Open Forum

1.  Using images on a scrim

Posted 05-18-2017 19:23
I am delving into the wonderful world of projected images next year and wondered if there is a program or app that people use to find images or if you use students to design the images you use and how all of that works. I'd love any tips or insight!
Lisa Singleterry
Portland Christian Schools
Elementary Music & Band Teacher
High School Drama Director
Masters of Arts in Teaching

2.  RE: Using images on a scrim

Posted 05-19-2017 08:12
Using a scrim for images can be tricky because they are see through. When projecting on a scrim you can often see the double image on whatever is behind it. I have avoided this by closing our black velour curtain behind it, which absorbs the light and the image and you can no longer see it.  I am sure other black surfaces would work too.

You can make your images in any program really, but I swear by Qlab in order to project my images/videos and to play the music. It gives you total control and so many options. You can rent it too, instead of outright purchasing. Educational institutions get a discount if you email them.

Also be wary of projecting through the actors, you will be able to see the images on them, and sometimes they complain about the light in their eyes.

Dan Mellitz
Technical Director
St Andrews School
Barrington, RI

3.  RE: Using images on a scrim

Posted 05-19-2017 08:44
If you do want actors in front of the image you can put then in a bright special and that will wash out the image and it won't be seen.

John Perry
Drama Instructor
Atherton High School
Louisville KY

4.  RE: Using images on a scrim

Posted 05-21-2017 11:28
Do you have a scrim or do you have a cyclorama? People sometimes confuse these two and it's likely if you have a pretty standard set up that you have a cyc and not a scrim or maybe that you have one of each. A scrim can be challenging because of some of the notes made already in this post thread, where a cyc won't have the same challenges, but might have other ones.

We project on our cyc which is far upstage from a projector set up on 3rd electric so it is high up pointing at the cyc from above the actors which keeps them from getting in the path of the projection. We also project from a rear projector mounted to the back wall of our stage about 25 feet up, to a 20 foot wide projection screen that is about mid-stage. Both options are workable, but not ideal, and neither option reaches across our entire stage for a fully projected backdrop. We can close in legs and masking around either projection to bring the space in much smaller, but the cost and finding a way to set up a projector that wouldn't be in the way of actors or set moving around isn't possible in our space.

Projecting on a cyc is challenging because if anyone walks near or, or even when our a/c comes on the movement of air can make it wave and breaks up a projection in a way that wouldn't be as much of an issue for lights or even gobos really. Our rear projection screen is stretched tight and works really well without having that movement, but to project from the rear we have to have that mid-stage to get it far enough from the projector that we get that large of an image.

Maybe try to play around with projection, see if your media center at your school or district has an old one you can borrow and try placing it in different areas of your space and projecting it onto your scrim or cyc or whatever else you have that you want to try. We have even used our back wall a few times with projecting white words on a black background and that looks cool when projected on a black wall.

If you want full stage projection you probably want to call in someone to measure your space and help you select the right size  projector, help you find one for your budget, and assisting with mounting it if needed. Again someone from your media center may be able to assist with assessing the situation (even though we all know they won't help with the purchase) and might have connections already established with the district to get special pricing through a certain company.

As far as programs we use for projecting, our students tend to prefer Pro Presenter, but it's expensive and probably unnecessary (it was gifted to us by a church that also uses our auditorium space and does projections on Sundays). We can and have used everything from iMovie (we have two macs that run all of our lights/sound/projection, to powerpoint, to simple google slides, depending on what we want for the need and often what other people bring in for their events like meetings and such. We project for just about every event, even if it's just text on the cyc announcing the event like "Awards Ceremony 2017."

I hope this helps.

Kathleen McNulty Mann

Arnold High School Theatre
Panama City Beach, FL
Program Director and Thespian Sponsor

Florida Association for Theatre Education
Board Member
Membership Committee Chair