Frequently Asked Questions
In the past the technology needed to implement Scenic Projections was expensive and required a technical expert to achieve the desired outcome. Now, with our expertise, it is painless technical theatre.
How do projections work with stage lighting?
Rear and front projections require specific lighting patterns to avoid color saturation of the projection content. For rear projection, you should include a five-foot barrier of light from the front of the screen. Any number of lights may be placed towards the front of stage, after the barrier. Light may bleed from the directional lighting, but you should avoid breaking the barrier space. Eight to 10 feet from the projection surface you may use directional lighting towards the floor of the stage. Front projection is simpler and requires less precision. The five-foot barrier is still necessary. All lighting within the cone of projection, as outlined, should avoid directly facing the screen or projector. Focusing on a non-direct hotspot is recommended.
How do I avoid shadows on the screen?
In terms of lighting, avoid directional light. If you are set up for front projection and the projector is hung above actors onstage, bring the actors as far downstage as possible. We do not recommend placing your projector at the booth, behind the audience. Rear and front projections require different lighting to avoid color saturation. When utilizing rear projection, include a five-foot barrier of light from the front of the screen. You can use as many lights as you’d like towards the front of stage, as long as they are placed after the barrier. It is okay for light to bleed from directional lighting; however, you should avoid breaking the barrier space. While the five-foot barrier is still necessary, front projection allows for more wiggle room. Avoid any light directly facing the screen or projector inside the cone of projection.
How bright are the projections?
Without sufficient brightness your image will look muddy and soft, even in a dark room. Check the ANSI lumens rating. Relatively speaking, projectors with 2,000 ANSI lumens or greater have sufficient brightness for a 16-foot-wide projection surface. However, theatre size and screen size/distance will affect the need for more or less lumens. Most theatres we work with use a projector with an average of 5,000 Lumens. Obtaining a projector with such high lumens can be an expensive initial investment but will pay out over time. Renting a professional-grade projector is costly. Therefore, purchasing your own is a great option. If your theatre can’t afford to purchase a projector with 5,000 lumens, we encourage you to work with the lighting designer on the show to pull lights away from the surface of the projection screen. Doing so will increase the visibility and allow you to use something around 2,000 lumens. Contrast ratio complements brightness. High-contrast ratios deliver whiter whites and blacker blacks. A projector may have a great Lumens rating, but if the contrast ratio is low, your image will look washed out. Contrast ratios of at least 1,500:1 are good, 2,000:1 or higher is considered excellent.
How do you time the projections?
We have worked with hundreds of theatres, all of which employ different staging. To accommodate each theatre’s artistic vision, our scenic projections can be cued. We work very hard to make our product as easy to use as possible. What you see on our website is for marketing purposes only – not the final product. We deliver approximately 10 video clips that can be set into a timeline sequence. This allows our clients to adjust the timing of the video according to their live performance. Our videos are set in a pattern of action/looping/action. For example, the first video clip is an action that fades from black into the setting. The second clip is a loop that shows the interior of the setting and the third clip is another action – a light turning off, a window closing, etc. This pattern continues throughout the scene. Once the videos are set into a timeline, your technician can simply press “next” when cued by the actors onstage. If you prefer to not use every clip, you can do so by importing only the video clips you select into your timeline.
What size are the video files?
All content is created at a 16:9 aspect ratio (widescreen); with a total file size of 1920×1080 pixels. We can convert our content to 16:10, 4:3 or other sizes. If a custom size is needed, however, we reserve the right to charge for the conversion. All changes and customized requires require an additional lead time, contact us for more information.
Can I test the content prior to purchase?
Absolutely! Just ask us how. Contact us directly, by calling 1-800-277-0343.
Can I modify the content?
Our license agreement expressly states that the content you license must be used as delivered. Changing the content is a serious violation of the authors’ rights and is strictly prohibited. Unauthorized alteration of material may result in a loss of usage license. Questions about any proposed change, addition, interpolation or alteration shall first be submitted in writing to BMD.
How many scenes are in the show?
The amount of scenes vary with each show. We develop content for the entire show and a projection for every scene in the production, including pre-show, intermission and post-show. Show brochures complete with thumbnails are available from your account manager.
Can I use an iPad to run the show?
In short, no. Our content must be used with a timeline/cueing software program or hardware. We strongly recommend using ImageCue. It is important to note, however, our projections can be used with any of the following software options:
- Pandoras Box
- Dataton Watchout
- Keynote for Mac
What technology is required?
Projections are more possible than ever before, thanks to innovative hardware that provides high-performing tools at affordable pricing. Contact us to discuss the right projector and screen for your production. For cueing the content, we strongly recommend renting or purchasing the ImageCue device. This is a small, compact, power and affordable hardware that works well with all of our content.
What type of screen will I need?
We’re asked this question often. If you have an existing cyclorama, we recommend using that. Any budget associated with a screen should be applied to purchasing or renting a brighter projector. In general, avoid white or black surfaces. We also recommend using ScreenGoo to paint surfaces for projection use. Our thousands of clients have used a wide range of surfaces from shower curtains to fog. Get creative! If you are set on purchasing a surface, let’s talk. We can help navigate the right type.
What type of projector should I use?
That’s the big question. There’s not single answer, as every stage is different.
In general, your projector should feature a short-throw wide-angle lens for front or rear projection. If you plan to do front projection with a long-throw lens, you’ll likely have shadows. The projector should be more than 5,000 lumens (brightness), though this depends greatly on your stage lighting, screen surface and rigging restrictions.
What stage size is required for projections?
Great question! While projections don’t work in all spaces, we’ve worked with pop-up stages in cafeterias to professional stages with multi-thousand seat audiences. We have experience working with a range of theatres and can help answer your questions. Please apply for a license so we can get the necessary details to address your questions. In short, yes, projections will most likely work in your stage space, but we should talk more to give you the best answer.
Is there ever a blank screen on the stage?
BMD delivers seamless content to ensure the audience is consistently engaged. You have the option to use it that way or not. Each scene blends together for every show in our catalog. However, if there is not a scene set up in the timeline, the screen will be blank.
Does the content scale to different stage sizes?
We provide our clients with high-resolution videos to use with projection software. Depending on the projector used and software available, the projections can scale to virtually any size. The content of each setting is scalable in terms of video quality. However, the settings themselves are aimed at a projection size between 15 and 30 feet in height.
How much space is required for projection?
The common rule of thumb is: for every 20 feet of image width, you need between 10 and 15 feet of distance from the projector to the screen. However, requirements depend heavily on whether the projector is regular or short-throw.
What support is offered?
We believe that customer service and support is extremely important. We want to go above and beyond your exceptions and provide your production with content and stellar technical assistance. With content, we’ll work with you to ensure the video codex, playback rate, and aspect ratio is appropriate for your space and setup. In addition, we can assist in downloading the content from our server or send you a USB if necessary, for a small additional fee. BMD has a dedicated support staff ready and willing to assist during normal working hours, Pacific Standard Time. However, feel free to email email@example.com anytime you need assistance. You can also head on over to our support knowledge base which provides answers to common questions, got to: support.bwymedia.com.
As a resource to the industry, we can assist with general technical questions regarding hardware. Our partnerships allow us to directly support the ImageCue playback device. Since we don’t service products we don’t directly provide (Powerpoint, QLab, ProPresenter, etc), ImageCue is a great alternative.
Remember, we’re here to help! Give us a call 1-80-277-0343 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
How is content delivered?
We deliver files within 1-business day via digital download. Make sure you have a strong internet connection (preferably, wired) to allow for the 10-20 GB of video download. If your internet connection won’t allow for this large of a file download, let us know and we’d be happy to ship you the appropriate USB hard drive for playback, for a small additional processing fee.