More and more the LooseKeys team is being asked to execute live action shoots. Which I’m all for, it allows us to flex our creative wings and show that we can not only craft a great message and video with animation but with live action too. The videos we get asked to do typically focus on an application that lives on a smart phone, computer or tablet. Which usually isn’t an issue but since we’re shooting a screen, we often run into issues with the screen.
One issue that has been a problem for awhile was the refresh rate of computer monitors but that’s a pretty easy fix, all you do is set the refresh rate of the monitor and the frame-rate of your camera to the same setting, that should get rid of the flicker. Easy enough right, but tablets and smart phones don’t have this setting.
In our past shoots, to avoid any issues with the screen or not showing the correct screen, we’ve tracked and replaced most of the screens in post production. We don’t fill them with green or put a fake screen on it, we shoot it on black. This allows us to grab some of the reflections and that helps sell the shot more. This is often the most flexible solution and will give the best possible result but it does add more time to your post production schedule. It’s a lot easier to handle it this way instead of having to hear the clients tell you that you used the wrong screen and you have to re-shoot. A lot of commercials are done this way and you’ll see in the fine print something like "Screen Images Simulated". The only issue is you don’t always get the right human interaction with the device.
In the last video I was working on, we ran into the issue of moire on the screen. The iPhone 4’s Retina Display has been easy to shoot, the pixels are generally too small to cause moire. So I didn’t run into this issue until our last day of shooting for CamScanner. We used the Galaxy Tab 2 and ran into a lot of moire issues which took some time to solve. Our easy fix was just trying to turn the screen slightly until it was gone. It was a lot of trial and error. There are some other tricks like slightly taking the screen out of focus but that wasn’t an option for this since the screen and the device were the focus.
I’m sure there are some other tricks you might have and please let me know. I’m typically not behind the camera, I work with Sergio Salgado a lot and trust that he’s going to figure out a solution for many of the issue that we run into like this but it’s always nice to offer up suggestions. So please let me now if you have a trick that works every time for you.