Digital projected backgrounds for plays
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?