MicrostockGroup Sponsors

Envato Elements

Author Topic: Projector as a backdrop?  (Read 20519 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

« on: May 02, 2009, 11:26 »
0
Hey all,

I was struck by lighting the other day and had this crazy idea of using a projector as a backdrop so I could use my own images for quick and easy photography backdrops.

Obviously the light from a normal projector wouldnt be powerful enough, but couldnt you use your camera flash as the light source?

The idea seemed simple enough, but I havent had any luck. I have been playing around with just sticking slides in front of my flash but no luck. Im thinking i probably need some magnifying glass somewhere to make this work, but I cant even get the image from the slide projected on my wall.

Any ideas, thought?

I know this is a crazy idea, but it seems like it would be awesome if I could get it to work.


batman

« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2009, 11:36 »
0
As a kid I used to grab my dad's slide projector and his Twin Lens Reflex to photograph the projection on the wall. You can do that, if you use a slow shutter speed . The only thing is that the contrast is ghastly. Even for kid, I knew it was not ideal for projection. But in the 90's we did use equipment for such things. Same thing used by Malak ,that famed product photographers in the 90's . They are the same blue screen that are used in movies today , except they cost much less.
You could try getting them from the pro stores. I am sure some of these are selling in used AV stores .

« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2009, 11:43 »
0
As a kid I used to grab my dad's slide projector and his Twin Lens Reflex to photograph the projection on the wall. You can do that, if you use a slow shutter speed . The only thing is that the contrast is ghastly. Even for kid, I knew it was not ideal for projection. But in the 90's we did use equipment for such things. Same thing used by Malak ,that famed product photographers in the 90's . They are the same blue screen that are used in movies today , except they cost much less.
You could try getting them from the pro stores. I am sure some of these are selling in used AV stores .

Batman to the rescue lol.

I could see how a regular old projector would work for product shots with slow shutter speeds, but im thinking of portraits (guess I should have said that). I would need at least a shutter speed around 1/60, but 1/200 would be ideal.

who/what is Malak? What equipment are you talking about here so I can Google it.

Thanks

batman

« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2009, 12:29 »
0
Malak is the brother of the great Karsh.  I think at that time when I met him he was the official flower photographer for Holland Tulip Fest,etc..
He was famous for food and flowers,while his brother rules on Portraits (Hemmingway, Trudeau, Queen, Audrey Hepburn, Churchill, etc) . They became Canada's most noted treasures from immigrant as they were as admired in Canada by students of photography and pros alike. Much like Ansel Adams have on the whole View Camera world.
You can do what you want with portraits, as Malak used background projections on all his product and nature photographs. None of the background you see in his works was  actually there, but really shot in studio with  the projection system and  screen. Same like what you see in movies today Underworld, Fantastic 4,etc.. or for the older 80's tv folks.. the TV show, Arf !.
Check out the used Pro Equipment stores, I am sure if you're lucky you could get some equipment from photographers who quit their careers to retire,for example.
It's almost 30 years since these equipment have been put to use, even an older model would do just fine for you. Try googling perharps under Background Projection Equipment of something like that. The product I used was a brown box with projector lense similar to the ones we used for slides. And a silver mylar projection screen similar to slides but probably much better quality. Not too sure about the technical component of these things, I used to sell them and also use them for demos to pro photographers.
They were awesome, esp for me as a new teenage graduate photographer in a job like that. I got to play with everything, without spending a penny. But that's a long time ago, lol.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2009, 12:39 by batman »

« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2009, 12:46 »
0
Hey thanks for the tips.

The more I think about it I guess blue screen would probably work better, it just didnt occur to me for some reason.

I wonder if there are many stock photographers out there using blue screen?

batman

« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2009, 12:56 »
0
Hey thanks for the tips.

The more I think about it I guess blue screen would probably work better, it just didnt occur to me for some reason.

I wonder if there are many stock photographers out there using blue screen?

Well, there are telltale signs, travismanley. Study the point source of light, shadow cast, difference between object shadow detail and background. You can spot it easily if you know what to look .
Unless you're a great movie producer who looks for every minute detail to correspond in the image, I am sure the average stock photographer won't have much time or need to match those details to the background. Or not the eye to notice the telltale signs to match background slide to the actual lighting in studio.

« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2009, 12:59 »
0
Obviously the light from a normal projector wouldnt be powerful enough, but couldnt you use your camera flash as the light source?

The idea seemed simple enough, but I havent had any luck. I have been playing around with just sticking slides in front of my flash but no luck. Im thinking i probably need some magnifying glass somewhere to make this work, but I cant even get the image from the slide projected on my wall.


I have been thinking about something similiar. But instead of a magnifying glass I would try to find an old/broken slide projector or enlarger to use it's lenses. The biggest problem could be aiming and focusing the thing without any light, that's of course not so big problem with digital camera when you can see the results immediately and make the needed corrections.

Here is how a projector works
« Last Edit: May 02, 2009, 13:05 by Perry »

« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2009, 13:00 »
0
--
« Last Edit: May 02, 2009, 13:05 by Perry »

« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2009, 13:05 »
0
Hey thanks for the tips.

The more I think about it I guess blue screen would probably work better, it just didnt occur to me for some reason.

I wonder if there are many stock photographers out there using blue screen?

Well, there are telltale signs, travismanley. Study the point source of light, shadow cast, difference between object shadow detail and background. You can spot it easily if you know what to look .
Unless you're a great movie producer who looks for every minute detail to correspond in the image, I am sure the average stock photographer won't have much time or need to match those details to the background. Or not the eye to notice the telltale signs to match background slide to the actual lighting in studio.

I didnt think about the contradicting light source problem either. I bet there are probably ways of avoiding that, but to the trained eye (like you said) it would probably be obvious.

Still something to look into.

batman

« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2009, 13:11 »
0
travis, i wouldn't worry for micro stock. but if you're going to shoot a movie , perharps you would be more concerned, or else your fellow directors are going to laugh . but micro, i wouldn't worry. so long as you keep to their protocol of noise free, fringe free, etc...  i am sure not too many reviewers are going to say, "ha! you're shadows are inconsistent !" except maybe Atilla the great  who would reject it as a snapshot!  ;D

gotta go now, my bat mobile-phone is ringing.  have fun with your background projection unit ! nice talking to you. you brought back lots of nostalgic good photographic memories for me !
« Last Edit: May 02, 2009, 13:16 by batman »

« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2009, 13:14 »
0
Interesting idea.  Maybe rear projection onto a translucent screen would work better - then you wouldn't have the slide projector in your way, in front where the subject is, and its light would only hit the background.  You'd need some flash on the foreground subject I think.


« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2009, 13:16 »
0
A little OT, but who is this Atilla I keep hearing about?

« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2009, 13:36 »
0
I used to use a projector to get a sky background when I used to shoot architectural models. Because it was all film, the work was very fiddly. It turned out okay although I never really liked the outcome that much. This with a good medium format projector which was way brighter than a 35mm unit. The lighting has to balance. Plus you have to project from an angle which will give some weird focus issues. There is a reason why isolation have become so popular.

« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2009, 13:41 »
0
I used to use a projector to get a sky background when I used to shoot architectural models. Because it was all film, the work was very fiddly. It turned out okay although I never really liked the outcome that much. This with a good medium format projector which was way brighter than a 35mm unit. The lighting has to balance. Plus you have to project from an angle which will give some weird focus issues. There is a reason why isolation have become so popular.

Ya, this is why im thinking maybe blue screen might be a good idea. If I could get the lighting right for a non-photoshop isolation that would work too. I was just hoping for something that wasnt going to break the bank.

stacey_newman

« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2009, 13:50 »
0
there is a contributor on iStock who does this very well - gremlin. it is a cool idea, I'd like to try it also. though I think it lends a very artsy look to the image. I wouldn't use it much for stock.

« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2009, 13:53 »
0
there is a contributor on iStock who does this very well - gremlin. it is a cool idea, I'd like to try it also. though I think it lends a very artsy look to the image. I wouldn't use it much for stock.

I was actually thinking of using it more for non-stock portraits, but if it worked out well maybe seeing if I could it for stock too.

Man those blue/green screens are expensive and all the reviews on them are horrible.

« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2009, 13:58 »
0
I think you are pretty much talking about this: http://www.virtualbackgrounds.net/home.html

Has been done many years. Doesn't look real.

Some people like the post-cardy style...

« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2009, 14:08 »
0
I think you are pretty much talking about this: http://www.virtualbackgrounds.net/home.html

Has been done many years. Doesn't look real.

Some people like the post-cardy style...


Yup, that is pretty much what I had in mind. Those look really big and expensive. Not really what I was hoping for...oh well.

« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2009, 14:12 »
0
Here is one of Gremlin's shots that looks like he was using a projector

http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-9186638-leaf-girl.php

Hope he doesnt mind me posting this.

I wonder how he is doing this?

stacey_newman

« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2009, 14:22 »
0
yes, that is one of the series I was thinking of. I love his work, though again, not what I would shoot for stock. and until Vogue comes knocking at my door to shoot for them, I can't justify the expense of artsy shoots like that.


batman

« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2009, 14:39 »
0
I think you are pretty much talking about this: http://www.virtualbackgrounds.net/home.html

Has been done many years. Doesn't look real.

Some people like the post-cardy style...


it all depends on your slide. just as you have to take into consideration when you're submitting for newspaper, you don't submit a B&W that is perfect Zone VI tehcnique you learn with Ansel Adams seminars, you submit a lower contrast as you know the end product on newprints will increase the contrast, you also shoot the background projection slide and process them in a different way as you would for slide presentation. This way your background will not look postcardy, it looks natural.
As I said, Malak was a master for that, and he didn't do this just fudging through.
The bad reviews and bad results are the same thing as every technical issues, they did not understand the process . As always "a bad workman blames his tools".

batman

« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2009, 14:48 »
0
I used to use a projector to get a sky background when I used to shoot architectural models. Because it was all film, the work was very fiddly. It turned out okay although I never really liked the outcome that much. This with a good medium format projector which was way brighter than a 35mm unit. The lighting has to balance. Plus you have to project from an angle which will give some weird focus issues. There is a reason why isolation have become so popular.

Yes, remember in those days, we did not have PS to save us. Everything was done on film and we had to retouch either on film or end product. Takes hours.  And there is not room for error which cost more money. I think we only started talking layers when Amiga came out with Photo Deluxe and it was a crude version of PS today.
But Zeus, you are right, if I was doing it today, I would n't bother with background projection. I'd do it with PS and use layers. 15 -20 minutes, instead of going through all those hassles to process the slides,etc... Cost too much today. We did it because there was no simpler and cheaper way.
PS changed all that.

« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2009, 14:49 »
0
im not sure why im having a hard time getting this to work. If you stick a gel in front of your light it projects the color onto your subject, why wouldnt this work with a slide? Maybe I should try some different slides.

Im using my canon 430ex with a custom gel holder I made and a sketch on some clear plastic I put in the gel holder. (the sketch is just for testing, ideally I would print an image on a transparency and use that)

« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2009, 14:50 »
0
Here is one of Gremlin's shots that looks like he was using a projector

http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-9186638-leaf-girl.php

Hope he doesnt mind me posting this.

I wonder how he is doing this?


Have you tried a good ol "double-exposure" ?  

« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2009, 14:55 »
0
Here is one of Gremlin's shots that looks like he was using a projector

http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-9186638-leaf-girl.php

Hope he doesnt mind me posting this.

I wonder how he is doing this?


Have you tried a good ol "double-exposure" ?  


That would work, but for what I want to do I would have to mask the model out and if im doing that i might as well just isolated in PS.

« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2009, 15:04 »
0
Yeah true... Hmmm.   I need to change to my smart brain :D It seems so easy.   

What if you just tell the model to be still ? and shoot without a flash.

batman

« Reply #26 on: May 02, 2009, 15:05 »
0


who/what is Malak? What equipment are you talking about here so I can Google it.

Thanks


Travis, just wikied Malak and found this...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malak_Karsh

« Reply #27 on: May 02, 2009, 15:07 »
0


who/what is Malak? What equipment are you talking about here so I can Google it.

Thanks


Travis, just wikied Malak and found this...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malak_Karsh


thanks

batman

« Reply #28 on: May 02, 2009, 15:08 »
0
if you're good and using SE, try to find his works for the Tulip Fest in Holland, I remember my H.O. sent me a couple of books from Holland where Malak had lots of photos shot using the product that the company I worked loaned him to use. These would be in the 80's, of course. (Geesh, I'm feeling old like T Rex already, lol)

« Reply #29 on: May 03, 2009, 08:22 »
0
im not sure why im having a hard time getting this to work. If you stick a gel in front of your light it projects the color onto your subject, why wouldnt this work with a slide? Maybe I should try some different slides.

Im using my canon 430ex with a custom gel holder I made and a sketch on some clear plastic I put in the gel holder. (the sketch is just for testing, ideally I would print an image on a transparency and use that)

You need a lens to focus the image.

« Reply #30 on: May 03, 2009, 10:27 »
0
im not sure why im having a hard time getting this to work. If you stick a gel in front of your light it projects the color onto your subject, why wouldnt this work with a slide? Maybe I should try some different slides.

Im using my canon 430ex with a custom gel holder I made and a sketch on some clear plastic I put in the gel holder. (the sketch is just for testing, ideally I would print an image on a transparency and use that)

You need a lens to focus the image.

Im guessing you are probably right. Maybe im in over my head on this one. Im not sure how I would put this whole thing together.

« Reply #31 on: May 03, 2009, 10:46 »
0
Copy the slide to a micro-film and put it between the lens and camera.   Don know how but...


batman

« Reply #32 on: May 03, 2009, 10:53 »
0
sounds like you desperately want to succeed in using projection.
ok, travis, the cheapest way is to rent an overhead projector, and get one of those gel to project. with these gel or transparency, actually, that what they are called,
you can draw, paint, whatever on these transparency and it will project without any problem. these equipment are cheap, and can be found anywhere, as during my days selling AV equipment, HR managers  of companies buy them for training their employees, or Accounting people use them for boardroom.
( found this on wiki so you can see the equipment  i mean)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overhead_projector

Once again, you have to test shoot how to balance the contrast.
I don't know how you are going to balance the subject in the portrait, though.
because you need all the lights off for these overhead projector to work.

hey, it makes great silhouettes with the transparency projection on the person standing in the way of the screen. so who knows, you could start a niche with these kinds of body painting images without using paints.

good luck. you sound so eager .  PM me some of your results, maybe i can help further ..
« Last Edit: May 03, 2009, 10:58 by batman »

« Reply #33 on: May 03, 2009, 10:58 »
0
Combining two images looks probably more realistic but its a lot of work. I've never tried to shoot in a studio and then combine with an outdoor scene, I would think it would be tuff to get the lighting/shadows right as mentioned. I do a lot of image combining, here is a couple that I did in photoshop recently that I thought came out alright.

http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-9023912-woman-lounging-at-beach-in-paradise.php

http://www.istockphoto.com/file_closeup.php?id=9041578

batman

« Reply #34 on: May 03, 2009, 11:05 »
0
Combining two images looks probably more realistic but its a lot of work. I've never tried to shoot in a studio and then combine with an outdoor scene, I would think it would be tuff to get the lighting/shadows right as mentioned. I do a lot of image combining, here is a couple that I did in photoshop recently that I thought came out alright.

http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-9023912-woman-lounging-at-beach-in-paradise.php

http://www.istockphoto.com/file_closeup.php?id=9041578


yes Christian, that is excellent. i know your images and you master them well.
with PS available today, i would go that way.
as for combining the right layers , it's not that difficult esp. for you as you shoot in a lot of different situations . i would simply shoot plain background wherever you shoot on location, so you have a library of different lighting situations to match the master layer you want.

it's so much simpler using layers because you have full control of level, contrast, cc,etc..
unlike the ancient days of background projection. your work of just getting the correct slide would take up a lot of time, then it's combining the lighting with the studio lighting,etc...
believe me, if i had to do it all over again,  i'll tell you, "forget it, give me Photoshop layers ".
 i 'd rather spend the rest of the time saved laying on the beach next to your lovely model and offer her a Guiness to enjoy the sunshine with her  ;D

« Reply #35 on: May 03, 2009, 11:37 »
0
Good advice to get a few shots of the plain background, I don't know how many times I've forgot to do that and kicked myself later (must have been the rum?). Agree that photoshop is the way to go these days with endless possibilities. As long as the images are shot in a similar situation with similar depth and angle it seems to work out pretty good.

« Reply #36 on: May 05, 2009, 10:14 »
0
sounds like you desperately want to succeed in using projection.


I hate when I come off sounding desperate, lol.

Im just a little obsessive I guess. I get an idea and its all I can think about. After talking about this and mulling it over im pretty much convinced blue screen or PS is going to be the way to go. I am pretty good at isolating in PS, its just takes so much time. I am looking at getting some new lights that im hoping will allow me to knock out the backdrop in camera with no PS, so that could potentially be better than projecting a backdrop that I am stuck with. Also like was mentioned before the images quality on the projected image would probably suck, so im better off compositing in PS where I have more control.

Thanks for all the tips guys!

batman

« Reply #37 on: May 05, 2009, 10:35 »
0
yes, for sure. if you don't spend on getting the proper background projection unit, i can guarantee not too many of the images will get approved. the contrast of a makeshift unit is horrible to say the least.
as i said, if you can find one of these units we sold in the 80's , maybe some movie houses, or university that teaches movie production, etc.. you might get it cheap, as they will be buying new ones and better ones .
if not, PS is so much cheaper, faster, and less headaches. the bottom line, your production cost , if you do PS yourself , is far lower.  for micro especially, i won't even bother spending money anymore, the way things look.


 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
7 Replies
4458 Views
Last post May 04, 2009, 08:24
by tan510jomast
10 Replies
3167 Views
Last post May 24, 2009, 11:13
by mjp
4 Replies
3264 Views
Last post August 24, 2010, 23:11
by eyeCatchLight
2 Replies
2524 Views
Last post September 24, 2015, 07:45
by Mantis
29 Replies
6234 Views
Last post May 22, 2018, 01:28
by increasingdifficulty

Sponsors

Microstock Poll Results