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Documentary interview background


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#1 Cynthia Hill

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 02:48 PM

My colleagues and I will soon be shooting some interviews for a documentary on the life of a young Czech artist who completed more than 100 paintings and drawings as well as five novels before dying in Auschwitz. We plan on using several of his paintings as interview backdrops. We are very limited budget wise, so the goal is to project the painting(s) on dark gray muslin fabric using a laptop and projector (Epson 750c). I know the key is getting enough light from the projector on to the backdrop while still maintaining a dramatic contrast ratio. I was wondering whether anyone had some additional pointers.

I will shooting with the Panasonic HVX 500/ Thanks!
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#2 Walter Graff

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 04:07 PM

Not going to be easy. At 2000 lux you'll get about 100 footcandles in the brightest areas. If his paintings are dark in tone, it will be lost fast. Might want to try for white background, very flagged off light on your subject. It can work, just needs some coaxing. It will probably not be brilliant, but will work. I'd have to see his art.
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#3 Daniel Sheehy

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 04:15 PM

Try it out. ;)
Assuming you have access to the projector, try out a few dummy setups. You haven't said anything about your lighting kit for the interviews, but you'll want to test that set up and sort out a rough 'style' that you can adapt for individual interviews.

I suspect the biggest challenge you'll have is getting the ratio right, between the projected background, and the subject lighting... you don't want the background to distract the viewer.
If your light kit isn't sufficient to balance out the projector, you could use ND gels to knock down the projector output. Having a few different shades of fabric for the background might also be good.
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#4 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 10:04 PM

Greenscreen may be your friend here.

The positives of this approach would be that you'd have to setup and light the subject and background just once. You'd also have the freedom to change said background whenever the conversation turned to the appropriate piece of art.

The downside is.... ?
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