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iMag with EP? Try this

iMag with EP? Try this

I have the privilege of running lighting for the student conference; Planet Wisdom, and this past year our media director (Tim Pike) got creative with how to use IMAG (image magnification) tastefully in more reflective worship times. Be sure to drop him a line!

He explains what he did below:

As we've added more Environmental Projection (EP) and multi-screen content to the Planet Wisdom tour in recent years, we've been trying establish the rules of iMag in our context. We wanted to allow iMag to maintain its place as an anchor in our production and not forsake its function, but we didn’t want it to become distracting or superfluous in the overall experience. Part of the consideration in this strategy was what the iMag screens should show in the intimate or reflective worship times.


The Problem

Traditionally in intimate worship sets we would forgo the display of personalities and employ the use of full screen graphics on our side screens. When we added EP and multiscreen content to the program the questions became: Should the side screens match? Accent? Would the same video be too repetitive? How do we nail the transitions with lighting and room content in the swells/falls? What if the worship leader changes songs? Could we rework everything on the fly?

For a brief time, our answer to is was to go simple. Black screen, white text. This actually worked pretty well for many times. It helped maintain the proper presence of the iMag screens and didn’t compete too much with the colors, rhythms, and energy of the immersive room content. It was stable and simple. To a fault in fact.

As the room’s energy would rise and fall, the iMag screens stayed solid and flat. It felt like a missed opportunity.


The Solution

We decided that shooting “bokeh” (out of focus) could enhance the experience by taking elements of the room’s character (colors, shapes, rhythms, etc) and re-injecting them into the room. To add some uniqueness to this presence and solve the practical problem of graphical separation (helping the words pop out), we also added subtle video overlays to break up the patterns of realism and essentially create our own live motion backgrounds.

The beauty of these backgrounds is that they always match the room as well as add a new, unique element to the environment.

Here’s an example:

Video Overlay Demo from Tim Pike on Vimeo.


The Method

In order to do this, you need to have some means of using alpha channels with your iMag feed. We use Renewed Vision’s Alpha Module for ProPresenter, but any alpha keying solution should work. It should also work if you route your iMag (camera) feed through ProPresenter (using the Live Video internal keying solution) before it goes to the projector(s).

I pulled together a few abstract patterns in After Effects and looped them to repeat every 5-10 seconds. Next, I completely desaturated these looping patterns, leaving them black, white and shades of gray.

Create a new black solid and use one of the patterns as the Luma Matte (in the Track Matte settings) for the black solid. This will ensure that you won’t have any color mixing in your overlay. You can add a Levels or Curves adjustment to the pattern loop to find a good level of opacity difference.

I found it particularly useful to add a super feathered, black ellipse to the area where my lyrics would go to help the words pop out more. In this set, I just planned to put the lyrics in the center, so I created what amounts to a reverse vignette.

Here are some examples of my textures:

Overlay 1 Overlay 2 Overlay 3 Overlay 4

Render these videos with embedded alpha channels (Apple's ProRes 444 works really well). Import them as backgrounds to your CG program. And you're ready to go.

Let your imagination and experimentation be your guide. I have also gotten good results with particles at key swell moments. Also try using white or other shades of gray.

3 comments (Add your own)

1. Brandon wrote:
Creative and beautiful. IMO it adds a nice touch without being distracting. Good job!

Mon, August 13, 2012 @ 10:52 AM

2. melissa wrote:
I like it! Very nice way to handle the imag. I've always had the same conundrum of what kind of iMag to use with worship sets so you don't distract!

Mon, August 13, 2012 @ 12:24 PM

3. Amine wrote:
I must tell you that you all did a great work for God at the last day of Kingdom Advance Conference!I found that a visual woirhsp scene is just same as what I see in my prayers. e.g. the song with a growing up blue flower and many circle light moving forwardDo you know the moving circle is happened only in deep prayers situationIt means that our spirit is connecting towards the heavenIt's really just like what I see in my deeply prayer sceneGod will guide you how to create the next one but it was surprise me really! Thank you so much for your work!!you should have many gifts in the heavenGod appreciated it is the BIG honor!God will bless you and fulfill your Godly desires!

Sat, January 5, 2013 @ 4:57 PM

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