Using video as background scenography in theatre

Pablo's picture
Last seen: 5 years 2 months ago
Joined: 07/02/2009 - 6:28am

Dear all,

I am not sure if this is the right forum to post this. But I have seen some live theatre performances (plays and musicals) that instead of using tradicional backgrounds (usually painted on fabric) they project a video.

The video is not completely still usually but is has some minor movement, reflecting for e.g. a landscape, a sky, etc.

I believe that the bottom part of the composition is almost dark, so the projection is not seen on actors' body. Is this right?

I would like to know if you believe this technique is difficult for doing it in a medium-size theater (let's say a stage about 30feet wide and 25 feet tall)?

What program and or thecnique is used to design the background? After effects? Premiere? (I regularly use the Adobe Suite)

What kind of projector?

grinner's picture
Last seen: 8 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 12/29/2007 - 2:56am

rear projection is fine much of the time, depending on lighting. Shadows being a problem with front projection, more and more you'll see the use of LED screens. They work the same as old jumbotrons, really. I've used everything from after effects to Avids to produce content for these screens.

Pablo's picture
Last seen: 5 years 2 months ago
Joined: 07/02/2009 - 6:28am

Thank you very much, Grinner. Unfortunately, the only way is front projection due to the construction of the theater and budget is very low (independent production) to think in LED, so anything above a projector connected to a DVD player/computer is beyond our possibilities.

XTR-91's picture
Last seen: 3 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 12/06/2008 - 8:57pm

I'd use an above projector to the amount of how much you can adjust your projector to get a straight (unschewed) picture

PJ McConnell's picture
Last seen: 3 years 1 month ago
Joined: 11/12/2010 - 2:19pm

I can see how this might work, but on a bright stage I can't see the projector being bright enough to be able to see the background clearly enough. Likewise if the stage was too dark your background would glow and illuminate your actors from the back, which could look really cheesey, or if you purposely want to make silhouettes that would be pretty neat.

You can test it out and may be successful, but I wouldn't bank on it.

In terms of creating it are you speaking about animating it all, or filming a scene yourself and looping it to play in the background?