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Musician w/Projection Question


soapyrandolph

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Hi Everyone,

 

I'm a musician hoping to use a small projector for a live solo show.

 

The idea is to project some footage directly on to me and whatever else is behind me (no screen behind) as I stand up and play guitar (from a portable projector titled up at me from the front of the stage).

 

I've tested this out with a bulky old projector at home, and it seems to work fine. The obvious problem I'm encountering is that the light gets too intense after standing there for a minute or two (i.e. it's blinding). I had the thought of using some kind of lighting gel or gentle to diffusor to mellow and blur the light from the projector. Clarity in the footage playing is not at all a priority. It's more about movement and color.

 

Has anyone ever tried this? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

This will be overseas, so I'm hoping to bring minimal equipment (maybe an iphone and a Pico projector).

 

Thanks!

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I'd suggest just getting used to it. Diffuser in a light beam rarely reduces glare to the performer, and can make glasses users even worse as the diffused light picks out scratches in the lenses. You just need to develop the knack of not looking. If you think about it, theatre performers who live in a follow spot beam have to get used to not looking into the lens, and without the follow spot, there will be many beams of light aimed at them that do exactly what you describe. It gets better with practice. There are no lens additions that will cure it, apart from dimness and big colour shifts, which spoil the intention of the projection.
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there are risks involved with staring in to projectors so my advice would be to avoid prolonged exposure even if it is a low powered device, after all, if you damage your eyesight with over exposure to UV light, you may regrest standing in front of a projector for long periods...

bbc info on projectors

 

Not really sure that bbc article is very factual, it is basically scaremongering by the teaching unions.

There's a lot of filtering in a projector, you'd get a lot more UV exposure standing in the beam of an intelligent lighting fixture.

 

Paul is right, you just have to train yourself not to look at it.

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You could experiment with the projector off to one side, opposite side to your fretboard would I think be best but check for yourself. The other option is the Ray-Ban, Roy Orbison Tribute act.

 

Bear in mind that every projector I have ever seen, domestic or trade, carries a "Don't look at the light" warning on it. There is a reason for that.

 

The BBC article photograph shows what the problem is. The teacher is looking toward the "audience" where the beam is coming from and, as someone who did it daily, it is just about impossible to avoid catching a peripheral flash occasionally in those circumstances. The NUT has referred this to the HSE and we await results but I think they will just point to the warnings in MIs.

 

As a guitarist the reflex glance down at the fretboard and siting it directly in line with that line of sight makes "not looking" almost impossible. If you have no shame you could try the Bono look?

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Oh this is just another dip into silly time. People have been staring into very strong and focused theatrical lighting for a very long time now. Is there any evidence at all that exposure to a follow spot causes any permanent issues. You do it once, maybe twice and then you make sure that you don't look that way.

 

I can tell you from recent practical experience that not once have I been even aware of the beam from an projector in a class room, and it's just crazy H&S stuff that in the real world doesn't happen. Most classrooms now use projectors very close in, with wide angle compensated lenses so the keystoning isn't a problem. I am 6' 1" and when you stand able to touch the screen, and look at the class, it's above you in virtually every room I've worked in. You see the kids faces and you don't even squint. standing on stage in a follow spot or mover beam is VERY different. You can feel the light on your face and if you look at it you get spots that take a few seconds to fade. So you don't look at them, and the risk goes away. Sometimes we go on about managing risk, instead of attempting to remove it, but then drop back to our "Danger, Will Robinson" mode.

 

The BBC picture is typical of the lens flare you get on even dim lights from certain angles. You don't get that with your eye, and to me, the angle of dangle in that picture looks enough out of the eye line to be fine.

 

Next thing we will be told that follow spots can't be used because they are deliberately aimed at a performer, who could possibly look at them?

 

I'd have thought that the danger to a teacher from rowdy kids is far greater than from a projector, and nobody wants to tackle that one, so lets look at bright lights!

 

Sorry but this is rather a pathetic H&S story that should be washed away. Perhaps life guards should only go out at night when the sun doesn't shine?

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Paul the OP and me are merely expressing our personal experience and I have been "blinded" umpteen times by video projection as a lecturer. He can't stand more than a certain time in the light.

 

For him it is a light source right in front of him that he cannot avoid and for me it was projecting just over the heads or through the "audience" I was addressing. Saying "avoid" or that he is talking rot is not helping. Whatever your experience might be he is experiencing discomfort.

 

It is not H&S, unless the OP is on a tightrope over piranhas, he just don't like it.

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I take the point Kerry, but maybe gazing into the middle distance hoping for inspiration isn't quite the way to direct your gaze?

 

OT - but touring around, I've noticed how dreadful some FOH lighting positions really are, and avoiding them is quite difficult as they seem to be everywhere, while others you don't even notice.

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The BBC article (from 2007) was relevant when the second generation of 'smart' interactive 'front projection' whiteboards were being supplied along with the latest 'small' projectors sporting 2,500 lumen+ output - the answer has been todo away with the projectors out on a pole and go with the short throw units where you are not in the light path.

 

If you're going to place yourself in the light path you're going to get light in the eyes.

 

Howabout 'wearable' technology - http://cutecircuit.com/ :)

 

Joe

 

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