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How do you do....it? Thread, Digital projected backgrounds for plays in Technical; Hello All, We have a snazzy new drama studio, complete with snazzy cinema-sized motorized drop-down screen and widescreen (1280 X ...
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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Digital projected backgrounds for plays

    Hello All,

    We have a snazzy new drama studio, complete with snazzy cinema-sized motorized drop-down screen and widescreen (1280 X 768) projector. As well as being good for showing films on the screen is proving to be very useful for projecting background images onto for various productions - GCSE and A-level drama performances, school plays, etc.

    How many other people use anything similar? Does anyone else out there make use of digital projected backgrounds? How do you do yours? We've been simply loading images in order into a PowerPoint file, but is there more specislised software available anywhere?

    Something we've also tried is using a video loop as a background. For an A-level drama performance we had a picture of a playground with a swing in it, with an emptry swing swinging back and forwards. It wasn't bad at short notice, but when PowerPoint loops a video file it pauses for a moment while it loops back to the start, which looks a bit duff as the swing is meant to be in constant motion. Also, encoding the whole image, even the still bits, as a WMV video file meant that you could see the difference between the start and end of the loop if you were paying reasonably close attention - there's always a few encoding differences and the image seems to shimmer slightly, even though it's supposed to be still. I figured a Flash-based image might solve this problem better - just animate the moving parts, with a plain still (and hi-res) image as the background.

    Does anyone know of any good resources around? Is there a website that specialises in background images/video loops for projecting? Has anyone used anything like Nature Illusion to produce "moving" background images? Can anyone recommend some software at all?

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    David Hicks

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    Domino's Avatar
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    While at Uni I did something similar for some productions using flash.

    The advantages being you can have proper loops and also have triggerable actions that will occur on a button press rather than a timecode, etc.

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    Joedetic's Avatar
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    We just tend to use powerpoint but it is something that is being put into use more and more I believe.

    As it happens we're having a huge motorized projector screen, PA and projector fitted onto our stage today...shame the stage is a mess though

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joedetic View Post
    it is something that is being put into use more and more I believe.
    Indeed. I'm not bothered so much about the technicalities of how to show an image or video loop on the screen, I'm wondering more if anyone out there has any ready-made backgrounds. Sure, you can rummage around on the Internet and find stuff, but it always takes a while, you can never be sure of findging exactly what you want, licensing might be an issue, and often the images you find don't fit exactly to size and aspect ratio of the screen you have. Is there a canonical place for people to go to to find digital background images - a backgrounds-R-us type of all-in-one website - or is there a bit of an opening in the market there still?

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