your project(ions)!
     
  3. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I'm not an expert in this area but It makes much more sense to me to go with renting one "uber-projector" like Soundlight described then it does to try to put it together on your own using low end projectors. It shouldn't cost too much to rent and you'll get really good results. Check with your local theater supply place to see what they carry. If they don't have any big bad toys you'll have to look at shipping something in, but that also really shouldn't blow your budget.
     
  4. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Projections on a Cyc that are not rear projected are not the funnest thing to do in the world. Going with one projector will save you huge headaches, but also cost an arm and a leg. To fill a large cyc, you are going to need some serious horsepower, in the 8-10 thousand lumen range (depending on the size of your cyc). If you choose the multiple projector thing you will need to separate the images into different parts. The show I am doing currently, we are using a triple head to go to do this, and it works flawlessly. With front projection onstage you will also run into a few problems. First, you have to keep actors out of the way of the projection, which usually means coming from a high angle, which means keystoning like no tomorrow. Its doable, but not an easy thing to do. You might want to do at doing multiple flats and projecting onto them, or some variation of that.
     
  5. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Call Me Crazy, but....... From the sounds of it by the time you've invested the rental dollars in the proper projectors, put together all the photos you need, put together a proper video output device < computer >, then found out that no matter how big a projector you use you'll never be able to overcome the front lights, or correct the keystoning problem inheirent in a single projector, Uber-wide, situation, < Whew what a run - on sentence that was> you probably be best finding a rental house and renting appropriate Drops for all the scenes. Far be it from me to quash the creative application of modern technology, but I distinctly remember doing shows such as "Guys and Dolls" and "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas", in the time before there were video projectors. < pick yourself off the floor kids, it's true. > IMHO sometimes the best solutions are the proven ones. Now If the director has her heart set on video projecting, by all means do it, but, again IMHO, you're probably not going to be real happy with the results you receive from a front projected posistion.

    Then agian with this cold that just hit me today,< like a ton of bricks!> I might not even be rational right now. I'll read this in a week and say, " what was I thinking ?" :mrgreen:
     
  6. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    RENTING a 10,000 lumen projector is not going to be cheap to say the least, These are rarely used in rear projection, unless you have a significant off set. Looking directly into a 10,000 lumen projector is like looking directly into a leko, the hot spot is going to be awful.

    Van is correct backdrops are the tried and true way to go

    I tend to be a projection fanatic, so I would say you can do it with multiple projectors and make your design such that it is logically and visually divided into sections so you don't have to have a seamless or overlaping image. With proper design you break up what you are trying to do is such a way that it makes sense.

    Remember this is theater, you are not trying to have a movie, where you are trying to completely create a live scene from reality, Suspension of disbelief and some artistic approach will work

    Sharyn
     
  7. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Active Member

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    thanks to everyone, we live in a pretty small town, so theres no renting house here, and the school wont let us get one shipped in.
    The Director seemed like she really wanted it done, because apparently (I haven't looked at the script) theres about 16 different backdrops she wants, I don't really agree with her Idea, but she's under a lot of pressure to make it a lot like the move, I cant stand Disney channel stuff!

    also, is there any kit or something that you can use to mount projectors on to the electrics?
     
  8. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    You can get a "clamp table" as my TD calls it, basically a projector-sized shelf with a yoke over it and a C-Clamp on the yoke. I wouldn't know where to get them off the bat, maybe someone else will.
     
  9. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Most large projector that are made for the entertainment industry have pre-made rigs for them. The are fairly easy to build if you can not find a proper one, though there are clamp down designs out there.
     
  10. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    It seems to me that one thing that people neglected to mention is the fact that if you have front projected scenery on your cyc and you put and actor in front of said cyc then the actor will have scenery projected on them.

    That being said, if you want to use multiple projectors that you own to project scenery what you need is is a computer with a video card that supports multiple displays and then tell your projection computer to span both displays. If you have decent projectors you may be able to connect them to the computer via a serial connection and use the computer to align them. When I was at school at Ithaca College we used two Sharp brand LCD projectors controlled by a computer with a dual output video card to do large projections.
     
  11. timokay

    timokay Member

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    A big advantage to projection is the fact that you can animate the background for some really cool effects, and yes, you have to work around the actors.

    We mounted our single projector just under the last row of lights, and keystoned it in such a way as to cut almost to the base of the cyc.

    In Meet Me In St. Louis, we were able to create the street rushing by for the trolley song. It added a lot to the scene, with not a lot of effort.

    You can also create masks in your projection to avoid the actors, which helps a lot.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2007

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