Pro Cyc: Tell us about the von Tagen Brothers music video shoot with DisruptAR?
Tyler von Tagen: DisruptAR.com provided the technology, and Pro Cyc provided the green screen background. All that was needed was the song and someone to perform it, and that’s where I had the opportunity to pitch in. Pro Cyc flew me and my wife up to Massachusetts to write the storyboards and record a complete professional-level music video right there in a garage!
It was unbelievable what could be done in such a small space. The content that we were able to capture that week with DisruptAR’s team alongside a Pro Cyc green screen cyc wall was nothing like I’ve ever filmed before. This music video was just the first of many more to come, I’m sure of it. This is just the beginning.
Pro Cyc: Tell us about the virtual production studio components you use to pull everything together?
Paul Lacombe: The DisruptAR virtual production studio featured a two-wall Pro Cyc green screen in my garage combining: a PC80 and PC160 portable green screen (basically a PC240 divided into two parts) with a separate piece of Pro Matte flooring material to make the corner, which was attached on the back side with carpet tape. Pro Cyc doesn’t normally recommend combining their portable green screens into an L-shape with a corner, but it worked like a charm for us because we could not construct a normal hard cyc in the garage. The production included six creative people working together over a weekend, using a Sprinter van control room and the garage studio.
Pro Cyc: What did you like about our Pro Cyc PC 240 portable green screen?
Paul Lacombe: I love the flexibility of the Pro Cyc PC240 portable green screen. Normally it measures about 20ft. wide and up to 10ft high as a straight wall sweep. As you see in our garage studio we modified the PC240 to create a corner cyc wall which allowed us to shoot from multiple angles. To save space, rather than using the heavy duty junior stands to mount it, we mounted it on auto-poles with Pro Cyc’s super clamp adapters and it was very easy to set up.
Pro Cyc: How are you using the DisruptAR virtual production van?
Paul Lacombe: DisruptAR now has now gone mobile with an all-terrain Sprinter van featuring 10,000 Watts of power, 500 Watt Solar Roof deck working in a 5 person Virtual Production Van. Other features include: portable Pro Cyc green screen, led lighting, 3-cameras, Ultimatte 12, Unreal Engine and a Jib. We pulled the van up to my garage for this music video and had a lot of fun shooting on the virtual set with the modified Pro Cyc PC240.
We selected the Pro Cyc PC240 portable green screen because of its portability and ease of setting up and tearing down, and because Pro Cyc uses the best chroma key materials that are washable and durable so we will be able to reuse the green screen on the next shoot. The portable green screen rolls up into a tube along with the stands and fits perfectly into the van.
Pro Cyc Pro Tips by Sean von Tagan
When lighting a large green screen wall, or multiple walls, for a virtual production, the more nuanced and advanced lighting techniques will vary depending on the virtual set being used and the skill and techniques used by various lighting and photography directors. However, here are a few tips and tricks for lighting a green screen background that we recommend starting with on almost all virtual sets:
1) ALWAYS light the green screen separately from the talent. While the talent will most likely be lit to complement the lighting in the virtual background, the lighting on the green screen wall itself should be extremely diffuse and even to eliminate any hotspots or unwanted shadows which will affect the quality of the key. This is generally accomplished with larger “flood” light sources that are spaced evenly and next to one another across the top of the green screen at an even distance from the wall. As a rule of thumb, we recommend placing the lights approximately 1 foot away from the wall for every 2 feet of wall height – e.g. if your wall is 12 feet high, place the lights about 6 feet away from the wall). Angle each light downwards so that the light hits the wall as evenly as possible all the way down. We have also had excellent results by hanging 12 to 18 inches of diffusion fabric such as Rosco Tough Spun from the top of each light to further soften the light at the top which is closest to the wall and therefore the brightest.
2) Do not “over light” your wall. One of the most common mistakes we see is people flooding their green screen walls with extremely bright light. While it can make the green screen stand out and look impressive to the eye, this is unnecessary and can cause excess green spill due to the strong reflection on the talent, resulting in a poor key. Each chroma keyer, whether hardware or software, handles compositing slightly differently so there is no one-size-fits-all level of brightness. Therefore we recommend lighting your wall evenly and bright enough to kill shadows, but not overly bright. Moreover, the wall should not be overexposed compared to the talent. In some cases, a slightly underexposed wall (e.g. 1 stop below the talent) can help render an excellent key. We recommend experimenting with your lighting and keying hardware or software to find the right illumination level for your wall.
3) Use backlighting on the talent to kill green spill. While the first rule of thumb to reduce spill is to keep the talent as far from the wall as possible, on smaller sets this is not always feasible. In these cases, using small directed lighting aimed at the back of the talent, especially the shoulders and hair on lighter color hair, can drastically reduce unwanted spill reflecting from the wall. This will result in a much better key on your talent as it enables your chroma keyer to more accurately separate the talent from the green screen.
4) If your green screen set includes a green floor, use “up-lights” on the floor angled up at the talent to kill the green spill reflecting up from the floor.
5) On a more advanced virtual set that includes head-to-toe camera angles and camera tracking, consider using a powerful hard light placed at a high angle on the talent. This will create a subtle shadow on the ground that will be visible as the talent moves across the floor on the virtual background. This can add an additional element of believability to your virtual set that further helps “trick” the viewer’s mind that what they are seeing is real. Of course, you will need to be using one of the more advanced chroma keyers that can handle fine details like shadows and hair detail and render them realistically on the composited background.
Nov 30 2023
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