Making custom backgrounds
VidProv provides a number of preset background images. Their primary use is for Scene mode, but they can also be used in the other modes. You can add your own custom backgrounds (up to a maximum of 10).
A great image...
- Gives a sense of space that feels proportionate to the size of the improvisers video character (which can be changed within some limits);
- Is shot from an appropriate angle — generally eye level.
- Has different places that might represent a position the improviser can utilise (e.g. chairs, a window to look through, a tree to climb, etc)
- Does not have a lot of foreground clutter.
- Has a large part of the image that represents open space that a person could move around in.
- Does not have frozen people or objects. An static image that shows people walking, for example, looks weird combined with moving improvisers. If there are people, it should make sense that they are static (e.g. sitting, reading, etc)
There are always exceptions. You might find the perfect image that breaks some or all of these guidelines.
- Start with a bigger image and scale down. Avoid images that would need to be scaled up.
- Adjust tone, brightness, contrast if needed.
- Think about where the improvisers would want to place themselves in the image.
- As a general rule, more foreground and less background/sky will be better.
The visible stage area has a fixed aspect ratio which is approximately a golden rectangle. The idea is to maintain the same layout independent of the device on which it is viewed. At the sides of the stage are wings where off-stage performers can wait, ready to come on.
Depending on the available image, you can either aim to cover just the stage, or if the image allows it, have some image that extends into the wings. The choice largely comes down to keeping the crucial parts of the image within the main viewing area.
With all of that in mind, and trying to keep a reasonable resolution, but without an excessive file size, the images should have the following dimensions.
- height = 989 pixels
(= 1600 / 1.618 golden ratio)
- width = from 1800 to 1920 pixels
(1600 is the absolute minimum, but 1800 gives a little bit of cover at the edge of the wings)
The system has its own storage machanism, but for your own reference, it's helpful to give your file a meaningful name.
- Go into your VidProv room.
- Select background from the menu.
- Go to the custom tab.
- Click the blank template with the "+" sign.
- Select an image from your computer and open it.
Once you've added the image it will remain there available for you to use. If you want to delete any images, go back to the custom tab, and click the "x" button on that image to delete (cannot be undone).
If you have a great background image, that is created from a free source or that you have rights to, please consider sharing it with the community. Send it to me, and I'll put it into the general library for everyone to use.