Equipment to Get Started with Projections? [video]

This week on Behind the Curtain, we talk to theatre technical director Josh Hornung about the basic equipment that’s needed to start using projection designs in your show, whether you are a drama teacher at a high school or middle school or opening up your production on Broadway. Josh has a great way of taking complicated technical information and simplifying it down so that everyone can get the benefit. And through this clip, you’ll also see that you don’t have to be that technical to get started with digital backdrops in your show.

Video Length: 1:34 (1 minute, 34 seconds)

QUESTION: “What Equipment Do You Need to Get Started with Theatre Projections?”

JOSH: “Anytime you’re doing projection, there’s a few pieces that you have to have. You have to have a projector. The second thing that you’re going to need is something to project onto. That could be a wall. If you have a light-colored wall, depending on your space, the simplest screen you can have is a wall. And so, that may or may not be ideal for a number of reasons that we could deep dive into. But, you need something to project onto and something to project an image.

The last piece that you have to have is something to control, something to send a signal to the projector — what is it going to project? Otherwise, it’s just a big flashlight. And so you need typically a computer or laptop that you can hook up to the projector that tells it what to show on the screen. Some projectors might have the capability to actually show images built into them. Maybe you plug in a USB drive or an SD card or something. But if you really want some control you’re probably going to need a computer.

And so, from there it’s all more detail. It’s all more stuff. You know, you want the projector to be bright. You want the screen to reflect the light well. You want to try and keep light off the screen. There’s all these details we can get into. But at it’s core, those are the three thing you have to have or you’re not going to have a projected background.”

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