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Old 09-19-2006, 08:04 AM
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maderemark maderemark is offline
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Virtual Backgrounds/The Scene Machine

Anyone have any experience with Virtual Backgrounds/The Scene Machine?

Looks like a great way to give clients a ton of new looks and backgrounds without leaving the studio.

The cost to get started with a new system ranges from $3000 - $8000. That's quite an upfront investment.

I spoke to a photographer who bought a system in the spring anf he sang the praises about it's marketing potential to generate new business. After pressing him about that, he indicated he saw no real increase but hadn't really marketed the benefits of the system. If I'm spending that kind of $$, I want to see a definite ROI (Return On Investment) and FAST!

Any thoughts on all this?

Mark




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Old 09-19-2006, 08:52 AM
gustofusion gustofusion is offline
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Re: Virtual Backgrounds/The Scene Machine

I know theres a Photoshop plugin called virtual film tools "Light" that gives many of these same effects and does quite a good job as well.

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Old 09-19-2006, 10:22 AM
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Re: Virtual Backgrounds/The Scene Machine

Martin,

Who makes the plugin? Please post a link.

Mark

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Old 09-19-2006, 12:26 PM
DougAxford DougAxford is offline
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Re: Virtual Backgrounds/The Scene Machine

Hi Mark,

I was searching for one of the older discussions on this and could not find it.

In short, I owned a Scene Machine years ago, used it for 2-3 years and unloaded it. They have upgraded slightly, but still same technique. It is more fussy on getting everything correct than they say. The bottom line to me was that I was spending too much time creating a background (pre-sales + shooting) than creating a good portrait. A smudge on the screen means PS later to fix it - it will show!

I've switched to green screen whenever I need a variety of backgrounds. Once again, there are fussy issues, but now the creative time is spent after getting a great portrait not during. I personally find the quality better, but that's subjective. The cost is a few hundred $$ vs. a few thousand. We use it for all seniors (grads) and all elementary schools, some portraits from single to groups of 20. If the portrait calls for a standard background, use muslim or canvas, just easier. We sell background choice as an upgrade.

CHeck this link for full domos, samples and tutorials. It's a PS plug-in.

digitalanarchy.com

It's worth the time to experiment with it. If you're spending a few hundred, yes it will make $$ right away. I didn't find that scene machine could generate enough extra $$ to make me happy. There are many who are though.

Doug

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Old 09-19-2006, 01:53 PM
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Re: Virtual Backgrounds/The Scene Machine

Doug,

Thanks for the info and link. I will investigate this option further.

Regards,

Mark

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Old 09-20-2006, 09:31 PM
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RogerBerg RogerBerg is offline
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Re: Virtual Backgrounds/The Scene Machine

We have had a Scene Machine for many years, used to use it a lot, but for the past years have given it up. Since we are all digital, we have started to use it again, I must say that digital cameras and the ability to review the shot on the camera's display has really improved the thing.

Before you give up on the idea, look at the work of Joseph & Louise Simone, their web site is Louise et Joseph Simone, portraitistes They have taken this technology to new heights. There are other innovative photographers taking advantage of this and you can see soem of their work at Welcome to Virtual Backgrounds

We also to the "green screen" effect, but use Corel Knock Out to remove the backgrounds, we shoot the portraits on white seamless vinyl backgrounds. The Knock Out's are very accurate, and fast to do, by using white, we avoid the green edges we always got with green screen.

There is great potential in being able to use all kinds of backgrounds, especially local scenes, in the efficiency and comport of my own studio.

You can see another way we are doing this with large photo prints for backgrounds, at this page in our web site:

Senior Portraits

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Old 09-20-2006, 11:44 PM
DougAxford DougAxford is offline
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Re: Virtual Backgrounds/The Scene Machine

Roger,

Good to hear from you again.

The Simone's work has always been spectacular, even if they had a brick wall for a background. They certainly set a standard for us to drool at.

I haven't used Knock-out in quite a while, I'll have to try it again. In exchange, could you please try the demo of Primatte. If you get any green at all, you've got to be trying hard not to make it work. Whispy blonde hair takes an extra minute,but all the green is gone. It's makes everything else we've tried look bad.

Primatte has a bonus referral system, just so everyone is clear, I don't participate in it and get nothing from my constant pushing their product. Just think it's the best at this point. Maybe they'll buy me a beer at a PMA reception (where drinks are always free). Hope to get there this year.
Doug

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