Getting into the zone… soon?

Oh, I just remembered: My flexible reversible chroma key screen arrived last Thursday. Granted, it was rather the bundle with holiday backgrounds, but it was part of their weekly Thursday special the previous week, with 50% off, so I jumped on it. With the one-day-only discount, it was still about 33% cheaper than the full price of the screen on its own. Of course, the shipping cost to Norway was a little more than the product itself, but all in all, it was a good price.

The screen itself measures about 1.5 meters by 2 meters (or, for you imperical buffs, 5 feet by 7 feet) when fully unfolded, and it bends down to a nice circle of 84 cm (or 33 inches) when folded. It’s green on one side, and blue on the other, and comes with a neat carrying case.

Why this reversible flexible screen, you may ask? Well, I’m trying to get myself into video production and taking photos with an exchangeable background, and a chroma key background (also known as a “green screen” or “blue screen”) comes in handy with that. Both colors means that I can select a background color based on what my foreground elements are (this is the reversible part). Also, I don’t have any available corner space to set up a more “permanent” shooting studio, so I have to make do with the little space I have. The little space also means that I need something that I can quickly unpack when I need the “studio”, and that I can quickly pack again when I’m done (this is where the “flexible” part comes into play). Unpacking the screen takes less than a minute, and since I now know how it bends (seen in a demo video), I can fold it down in about two minutes. Once folded and inside the carrying case, it’s easy to stow away when I don’t use it. The frame surrounding the screen also allows it to be stretched out, so I don’t get much wrinkles in the screen. Nifty little thing. 🙂

So what kind of video production am I planning? I have a few ideas on the table. Two ideas involve some sort of hand puppets (two different kinds, I might add), and two other ideas involve music videos, one more basic and another more advanced. I don’t know how much of it I’ll actually get done, but I hope to have a wide variety of entertainment venues, mainly for my own fun. Hopefully, I’ll get to a point where I can make a living having fun like that, but until that happens, I’ll just have regular ol’ fun with it. It’s still far down the road for that one, though.

I did some filming experiments with the screen up, just to see how it looked, and it seems I need to work a little more on getting the lighting right. First of all, with the lights I had set up, my face had a yellow hue (which it normally doesn’t), and second, even when directing a light on the screen itself (from the side), I could notice I was casting a shadow on the background, which is the stuff that might ruin a shot later on. In any case, my lighting needs some adjustments. I’ll look around the stores to see if I can find something simple off a normal shelf that fits my lighting needs (as I don’t have room for a large worklight for this purpose). Not to worry, once I had seen the footage, I deleted it. It wasn’t anything worth keeping, anyway.

In other news, the pollen season is in full bloom. First contender is the birch, which is the worst part of my summer allergies. The daily pill just isn’t enough, I now have to supplement it with a nasal spray. There’s always an upside and a downside with the summer weather, though. Sun – upside: warm weather, downside: pollen is even moreso in full bloom. Rain – upside: pollen is knocked to the ground and doesn’t bother me, downside: it’s all wet. And when the birch pollen season is done, the grass pollen season takes over. Thankfully, the grass pollen doesn’t give as strong a reaction as the birch pollen does, so I’ll usually manage with the daily pill on its own. Every year, it’s roughly the same. In March, I need to start taking the daily pill (which, btw, is Telfast, 120 mg of fexofenadine per pill, possibly known as “Allegra” in the US), starting with what’s left of last year’s supply, refilling my stock at home as needed. In the extremely high concentration periods, I need to supplement it with a nasal spray (Flutide Nasal, 50 micrograms of fluticasone propionate per dose – possibly known as “Flixonase” or “Flonase” in the US), just to avoid having my ass (or rather, my head) handed to me by Mother Nature. That actually happened to me a few years ago, on our second trip to Germany. My nose and eyes were running wild, and I had forgotten the nasal spray back home. Thankfully, we were helped by a nice pharmacist, just so we could buy the right medicine (without having the prescription at hand) and actually enjoy the rest of the vacation. Lesson learned: always double-check that all medications are packed in the luggage before leaving home.

Enough about that, it’s time for me to get some sleep.