Back To Work: I Had A Dream Part 2

So do we go with a very portable stage system or something we can buy used (and modified to our height requirements) for our needs?

Cost-wise they’re both in the same ballpark.  Obviously, the stage that folds up and fits in the back of my Sorento is appealing. We can buy a 15′ L X 6′ W X 4′ H portable riser for $3,900. A second 15 X 6 X 2.5″ riser would be around $3,000.  Call it $7,000 for two stages.

These “old school” risers in two different heights 4′ and 6′ (8’W X 16’L) can be had for $5,775.  Portability and limited configuration for other shows becomes the issue.

Old fashioned Mitchell Portable Folding Stands
Remember these from high school? They sure weren't lightweight!

I’ve also dreamt of a set where we can change the backdrops with a push of a button.  Literally.  Projectors have come a long way from our days of film strips in health class.  Today’s consumer projectors can produce some serious lumens–most models are at least 2,500 lumens; some shine as bright as 4,000 lumens!  And with an ultra short throw lens, a projector can be placed as close as 4′ and produce an image 113″ (diagonal.)  And by using rear projection, we can eliminate the issue of actors stepping in front of the light. Hooking up multiple projectors to a laptop has also become a piece of cake.

For our immediate tests we are creating background “canvases” (if you will) of 6.5′ H X 10′ W.  Diagonal is 141″.  Accordingly, our projector will need to be 5′ from the screen.  With 3,000 lumens we think we’ll have plenty of light.  Here’s our projector.

ViewSonic PJD7583w WXGA,Ultra Short Throw,3000Lumen

The big question: Can we get strong background images with our rear projector when the stage lights are on?

A couple thoughts.  First, with our Canon cameras we can work low light with dramatic effect.  In fact, these DSLR cameras thrive on low light.

Second, if we keep stage lights focused away from our screens, the power of 3,000 lumens will (hopefully) compliment our stage design.

If we find out that these “prosumer” projectors just don’t cut it (literally), we still have the option of renting the Christie or NEC industrial projectors when we film.

Yes, it’ll be very exciting if our experiment proves successful.  To think we might be able to create stunning backdrops that are 8 feet tall by 12 feet wide for under $1,000–including frame, rear projector screen material and projector?  Really gets me pumped!

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