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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> Dr Seuss backdrop for dance portraits...ideas???
Showing posts 1 - 14 of 14, (reverse)
04/29/2011 10:25:36 AM · #1
I've been contracted by another dance studio. This one is going to be fun because they are thinking outside the box which is a refreshing change. They have two requests that are a little different and I can figure out the second one easily enough, but the first one is that they want a backdrop that is based on the theme for one of their performances which is Oh, The Places You Will Go.

Okay creative geniuses, how do I pull this one off?

I'd like it to cover the wall in the back which is only about the height of a wall in a typical house, about 8 to 9 feet high. I'll be taking shots of groups of up to a dozen students so it will need to be at least 15 feet wide and, ideally, extend onto the floor so that it is seamless.

All help and ideas would be appreciated from economical custom made backdrops to do-it-yourself suggestions.

Thanks a lot.
04/29/2011 10:59:07 AM · #2
Option #1 - Go Green Screen... photoshop in the custom Dr. Seuss background using colors or an image from the book.

Otion #2 - Order or rent a custom backdrop from the numerous suppliers available on the web.
04/29/2011 11:26:15 AM · #3
I have considered using my green screen for the first time, but I have found that using even the best programs to replace the backgrounds haven't worked out well when my subjects have brushed out hair that is see through in many places and/or they are wearing frilly tutus that are also semi-see through. I can't seem to avoid that cut and pasted look even when using Topaz's best tool.

Renting: I haven't found this theme in a backdrop...yet. I'll keep looking.

Custom made: I have a local backdrop supplier looking into expediting it. I need it by May 12th which is less than two weeks from now. This guy says that it typically takes 2 to 2 1/2 weeks but he'll get back to me to see if it can be done quicker.

So, the search for ideas continues in the meantime.

Message edited by author 2011-04-29 11:26:46.
04/29/2011 12:24:16 PM · #4
Um.... Do you have the rights to use the Dr Seuss images?? If so (and that's surprising) then a green screen would be the way to go unless you can get one printed on a large photo plotter.
04/29/2011 12:34:22 PM · #5
This Photoshop script is free and I have used it with success. You don't have any control over the process but you can adjust mask settings after it does it's stuff in Photoshop CS5.

Photoshop Greenscreen

04/29/2011 12:44:59 PM · #6
If this is going to be a temporary backdrop, you could see about getting just the plain white paper backdrop and inquire/seek the talent of a muralist (there are some that paint fantastic scenes for children's rooms)

Like this one did here Oh the Places you'll go mural.....hmm reading what they say about it is that they had a friend project the image on the wall and then paint it on. You might want to see if a local artist or if you have a friend who is good at painting/drawing that could do that for you.

My other thought is to perhaps call some of the local children's museums and see if they might have some decorations or backdrops in storage from a past exhibit of Dr. Seuss. Maybe they might let you rent them. I do know that the publishers are getting ready to publish some of Seuss's Lost Tales in September so maybe a children's museum might be gearing up to do an exhibit.

Hmmm, thinking....let me do a little more digging.
04/29/2011 12:48:33 PM · #7
There are also some pretty awesome looking masking programs out there that I haven't has the luxury of trying yet but boast some pretty powerful features for getting around difficult areas like hair

OnOne Mask Pro 4
04/29/2011 12:53:40 PM · #8
Originally posted by CNovack:

getting just the plain white paper backdrop and inquire/seek the talent of a muralist

You rock with the suggestions lately. You must be some under appreciated genius or something.
04/29/2011 01:09:51 PM · #9
Hmmm, looked for wallies/wall stickers but it is more Cat in the Hat. Pottery Barn Kids also has a Seuss line but more Cat in the Hat and the shower curtain is akin to One Fish, Two Fish.

Birthday suppliers - only small scale stuff and I have not found any of the pre-made Scene Setters that can be found in party stores that could be utilized to make the scene you need.

At this point the only thing I can think of are the two suggestions I mentioned earlier.

....Here's a question: does the dance studio itself have/or will make a Dr. Seuss backdrop for the performance that they might be willing to lend to you? They might even know of an artist who could quickly whip up a stage backdrop for you.
04/29/2011 01:41:35 PM · #10
Originally posted by CNovack:

....Here's a question: does the dance studio itself have/or will make a Dr. Seuss backdrop for the performance that they might be willing to lend to you? They might even know of an artist who could quickly whip up a stage backdrop for you.

I think this might be your best solution, I owned a dance studio awhile back if we did a themed recital we always had backdrops or props made up. I'm sure they would be more than willing to let you use them as long as it doesn't conflict with their schedule.
04/29/2011 02:23:13 PM · #11
Great input so far!!!

I will check with the studio to see what they have already. On one hand it seems that they would have mentioned it if they did, on the other, they should have something other than the costumes that they will be wearing. I'll find out.

The mural idea is something that I am checking out now. It seems like this is not any kind of difficult artwork...the colors are of all one tone per color and not very detailed. I wonder if I could actually do the artwork in a friends warehouse. I already have a spare 10' by 20' white muslin backdrop that I could work with.

The question of permission to use the scenes from the book is interesting. I hadn't thought of that as a problem. What is the legality of doing this?
04/29/2011 02:51:58 PM · #12
For the green screen, if you can get the distance and back light with the subtlety of a bull elephant, that white halo makes picking them off the screen a lot easier.

Another thought is to see who in your area has done the musical Seussical. my daughter was in a production several years ago and the stage manager caged a few biggish props off some local theaters who had made stuff for the show and tossed it in storage. Some one in your area has a few great sets in storage.

Message edited by author 2011-04-29 14:52:55.
04/30/2011 02:19:33 PM · #13
one bump for the weekend crowd
04/30/2011 02:41:08 PM · #14
A different take on the theme: Mount travel posters on the wall or a plain background to represent different places. Then use Dr. Seuss props like the striped hat from cat in the hat for the girls to hold or pose around.
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