Projector ‘poor mans process’

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      I’m a gaffer beginning the move to step up and over to DP and I have a low budget short film coming up.

      60% of the film take place in a Bedford Rascal van, some static, some in motion. The motion parts will be captured in a studio with a 20k lumen projector, displayed against a white cove cyc.

      I will also have 1 or 2 smaller projectors bounced into overhead/frames to create the feeling of motion in reflections.

      There is a morning, day and night scene.

      Shooting on Mini with promos.

      I am going to capture the footage tomorrow using GoPro 12s and was planning to angle the GPs in the rough direction the camera will be looking. There was an idea to use a 360 camera as well as a back up but this is TBD.

      I think to be safe I will also get some footage with the go pros turned parallel with the car looking out

      The GPs will be set to cinema mode, 5.3K, 25FPS, H264, linear + horizon levelling (although might need to test that on the day).

      The other settings I’m not 100% on such as white balance, shutter, and ISO in relation with my camera settings on the day so any advice on that will be great.

      Luckily I am getting a projector test day but would hope to get the footage right so it doesn’t have to be repeated 🙂


      Other than the above would there be any other advice on the footage capture and on the day filming to get the smoothest results? Although, the final product doesn’t need to look completely realistic as it is quite a stylised film



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    • #215002

        I will be shooting the footage at the time of day specific to the film so I will capture the driving footage at 56k (or a bit cool it a bit to make it warmer for the morning).

        And I am guessing I should fine the ISO across the camera to get best exposure.




        Roger Deakins

          For ‘The Man Who Wasn’t There’ we chose the shots we would be shooting in the car and recorded the angle to the car, height off the ground and lens length. When we shot our plates we used these references.

          The times I have used projection we also shot with the same lens length that we would use for the main action. If you shoot a 360º then it follows that you have more flexibility with your actual shots but you might still want to be careful with what lenses you use.



            Correcting some fast typing and no checking

            I will be shooting the footage at the time of day specific to the film so I will capture the driving footage at 56k (or cool it a bit to make it warmer for the morning).

            And I am guessing I should fix the ISO to get the correct exposure per shot.


            Hi Roger, good to hear I’m thinking in the right direction then. Can I ask what your thinking was behind that as I was mainly going on instinct on this one?

            Interesting on the lenses. I was hoping just to use the GoPros linear mode which says its 19-39mm, although that should cover me on lens choice.

            Can I ask what you did with the shutter on the capture cameras? Kept it the same as main action or added more motion?

            Also if you don’t mind me asking, what were your lighting tricks for lighting motions through trees etc that I saw in ‘The man who wasn’t there’?




            Roger Deakins

              I was shooting film and I used a regular shutter opening.

              A plate shot on an 18mm, for instance, from the same camera position as the main camera shot, if that is a 40mm, will not match. Both the perspective and the lens distortion will be different. If you are shooting a wide background and selecting a part of that background to match with your main camera shot then it is viable and only what is done on the ‘volume’. But shooting a specific plate for a specific background is different.

              I used branches on a revolving pipe rig to mimic the trees that were in the plate. We had the plate playing on a small screen so we could judge the speed and timing with the background.

              That was about it. We also shot our plates at a specific time of day to justify the sunlight playing on the car interor..


                The focal length you use also depends on how much of the plate you’ll be cropping into. With car scenes, usually there is a 1:1 ratio because the edges of the screen are mostly blocked by the car body, plus in the days of 35mm 1.85, your plate was probably shot and projected 4-perf 35mm full aperture but your camera’s 1.85 frame lines were slightly cropping in on this. So you’d use the same focal length for the plate and the stage shot.  But if you need to crop into the projected image more, you should shoot the plate on a slightly wider focal length.

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