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Hack 14. Build Your Own Blue Screen

Hack 14. Build Your Own Blue Screen

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havefun!



1.15.2.GatheringtheMaterials

Inordertoconstructyourbluescreen,you'llobviouslyneedasetofmaterials.

Thiswillrequirearuntoyourlocalstripmalltopickupthefollowingsupplies:

Oneblueplastictableclothroll,around100'x40"(partysupplystore;$13)

Nine1'x3'pinefurringstrips(homeimprovementstore;$10)

Onehardware-stylestapler(thekindusedforstaplinginsulation)with

staples(homeimprovementstore;$20)

Onesaw(homeimprovementstore;$20)

Onelevel(homeimprovementstore;$3$10)

Optionalformountingonbasementwalls:onecanofLiquid-Nails(home

improvementstore;$4)

Youshouldmakesureyougetaparentorspouse-approvedroomfortheproject.

Myspouse-approvedroomwasanunusedstorageroominthebasement.This

wasgoodforme,becauseitalsohappenstobethelargestroominthehouse!

Figure1-21showsmeassessingtheconcretewall.

Thestripsusedtomountthebluescreenareremovable,buttheLiquid-Nailswill

leaveamarkon(orstripthesurfaceof)concrete.Ifyouscrewthestripsinto

drywall,thescrewswillleaveholesandthestripsarelikelytoleaveacrease.If

you'remountingonconcrete,you'llneedtochooseyourpoison.



1.15.3.MountingthePineStrips

Theblueplasticisthinenoughtoseethroughifitliesagainstthewall,soyou

mightwanttousethestripsevenifyou'remountingonplaindrywall.Icouldn't

reallymounttheplasticagainstthebrickwall;plus,thewallwouldshow



through.Thestripsleaveagapbetweentheplasticandthewall,andtheymake

iteasytomounttheplasticbyjustusingstaples.

Figure1-21.Assessingtheconcretewall



Beforemountingthestripstothewall(asshowninFigure1-22),makesureyou

measureforfitandcutthestripstosize.Also,usealeveltomarkoffa

horizontallineforeachsetofstrips.Makesuretoleaveroomforoverlapatthe

center,soiftheplasticis40incheswide,spacetheaboutstrips36inchesapart.

Figure1-22.Carefullymountingthepinestrips



Finally,mountthestripsalongyourmarkings.Ifyou'remountingtodrywall,

youcouldusedrywallscrewstomountthestripstothewall.Justrememberthat

theywillleavemarks.Ifthedrywallisasolid,lightcolor,youmightbeableto

stapletheplasticdirectlytothewall.Thestapleswillleaveonlysmallholes,but

therewillbelotsofthem.

Iwasmountingtocinderblocks,soIusedacanofLiquid-Nails.Liquid-Nailsis

likecaulk,butitbecomesmuchharderandstronger.Itbondsextremelywellto

brick,concrete,andwood.Iappliedthegluetothewallandthewoodbefore

mounting,whichyieldedgoodresults.Thegluetakes10to30minutestoset,so

youmightwanttohavesomeextrawoodaroundtoleanagainstthestripsto

holdtheminplacewhilethegluedries.



1.15.4.AddingtheBlueScreen

Now,wecanfinallymountthebluescreenitself,asshowninFigure1-23.Roll

outthelengthofmaterialneededandstartstapling!Workacrossfromoneside

totheother.Usethreeorfourstaplesperfoottopreventtearingasyoupull

tensiononthematerial.Aftergoingafootortwoonthetopend,workthe

bottomendtoo.



Thestripsaremountedhorizontallyfortworeasons.First,thiscreates

asingleseam,horizontally,inthefinishedscreen.Thisismucheasier

toaddressinpost-productionthanseveralverticalseams.Second,it's

easiertoworkfromside-to-sidealongtwostripsofmaterial,thanupand-downandup-and-downforseveralshorterverticalstrips.



Figure1-23.Mountingthebluescreen



Makesureyoupullthematerialastightaspossiblewithouttearingforeach

stapletokeepthefinishedscreenflat.Igoofedwhenplacingthepinestrips,and

theyweretoofaraparttocompletelyoverlapthetwopieces.Tofillthegap,I

justusedsomeblue,painter'smaskingtape.Figure1-24showsthecompleted

bluescreen,alongwiththepainter'stapetocoverthegoof.

Hopefully,youwilllearnfrommymistakeandmeasureitproperlyfromthe

start.

Figure1-24.Thefinalbluescreen



1.15.5.AddingtheFinishingTouches

Tofinish,Iaddedsomeexcessmaterialtothetopandbottomaswellastothe

adjacentwall.Ididcoveroverthebasementdoor,butthestripsarescrewedinto

thedoorframeratherthangluedtothewall.

Butdoesitwork?Sureitdoes!Figures1-25and1-26showtwoexamplesof

compositesdoneusingthisbluescreenroom.

Figure1-25.Shotonthehome-builtbluescreen



Ifyouwouldliketoseesomeofthevideocreatedusingthisbluescreen,you

cancheckoutthemovieatthefollowingURLs:



WindowsMedia

http://www.hiddenphantom.com/Scene3/03Share.WMV



QuickTime

http://www.hiddenphantom.com/Scene3/03Share.mov

Youjusthavetolovedigitalvideotechnology!



Figure1-26.Asuccessfullycompositedimage



NickJushchyshyn



Hack15.StabilizeYourShots



Usingamonopod,yourvideocamera,anda5-to10-poundweight,youcan

createyourownshotstabilizer.

Ifyouhaveeverattemptedtowalkandrecordvideoatthesametime,youhave

probablynoticedtheinevitablejiggleinyoufootage.Inordertoovercomethis

highlydistractingresult,anumberofcompanieshavebroughtproductsto

market.MostnotableistheSteadiCam,whichisaprofessionalsolutiontoallow

thecamerapersontomovearoundfreelywhilemaintainingasmoothimage.The

problemis,SteadiCamgearisquiteexpensiveandtheknowledgeofhowtouse

itisnotreadilyavailable.

Fortunately,youcancoupleamonopodandastandardweight(thetypeyou

mightfindinagym)tocreateasolutiontostabilizeyourshots.Byattachinga

weighttothebottomofamonopod,youwillbeabletocounterbalanceyour

camerawhenitisattachedtothetop.Thereareagreatnumberofmonopods

available,butIpreferthosebyBogen-Manfrotto(http://www.bogenimaging.us/)

becauseyoucanreallyabusethemandtheendcapisremovableoncertain

models.



1.16.1.AssemblingtheStabilizer

Onceyouhaveselectedandpurchasedyourmonopod,youwillwanttoattacha

weighttothebottomofit.Ifyourmodopodhasaremovableendcap,youcan

removetheend-capfromthemonopod,slidetheweightontothebottom,and

reattachtheend-cap.Figure1-27showstheresult.

Ifyourmonopoddoesn'thavearemovablecaponthebottom,thenyoucandrill

aholethroughthebottomportionofthemonopod,slidetheweighton,andthen

placeaboltthroughyourholetokeeptheweightattached.



Figure1-27.Amonopodwithasmallweightattached



Itisimportantthatyouattachtheweighttothebottomofthe

monopod;otherwise,youwillnotcountertheweightofyourcamera.



Onceyouhaveassembledyourmonopodandweight,placeyourcameraontop

ofthemonopodandsecureitappropriately,asshowninFigure1-28.

Figure1-28.Counter-balancedmonopodwithcamera



1.16.2.UsingtheStabilizer

Tousethestabilizer,liftandholdthemonopodofftheground.Asyouwalk

around,yourarmandshoulderwillactasatypeofshockabsorber,allowingthe

shottoremainsteady.Youmightevenbeabletojogalongsideasubjectwhile

stillcapturingusablefootage.

Youshouldpracticeusingthissolutiontounderstandhowitaffectsthefinallook

ofyourvideo.Forexample,trywalkingupaflightofstairsbothwhileusingthe

monopodandusingjustthecamerabyitself.Youshouldnoticeatremendous

amountofdifferencebetweenthetwoshots,butbothcouldhavetheirplacein

certainsituations.

Thereareadditionalbenefitsofusingthesetupdescribedhere:

Youcanusethemonopodinthetraditionalmanner,byrestingthebottom

oftherigontheground.Doingsowillallowyoutomaintainthe

"handheld"lookofyourvideo,whilestillsteadyingyourshots.

Byextendingorretractingthemonopod,youcanalterthecounter-balance

effectoftheweight.Thisprovidesyoutheabilitytorefinethestabilization

toyourliking.

Youwillfindyougetabitofaworkoutifyouusethemonopodforan

extendedperiodoftime.Ifyou'vegot"chickenarms,"makesureyou

switchofffromright-to-left,soyoucanbulkupeacharmequally.



Hack16.RollYourOwnDolly



Apairofwheels,andawaytorollaroundonthem,canmakeagreatdolly.

Whenattemptingtocaptureascenewhereyoursubjectsareseparatedfromthe

background,thecameraneedstobemoving.Ifyouhaveevertriedtorecord

footagewhilewalking,youhaveprobablynoticedyougetaveryshakyshot.

Yourfootageisprobablytheequivalentofstep-shake-step-shake…

Mostdigitalvideocamerascomewithafeaturetohelpstabilizeyourfootage,

whichisespeciallyusefulforwhenyouarestandinginoneplaceandholding

thecamera.Whenwalking,however,youusuallydonotwindupwiththeshot

youenvisionedevenwiththestabilizationfeatureturnedon.

Manyprofessionalcamerapeopleuseadollytocapturefootagewhentheyneed

tobemoving.Adollyisbasicallyasmall,wheeledcartonwhicha

camerapersoncansitwhilerollingalongagivenpath.Avarietyofsporting

goods,orevenawheelchair,caneasilybesubstitutedfortherealthing.



1.17.1.DustingOffYourRollerblades

Manyofusdonothavetheluxuryofhavingadolly,butwecanmakedowitha

pairofrollerbladesandatrustworthyfriend.Strappingonapairofrollerblades

andhittingtheRecordbuttononyourvideocameramightseemlikeasimple

feat,butthereareafewcaveatsofwhichyoushouldbeaware.



PeterSmokler,anEmmyAwardwinningcameraman,isknownto

throwonapairofrollerblades,insteadofusingadolly,tofilmsome

ofhismovingshots.



1.17.1.1.Trustingyourfriends.

Ifyouplanonskatingandshooting,thinklongandhardaboutwhereyouwillbe

concentrating.Lookingthroughtheeyepieceofyourcamerawillgreatlyrestrict

yourvision.EvenlookingatanLCDmonitorwillprobablydistractyoufrom

noticinganyobstaclesinyourpath.Figure1-29showsacamerapersonon

rollerbladesbeingpulledbackwardbyanassistant.

Figure1-29.Rollerbladesservingasagreatdolly



Skateboards,especiallylongboards,aregoodforlow-angleshots.You

cansit,lay,orsimplyattachthecameratoone,inordertoobtainthe

shotyouwant.



Tobeblunt,findafriendyoucantrust,andhaveherpush,pull,andsteeryou

aroundwhileyouconcentrateonthesceneyouarerecording.Doingsowill

resultinfarfewerbruises,scrapedknees,andbrokenbones.Whetheryouhavea



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Hack 14. Build Your Own Blue Screen

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