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Andrew G Mueller

Shooting a digital projector with a film camera.

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I'm shooting a scene in a movie theatre. The camera will see the screen. The image on the screen will be projected with a 24-frame HD digital projector (Panasonic PTDW10000U) from a HD-CAM tape at 23.976fps. We are shooting the scene with 2 SRIII's that will need to intercut.


I anticipate that there will not be a problem with flicker, phasing or image integrity, but I've yet to talk to someone who has affirmed this theory 100%. Some have recommended I shoot with a 144 degree shutter with the camera set at 23.976 fps. I figure I will be able to see any sort of problem through the eyepiece if I test roll the camera w/o film while the image is projected, but by then I don't want it to be too late to order a sync box or some such device.


I'm curious of anyone out there has shot something similar and can give me a definitive answer so I'm not left guessing on set. Also, it's obviously important that both cameras are capturing the image with the same integrity.


Thank you.

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The good news is that the projector you're using is a three chip DLP. They generally have light on the screen pretty much full time, so no matter how you shoot, you'll get something. They do control the brightness of individual pixels by turning them on and off very rapidly, but I've never heard of this beating against a camera shutter. Forget about 144 degrees, that's just for old time NTSC cathode ray tube TV sets. Shoot the widest shutter angle you can.


You may want to see if you can get a sync box of some kind. What it'll do for you is make sure that each new film frame gets only one projected frame. If both the projector and camera are free-running, sometimes you'll get the projector frame changes (pulldowns sorta, only there's no real pulling or shuttering involved) during the film exposures. Testing with an empty camera using the mirror reflex viewfinder is a good idea. Remember, though, while you're shooting, that what you see in the finder in terms of time is exactly what you *don't* get on the film.





-- J.S.

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If you do have to go to sync boxes and are shooting both cameras at the same time, you are going to need to have both cameras synced together, which means two sync boxes. Would green screen be an option??

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3 chip DLP projector will be fine with regard to flicker using 180 degree shutter at 24 frames,and you will not require sync. The UHM in the Panasonic bulb will tend to photograph slightly green, and you may want to correct with 1/8 Magenta.

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