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Video projection in a 35mm shoot


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#1 Mariano Nante

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 09:17 PM

Hey guys,

Got a tough one. I'm directing a short film where people go to a movie theater, and I have to shoot what is seen on the screen.
The film wil be shot in 35mm finishing in BETA (yeah, I know, what's the point of shooting 35 and winding up with a lousy format, but those are the rules of the game)
However, what is to be seen in the theater's screen will be shot digitally (not really sure which format, probably HDV with some heavy post)

I have analized several options, and it all comes up to:

1) Projecting in HD what I have shot and filming the screen. OR:
2) Projecting a green/blue light for chroma keying

What are, in your opinion, the problems I may encounter with either option? I am quite worried about:

A_ Flickering
B_ The amount of light reflected from the screen to the seats of the theater: if we go with option no. 2, the light will be constant and not ever-changing like a film projection
C_ noticeable cropping in the edges

Well, what are your thoughts?

Thanks in advance!

Mariano
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#2 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 07:22 PM

Well, you could use a combination approach. For setups facing the screen, you could rely on chroma key and for setups facing away use the real projector in combination with some additional lighting to boost the flicker effect (if that's what you want). I've had luck using an Image 80 broken up with grips slowly waving pillows, worked great at 320 ASA.

Of course, with the chroma key approach you'll have to worry about spill onto the audience. In a situation where the light from the screen is supposed to be keying the audience it could become a huge headache. I say "supposed to" because if you let that light hit the audience you obviously won't be able to key them out; the whole point is to keep them neutrally balanced, not blue/green! You'll have to figure that one out yourself. ;)
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#3 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 03:16 AM

BETA? Wow, really? Why?

Anyway, a good film to look at is "Atonement", just for reference. There's a scene towards the end in a theatre, and the actor is behind the screen, silhouetted by the image on it. And according to AC mag, it was a digital projection.
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#4 Mariano Nante

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 04:33 PM

Thanks for the tips, guys. I'll be checking "Atonement" soon, I've already seen it and liked the cinematography, but can't remember that part.

I wouldn't worry about spill because I plan to film the screen separately from the actors, which may make things easier.

The whole BETA thing is absurd, but this film is produced by my film school and the standard transfer they give us is BETA. And I don't have the money to upgrade it, so... what can you do about it.

thanks again!
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#5 K Borowski

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 07:36 AM

BETA? Wow, really? Why?

Anyway, a good film to look at is "Atonement", just for reference. There's a scene towards the end in a theatre, and the actor is behind the screen, silhouetted by the image on it. And according to AC mag, it was a digital projection.


I also remember someone here saying that the fact that the projection was digital stuck out like a sore thumb. I didn't notice it in HDTV, but wasn't paying particularly close attention to that part though.

If you're trying to make the projection look like a film projection (which would make sense as that is what 95% of projection is), you have to be very careful to avoid digital projection and origination artifacts.
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