In a few years time, I'm about to realize my dream and produce a fantasy feature length film that I've been working on for the past 15 years. And I've come to be interested in using front projection for most of the sceneries, because:
1. Done right it looks amazing, and
2. The movie will be shot on very old anamorphic lenses with lots of distortion, thus making in-camera effects preferable over chroma, and
3. Considering the length of the movie, although it will be expensive to buy gigantic scotchlite backgrounds and projectors, it can make it possible to shoot most of the film in the same place, and create immersive sets for the actors that will be far cheaper than actually building full sized fantasy themed sets or shooting outdoors, and look better than greenscreen due to the unique visual style/lens distortion.
My idea at this point, is to create a set similar to what they did in "Oblivion" (2013). According to this article they used a total of 21 projectors and a 270 degree coverage, which is way out of budget for this project. I'm thinking 1 or 2 projectors and a flat mobile background on wheels that can be moved as needed.
When I read about front projection, they always talk about shooting through a one-way mirror. I'm assuming that shooting like this is the only way to do it on smaller sets, where the distance between the talent/background is too short and you don't want to cast a shadow? I've watched some videos about front projection on youtube and I stil don't quite get the point of the mirror, other than the obvious (that the projector isn't in the way, and the above mentioned).
Or is there some other technical point that I'm missing here?
Looking at the BTS picture from Oblivion, you can see the crew walking around on set being lit and everything. Are the bright spots beneath the platform the projectors themselves? It looks like they are angled straight up onto a mirror, and then cast onto the screens. I guess similar lighting could be made with a smaller, flat screen, using a camera with good light sensitivity and carefully add fill light primarily from above? (because light from the sides would reflect and destroy the projection, would it not?)
Also, any idea where I can buy these kind of massive scotchlite backgrounds? I just find clothes on Google...
Appriciate any advice on this, or other sources of information about modern uses of front projection in films. Thanks!
Edited by Martin Oller, 07 December 2017 - 04:46 AM.