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Projector portraits

  
 
urbanwild
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Projector portraits


Is anyone experienced with doing projector portraits like the work of Dani Olivier?

(https://daniolivier.com/index/45/982.html)

I've dabbled with lower end projectors but with poorer results than I'd like. Before spending more money on a higher quality projector, I'm just wondering if anyone has specific advice on a quality projector required for higher quality print results. I'm assuming Dani uses ultra expensive laser projectors (I asked but he said "any projector will work").

Thanks for any tips you may have.




Feb 11, 2022 at 03:39 AM
fuzzykeys
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Projector portraits


I have messed around with this a bit and am happy to share my research and limited experience with you.

Projector Technology: First of all, you need an LCD projector instead of a DLP projector. This is a big one. A DLP creates images by sending light through a rotating color array. If you have ever experienced banding while using electronic shutter in artificial light, you can imagine how this could be problematic at photography shutter speeds.

Power: 3000 lumens will get the job done. More is more. Obviously you want to work in dark conditions. If you are using additional lights, you need to be very careful not to spill onto the projection or it will get completely washed out.

Resolution: 1200x800 will work. 1080p would be better but I don't think it is necessary unless you need to have the projector pretty far away and illuminating your subject. You can defocus the projector slightly to reduce the appearance of pixels if they become apparent.

Throw Distance: You need to figure out if the widest throw of the projector will work in your room. Getting it closer will make it more efficient in terms of power.

Using It: It is a super hard light source. So I have found that best results come from getting it as close to on axis with the lens as possible and a bit higher. In the references you provided, this will be a bit less of an issue because everything is so dark, but I would keep this is mind.

Some images I shot in my tiny living room with a 5x8 white BG.

Projector only illuminating the BG. I used a gridded beauty dish as the key light, feathered it to avoid hitting the BG, and I used a reflector below the subject for a bit of fill. I held a prism in front of the lens to refract some light and generate a little foreground interest.

Digital Vortex by Matt and Jess Feinman, on Flickr

This is just straight on projector light.

No Pool, No Problem by Matt and Jess Feinman, on Flickr

Hope that helps!






Feb 17, 2022 at 01:59 AM
urbanwild
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Projector portraits


This is fantastic info and excellent images - thanks!

I am thinking that I was too far away from the subject, but I haven't paid enough attention to the throw ratio.....now I think I understand the importance of it more.

Have you tried using your projector as the only light source? Just curious if you've managed to get tight lines without pixelation given your resolution and brightness?

On an aside note in case anyone is interested in this topic, I came across the "PROJECT" work of Richard Battye who uses an older slide projector to avoid pixelation. I think his work is excellent in the particular niche that he is working within. He also put together an excellent video on his workflow: https://riverstudio.co.uk/project/

Thanks again fuzzykeys!

fuzzykeys wrote:
I have messed around with this a bit and am happy to share my research and limited experience with you.

Projector Technology: First of all, you need an LCD projector instead of a DLP projector. This is a big one. A DLP creates images by sending light through a rotating color array. If you have ever experienced banding while using electronic shutter in artificial light, you can imagine how this could be problematic at photography shutter speeds.

Power: 3000 lumens will get the job done. More is more. Obviously you want to work in dark conditions. If you are using additional lights,
...Show more




Feb 17, 2022 at 06:10 AM
fuzzykeys
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Projector portraits


urbanwild wrote:
Have you tried using your projector as the only light source? Just curious if you've managed to get tight lines without pixelation given your resolution and brightness?


The second shot is just using the projector!



Feb 17, 2022 at 10:34 AM
fuzzykeys
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Projector portraits


I have also experimented with analog slide projection. I made a projector out of a 35mm camera. It’s very easy to do, but unless you are printing your own slides, you have a lot more restrictions on what you can project. If you are printing…well…printers have resolution as well in DPI. I have tried printing transparencies, which had its own issues. It’s difficult to get opaque blacks.


Feb 17, 2022 at 10:38 AM
 


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rico
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Projector portraits


I LOVE the results achieved by @fuzzykeys
Just brilliant!



Feb 17, 2022 at 02:02 PM
urbanwild
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Projector portraits


fuzzykeys wrote:
I have also experimented with analog slide projection. I made a projector out of a 35mm camera. It’s very easy to do, but unless you are printing your own slides, you have a lot more restrictions on what you can project. If you are printing…well…printers have resolution as well in DPI. I have tried printing transparencies, which had its own issues. It’s difficult to get opaque blacks.


Thanks again!



Feb 17, 2022 at 10:33 PM
fuzzykeys
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Projector portraits


My pleasure! If you are also interested in the analog route, this is what I did for ~$40.

I bought a broken 35mm camera and ripped out the shutter curtain. By lining a regular snoot up at the rear of the camera where the film would normally go and placing a piece of film or an object there in front of the snoot, I effectively created a 35mm slide projector by using the camera "in reverse." It works any gobo that will fit snugly in or just over a 35mm frame, so you are not strictly restricted to using film positives. Faster SLR lenses will give you more output. I still had some vintage nifty fifties lying around, which worked great, but I would hesitate to use a slower lens.

If you're printing custom gobos or slides, having fully opaque blacks will allow you to be much more flexible in the size of your projections. If they are not fully opaque, you will get some light bleeding through the slides and you'll be able to see the edge of the rectangular frame. If the projection covers your entire shot, this can be mitigated somewhat in post if desired. If you want to move the projector in closer and create a smaller projection in a portion of the frame, black density can be a limiting issue.

Now if you do want fully opaque blacks like an optical snoot would give you, you either need to use a fully opaque gobo or print transparencies with very opaque black ink. Pigment inkjets are the only printers that will give you 100% opaque blacks in a single print. However, in the screen printing business, where are transparencies are still widely used, it is common to stack two copies of a print on top of each other to make the blacks more opaque. "Regular" print ink is much cheaper than pigment ink, and I got a local shirt printing shop to do some test prints for free at 600 DPI. Stacking them did work fairly effectively, but trying to line up tiny 36x24mm prints and mount them in a makeshift slide is a fiddly and frustrating process. Additionally, with most of the designs that I made, I had to defocus them to avoid seeing the ink dots in the projection!

Meanwhile, an acquaintance of mine has experimented with this extensively as well. He uses a 35mm camera projector in his studio all the time and makes money doing it. He owns a Canon Pixma pigment printer that can print up to 4800x2400 DPI. His blacks and projections are very clean. Frankly, his system works as well as a solid optical snoot, but he is able to custom print all of his designs and do color projections without aliasing, which is extremely cool. I very rarely print my photos and when I do, they are usually larger than what a home printer can output. None of the print shops in LA had high res pigment ink printers, and buying and maintaining a dedicated gobo printer ultimately didn't seem like a worthwhile investment to me.

Spiffy Gear also makes a product called a Light Blaster, which essentially functions the same way as a DIY projector made out of an SLR in that positions slides at the appropriate flange distance for the lens to create a sharp projection. It seems like it would be a bit easier to use as it is actually designed for flashes, and I believe you can use actual 35mm slide frames with it. That might make it easier to stack prints in regular slide mounts. I may pick one up at some point, but I am pretty happy with my digital projector and optical snoots at this point.



Feb 18, 2022 at 02:07 PM
rico
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Projector portraits


@fuzzykeys The analog route sounds interesting and I have the equipment on hand, starting with the printer: a 12-cart pigment Canon Pro-2000 w/2400x1200 DPI. Are you printing on plastic media? For projection I have actual slide projectors (Leica) which handles the continuous-light approach. For strobe light I can deploy a Profoto studio projector that takes M gobos, and is fronted by any Dedolight lens (mine is the 85/2.8).


Feb 18, 2022 at 05:12 PM
fuzzykeys
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Projector portraits


You’d want to print on transparency film and I think you’d want to use strobes when possible. Keep in mind that the film and the lenses wind up eating a lot of light. I have not tried printing M size transparencies but it should work!

rico wrote:
@fuzzykeys@ The analog route sounds interesting and I have the equipment on hand, starting with the printer: a 12-cart pigment Canon Pro-2000 w/2400x1200 DPI. Are you printing on plastic media? For projection I have actual slide projectors (Leica) which handles the continuous-light approach. For strobe light I can deploy a Profoto studio projector that takes M gobos, and is fronted by any Dedolight lens (mine is the 85/2.8).




Feb 18, 2022 at 07:18 PM







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