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Rear Projection (digitally?) v. Green Screen


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#1 Safia M. Dirie

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 10:24 PM

I am shooting my final guaranteed film here at FSU in a couple of months, and I am trying to make a decision about the style of my film. The film consists of two characters in a car driving around the south.

I am interested in rear projection which I understand is totally out of date and only resurrected on special occassions, but I love that look. One caveat: I don't know if I could afford stock footage on film. What about digital projection? Too grainy? crappy?

I could possibly achieve that look with green screen, but I would like to avoid the 'Spanglish' green-screen-driving look (the rest of the film looks great). I do not know if the scenes in that film were shot like that on purpose, but it is a 'look' I'd like to avoid--the look being 'hey, we shot this on a soundstage with a fan and a green screen, but it's supposed to look real!' I mean no offense, but these scenes have always taken me out of the movie--a movie i love!

The first question you may have is this: why not shoot outside? I will definitely like to tow the car and shoot, but I will be shooting during hurricane season here in Florida, and I want to have all my bases covered--just in case.

So, is it possible to do rear projection with a digital projector if I were not able to get a hold of a projector with film?

How do I avoid the "Spanglish" look of the car scenes when, and if, we shoot in our sound stages in front of our green screen? (by the way, our VFX dept. at FSU is great-it's headed by Stuart Robertson and the stuff they've put out, even on short notice, is fantastic)

Please excuse my complete ignorance of this subject.

Thanks!
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 10:57 PM

If your main concern is that it look completely believable, you should avoid any process work, whether projection or greenscreen.

You can probably get away with rear projection easier with night driving where the background is dark and out-of-focus more.

Digital projection is becoming more common -- "24" uses projected DV for night driving scenes, and the movie "Derailed" used DLP projection for the train scenes.

The better the digital format and projector, the better off you are -- for example, can you afford to shoot the plates in HD and use a high-end, high-output DLP projector?

This is something that would need some testing to get right.

As for day scenes, it takes a lot more work and care to get either technique, rear-projection or chromakey, to look completely natural.
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#3 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 11:12 PM

If you end up doing green screen, there's nothing preventing you from treating the background footage to make it look like it was rear-projected.
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#4 Safia M. Dirie

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Posted 20 August 2006 - 11:21 AM

Thanks David for answering!

To answer your question, I would like the projection to look like rear projection.

I do not know if I could get the plates to be HD and get a projector like that. I would probably borrow some footage from Warner Brothers--they have lent us stock footage before. I could even ask cineworks (the lab we work with in miami) about projection.

Off topic: thank you for responding! i'm so excited! i really appreciate all of the time you spend making the world better cinematographers!

Hey Scott,

thank for taking the time to reply to my post. i never even thought about having having the footage treated to look like rear projection!

that's a grreeatt! idea. i think i can come up with something great with this!
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