Blue Screen

To speed up the process of traveling shots and make it easier for the camera people, prop crew and the animators we decided to use blue screen to do many of the traveling background shots. We build a shallow blue screen background of 4 foot daylight flourescents with translucent Stewart Blue Screen material in front. To make the flourescents more efficient and fill the space in between the tubes with light reflected from the sides of the tubes, we cut up the removed flourescent light housings and made triangle pieces covered with aluminum foil between each globe. When assembled we had blue screen with a F-45 stop at 1/2 sec. exposure at ASA 50. Our cameras were limited to 1/2 sec. shutter speed and we wanted to keep our shooting stop at f-16 or 22. for maximum depth of field. To reduce the brightness of the blue screen we put layers of white satin fabric a few inches from the flourescent tubes. It helped to both smooth out and reduce the light. This gave us a shallow 20 inch thick blue screen background unit that we put against the wall of our very small stage.

We reduced the area of blue screen seen by the lens to reduce the blue edge reflection on the puppets and vehicles. We also lit pieces of foam core just out of frame behind the puppets to wash out any blue contamination on the edges of the puppets or vehicle window fames. Any saturated blue will break down in the matte process.

We shot Nikon D-100 digital still tests and tested the matts on computer before shooting real footage.

Painted blue backings take more space and the paint is not as pure a blue as the transluscent Stewart material. Lighting painted surfaces with even light is also a challange. There are some very pure blue and green color fabrices for matte work, but we couldn't scam any. The Stewart material was left from my studio. (This was a very tight budget.)

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