How to Project Word on Wall

Started Feb 19, 2011 | Discussions
shatch
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How to Project Word on Wall
Feb 19, 2011

I've been trying to project a flash through a word cutout to create a word projected on the wall in a photo.

I've tried putting the cutout paper on the end of a snoot...

I've tried shooting a flash through two distant circle cutouts to narrow the beam then through the cutout...

What am I missing? Anyone been able to do this before?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Joseph S Wisniewski
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Projector snoot or old slide projector...
In reply to shatch, Feb 19, 2011

shatch wrote:

I've been trying to project a flash through a word cutout to create a word projected on the wall in a photo.

Cool. Been there, done that. Except I usually project stuff on nude women. But the principle's the same.

I've tried putting the cutout paper on the end of a snoot...

Won't work. The light is only partially collimated. Light passing through any point on the end of the snoot diverges, so each point "fills in" all the others in your projection.

To reduce this effect, you need to do two things. Reduce the apparent size of the light, and increase the apparent size of the word. Use a small speedlight instead of a studio strobe, and focus the speedlight to the 105mm or 135mm setting. Then make the word cutout of black poster board, say 3 feet.

I've tried shooting a flash through two distant circle cutouts to narrow the beam then through the cutout...

?

What am I missing?

Collimation. Typically in the form of lenses. A commercial "projector snoot" or "focusing spot" uses a big lens (called a condenser) maybe 150-200mm in diameter, 150-200mm from the strobe tube, which focuses the light on a small diffuser place another 150-200mm beyond the lens. That's where you place either a slide (yes, an old-fashioned film "slide") or a cookie (metal plate that has a pattern cut out of it).

For your case, you'd need a slide. There are outfits that you can upload files to, and they make slides and mail them to you. I use iprintfromhome.com

A projection lens (85mm f2.8, 100mm, f2.8) goes past the slide, and lets you focus it on your wall.

There are commercial "projector snoots" you can buy for about $500. We had a lovely Elinchrom one back at MPW, but all the cookies vanished one day, and no one has used it since.

Using a monolight is better than a speedlight, because the modeling light will let you focus. The trial and error with a speedlight will drive you crazy.

Is flash necessary? Can you do this with a longer exposure and use a plain-old slide projector. I find them all the time at flea-markets or in Craig's list ads, for $25.

You can also, with a bit of creativity, remove the projector lamp from a slide projector and mount a speedlight. The slide projector has a condenser lens, diffuser plate, and projector lens.

You could also borrow a digital projector, hook it to your laptop, and project the word on the wall that way.

Anyone been able to do this before?

Yes.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Any time.

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shatch
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Re: Projector snoot or old slide projector...
In reply to Joseph S Wisniewski, Feb 19, 2011

Thank you!

I took your idea and created two workable options.

1) I had an old overhead projector in the basement. I put a speedlight with a pocketwizard in the case to project a flash up through the cutout image onto the wall. Worked pretty good.

2) I took my 24-70 lens and put it in the end of a cardboard tube that was about the same diameter. Put my flash in the other end of the tube. Placed my cutout about 6" in front of the lens and it projects a crisp image on the wall.

Thanks again! The missing piece.

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Joseph S Wisniewski
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Glad it worked out...
In reply to shatch, Feb 19, 2011

shatch wrote:

Thank you!

I took your idea and created two workable options.

1) I had an old overhead projector in the basement. I put a speedlight with a pocketwizard in the case to project a flash up through the cutout image onto the wall. Worked pretty good.

2) I took my 24-70 lens and put it in the end of a cardboard tube that was about the same diameter. Put my flash in the other end of the tube. Placed my cutout about 6" in front of the lens and it projects a crisp image on the wall.

Thanks again! The missing piece.

You're very welcome. Glad you got it working.

The overhead projector is a good option. They use a big Fresnel lens for a condenser, and it works very efficiently. Set a speedlight right, it will transfer near 100% of your flash energy to the cutout.

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Ciao! Joseph

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drh681
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Re: Glad it worked out...
In reply to Joseph S Wisniewski, Feb 21, 2011

did you consider a photoshop option?
this is the sort of thing the type mask tool was made for.

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davidmamartin
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Re: How to Project Word on Wall
In reply to shatch, Feb 21, 2011

I remmeber a story of one chap with an old film SLR using a lith film slide and flash linked to a sensor to project words/images onto random peoples images. Think he used a manual telephoto lens (basically reversed the role of the camera..)

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SFzip
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Re: How to Project Word on Wall
In reply to davidmamartin, Feb 21, 2011

How about a little visual aid...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAX_3Bgel7M

davidmamartin wrote:

I remmeber a story of one chap with an old film SLR using a lith film slide and flash linked to a sensor to project words/images onto random peoples images. Think he used a manual telephoto lens (basically reversed the role of the camera..)

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