Design Issues and Solutions Projector Screen with Full Stage Wash Lighting

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Jeffrey Richardson, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. Jeffrey Richardson

    Jeffrey Richardson Member

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    Hello, I am new to an older style proscenium theater that is a VERY multi-use. My issue is with when we have PPT presentations it is projected onto a screen flown just behind the proscenium and main curtains very simple and foolproof. The problem though is in order to present on stage we need to have our stage lights on to light the podium or wash the stage at all. Our stage is a lacquered wood floor that is EXTREMELY reflective and the way that the lights are hung (hanging positions cannot change, only pointed positions) they reflect off the floor and wash out the screen.

    We are purchasing brighter projection systems, but that will not fix the reflection. The way that the hanging points are there is no way to move the lights so that the reflection can be lessened. Lights are a mix of 575w Altman Ellipsoidals and S4 jr's. Are diffusion gels a possibility? I am feeling a bit stuck.... Thank you in advance!
     
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  2. Amiers

    Amiers Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.

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    Lay down marly if you have it.

    I feel like diffusion will just spread the light more and give it even more reflect.

    Also a picture of the space would be nice it’s hard for me to visualize.
     
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  3. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Jeffrey Richardson Front or rear projection? What color is your screen and what material?? Possibly rear projection on a black screen from someone like Rosco Laboratories could be an answer. Too bad you can't cross-light your presenters with the bounce and spill going off-stage into your wings rather than bouncing off your shiny floor and up onto your screen; if you can't, you can't. Moving on. I'll use Control Booth's 'Bat Call' to summon @ruinexplorer 's attention to your plight.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
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  4. Jeffrey Richardson

    Jeffrey Richardson Member

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    I will add a picture in a minute, we are actually running presentations all day in the space. I agree that diffusion will not necessarily help but I wanted to check and see since I do not personally have much experience successfully using diffusion gels. It is cross lit as much as possible; but today for example, the presenters want to walk across the entire apron during their presentations which needs the whole space to be lit causing the majority of the reflection.

    We actually have two screens, one front projection (rosco white) and one rear (dark gray, not rosco but still nice material) but the problem is we only have enough rear space to run a 1/2 size rear projection and everyone wants it to be full size needing the front projection system. We are looking at brighter and brighter projectors but even that will not permanently fix the reflection issue.

    Marley is not an option, all of the presenters (our university president primarily) want the high gloss wood finish (he personally paid way to much to have it installed a few years ago).
     
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  5. Amiers

    Amiers Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.

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    That sucks.

    Sounds like a total catch 22.

    Is this something that is bugging just you or is the presenters and audience saying something that is resulting in your query? ( felt like Ron asking this way)
     
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  6. Jeffrey Richardson

    Jeffrey Richardson Member

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    Attached is a picture, please keep in mind that them walking in front of the projector is not the issue, it is just the reflection onto the screen, there are only 7 lights on each at around 25%, any higher and it instantly washes everything.

    It definitely feels like a catch 22, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't the only one feeling that way, always best to ask for help when you get too stuck. Unfortunately, I am not the only one with the concern, almost all of the presenters comment about it at some point or another.
     

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  7. EdSavoie

    EdSavoie Well-Known Member

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    Judging by the image, that projector is extremely underpowered for the projected size being asked if it, regardless of stage lighting reflecting off the stage.

    You're asking an absolutely MASSIVE throw out of what i presume is a glorified classroom / meeting room projector.

    If this is the case, the highly inadvisable but cheap solution assuming the projector is part of a fleet of identical units is to pilfer two more, turn them sideways, and tile the images.

    The far more practical but rather expensive solution is to purchase a very bright projector properly rated for the throw size / distance.

    EDIT: the advantage of the sketchy solution is that with three 1920 x 1080 projectors, your effective resolution becomes 3240x1920, which is literally three quarters of the way to 4k! (2160p)
     
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  8. macsound

    macsound Well-Known Member

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    Based on your photo, I would agree cross lighting seems like the best option.

    Since your lights are in a fixed hanging position, I'd just cross them as much as possible - Furthest HR light hits SR podium.

    And just like in theatres with highsides, you'll be able to mostly cover the stage with far fewer fixtures because of the steep angle but the presenters might be a little shadowy in the eye socket region.
     
  9. EdSavoie

    EdSavoie Well-Known Member

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    In the realm of lighting changes, I second throwing across
     
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  10. Jeffrey Richardson

    Jeffrey Richardson Member

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    I guess I could have added this earlier, we are working with a Panasonic PT-RZ120, which should have plenty of both distance/output for the space. I will see if I can adjust the lighting better, we just purchased a bit of a lighting upgrade complete with some arm extenders to hopefully give a few extra options for lighting.

    Currently, I am working with the steepest angle I can to cover the center of the stage with a wash to avoid the reflection, and then for the sides I have one directly down with one thrown all the way across the stage. Very shadowy but it is the best of the worst I suppose! Thank you all again for the help!
     
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  11. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Jeffrey Richardson A light directly down will look shadowy and will do little for presenters from your audience's perspective. Cross lighting from both sides will light presenters far, FAR better, from both their perspective (won't be glaring in their eyes) and from your audience's point of view as well. What will help you the most by cross lighting is the bounce from both sides will primarily be into the wings on the opposite sides rather than either directly onto your screen or bouncing off your shiny floor and up onto your screen. Cross lighting from both sides with nothing from the front or overhead will most likely be the best you can achieve if your hanging positions and accessory boom arms will permit. @ruinexplorer Where are you; @Jeffrey Richardson needs your thoughts, comments and advice?
    EDIT:
    Inadvertently misspelled 'off ' as 'of '. (Mia maxima culpa [& I'm not Catholic.])
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
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  12. macsound

    macsound Well-Known Member

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    How big is the screen?
    Interestingly, from your photo, I don't see any direct reflections. Is it more of a glow issue or are there bright reflections that aren't apparent in the photo?
     
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  13. Jeffrey Richardson

    Jeffrey Richardson Member

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    It is just about 16' tall x 25' wide. Along with the extreme angles all of the lights are currently pointed in, the worst reflecting are turned down as low as possible to help minimize any issues. It is hard to tell in this picture, but if you look closely you can see horizontal lines from each of the individual wood planks reflecting onto the screen.
     
  14. macsound

    macsound Well-Known Member

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    So although you do have a bright projector, with such a big screen it may just not be enough.
    When you do the math, assuming a 50' projection distance, you end up with a brightness of 27 fL on your 25' wide screen.

    For comparison, 27 fL compares to about 92 nits, the brightness of your iPhone when at about 20% brightness.

    A visual perception trick may help you. Add some CTB to your frontlight and set the color temperature to the warmest setting on the projector.
     
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  15. DrewE

    DrewE Active Member

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    I would be tempted to try putting down a darkish gray (or other relatively dark) rug across the stage. Besides helping to kill the reflections, I suspect it would help psychologically to make the screen and presenters seem better lit because there's less ambient spill light to draw the eyes (and undilate the pupils).
     
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  16. Jeffrey Richardson

    Jeffrey Richardson Member

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    For a further example here is the wash with no projector at all, again; the lights cannot be moved any further SL or SR in order to cross light as much as possible, they are already at the extremes. I do like the idea of a dark rug, that may meet the requirements of still having the wood stage visible but absorbing as much light as possible. Thank you again for everyone's help! I am looking forward to some extra trial and error time.
     

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  17. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Jeffrey Richardson Any chance you could stand enter stage, turn 90 degrees to SR, shoot a photo and post it? @ruinexplorer Please comment. . .
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
  18. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Sherpa CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Hello. I see what happens when I don't get on here daily. ;^p

    @Jeffrey Richardson , do you happen to know the specifics on your screens (manufacturer and model)? The issue is that white will reflect everything. In all honesty, I don't know why we keep using white for front projection. It was very necessary back in the day when a 500 lumen projector was "high brightness". You needed the ability to return as much light as possible (and keep all unwanted light off). First thing I would try (if you can not put down carpet or something else to absorb some light) is to use your rear fabric, with black masking immediately behind it, and use it for front projection. The grey may give you a better contrast allowing for the image to appear better.
    If that doesn't work, you may try taking your front projection screen and invert it. It may have some ambient light rejecting properties. If you get really close to the screen, you will likely see a texture to the surface. This texture is to better reflect the light to the audience, giving you known values for gain (reflectivity) and viewing angle (angle from center to which the reflected brightness is halved). The texture may be created in such a way that it reflects part of the light away from where the audience is perceived to be (and where ambient light usually comes from, above). Since the light is being controlled from above, but not below, inverting your screen may improve your image.

    In all honesty, your best bet is to reduce the size of your image. I can see using the full screen size if you are having a movie night of some sort, but as soon as you have presenters on stage, you should have an image at least 1/3 smaller. By zooming in, or using your rear screen as intended, with the size that it creates, you will be concentrating your light and having it brighter. Bring in your blacks to mask the top and sides. If you can get some pipe and drape, or build a bottom masking, that would be ideal. I have a 4:3 screen that I mask to be 16:9 instead of having unused space on the screen.

    Diffusion won't really help. It will take away some of the harshness of the reflection, but you will still be getting ambient light pollution. However, the right diffusion might help your side lights do a better job of illuminating the subject, allowing you to bring down your front light even more. If, by side lights, you mean the two groups of three on either side of the stage, they still seem to be fairly far away and will still be front lighting your subjects, just from a wider angle. If you are able to get a boom on either side, that would provide better side light.
     
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  19. Ben Stiegler

    Ben Stiegler Active Member

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    Would a short throw lens on the projector from either a front or rear position achieve greater brightness into the screen? Coupled with size reduction suggestion, you have 2 knobs to turn. Btw where is the projector today ... up in beams or at rear of house?

    PS I like the dark area rug or runner idea too ... tho more labor each time to project 7nless you leave them in place as default positioning for rugs
     
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  20. Bill B

    Bill B Member

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    What about trying a large oriental rug in the space in front of the screen that is causing the glare? This should satisfy your president's esthetics and should not look out of place for speakers to present. Be careful to place a proper rug pad to keep it from sliding and scuffing that high-gloss finish!
     
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