How Big Can I Go?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by hinton1972, May 28, 2006.

  1. hinton1972

    hinton1972 TPF Noob!

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    Good morning.

    I have a Canon 350D with the standard 18-55 lens and also an old EOS zoom lens which goes up to 300.

    I need to take a picture of the school and the students in the school, totalling 2000 people. They will be sitting on a terraced bank infront of the building which in turn will fill the rest of the frame. I will be taking the picture from across a playing field.

    So, provided I can fit it all in the shot, how big will I be able to print? There is a backlit frame, about 6 foot by 8 foot that needs to be filled, and I am wondering as to whether or not this size picture will lose all of it's clarity or whether it will be still be sharp enough to look good.

    The printing will be done by a professional banner shop or something similar.

    Any thoughts please........
     
  2. Philip Weir

    Philip Weir TPF Noob!

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    Hi Hinton1972,
    I don't know the mg size of the camera you are using, but if I had to shoot an image that had to go to that size, I would be shooting on film, and have the image drum-scanned if printing digitally, which I sure you would be. I would also not shoot on a 35mm size either, but 120 or 5x4 inch. If that is the only camera you have, take a shot as hi-res as you can, then, if you have Photoshop or similar, increase the size on your monitor and look at the result. An important point to remember though is that you would view a 10x8 inch print from just in front of you, whereas a six by 8 foot print would be viewed from maybe 10 or 20 foot away. Trust his helps. Philip.
    www.philipweirphotography.com
     
  3. hinton1972

    hinton1972 TPF Noob!

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    The camera is an 8 meg camera and sadly I don't have a film camera with which to take the shot. Somebody tried before with a film camera, which, evidently, wasn't of good quality hence my now having to use my camera.....
     
  4. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    You'll be pretty limited in size. You'll need high resolution to have the faces looking good. Most shots like that that are shot digitally are shot, as Philip said, on 120, or even LF, and drum scanned. Another option is to rent for a day, a digital back and MF camera, but it's very expensive.
     
  5. hinton1972

    hinton1972 TPF Noob!

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    I don't think that this is so important, as long as it doesn't look like a large pixelated picture. Just as long as it looks clear enough and that it gives a good representation of the building and the students.......
     
  6. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    Using your camera you will be about 30 pixels per inch of print. That will be quite a bit of pixelation.

    Maybe take several pics and stitch them together to get the bigger file.
     
  7. Luke

    Luke TPF Noob!

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    my advice:
    double the pictures size with one of the pixel increasing filters you can download, then print at 60 dpi, most billboards are only 15 dpi, so for something this large, 60 should suffice. see if you can look up the standars on the net though
     
  8. stingray

    stingray TPF Noob!

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    yeah.. perhaps an unorthodox way would be to set the camera up with the 300mm lens and take a lot of pictures and stitch together? It will be far more work to get it looking good but without large or even medium format I don't see what other option you... 6 foot by 8 foot is very big!
     
  9. Philip Weir

    Philip Weir TPF Noob!

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    Not a bad idea from "Luke" remembering that by increasing the meg size will indeed reduce the "pixellating" but won't improve the sharpness, but will help. There is way in "Photoshop" to sharpen [I don't mean unsharp masking] but unless your skilled in "Photoshop" it can be difficult. A 6 foot by 8 foot print at 60 pixels per inch would give you a file size of about 70 mgs, which should easily be manageable by the printing lab. Philip.
     
  10. darich

    darich TPF Noob!

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    Bear in mind that this image will not be looked at closely. Like someone already said regarding billboards adn the print resolution - billboards are observed from several dozen metres so the low res isn't visible. If your final image is to be 6ft x 8ft then it'll be viewed from probably 12ft away.

    Sure someone can go examine it and spot the pixelation but it's the same with a billboard - when you examine one of them you can see each individual spot of colour that's used to make up the whole image.

    In my office the biggest camera is 4mp (ideal for our use) and someone sent an image to the wrong printer. Instead of coming out A4 size (apprx 300mm x 200mm) it was printed A0 (approx 1200mm x 900mm) Someone put it on the wall and from anywhere beyond around 5ft it looks amazing. But go closer and it looks pretty rough.
     
  11. Azuth

    Azuth TPF Noob!

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    I've seen plenty of large school photo's. They're not designed to be viewed from 12ft away, they're designed to hang in the reception and people expect to be able to see little Jonny.

    If it's supposed to be looked at from a distance then great, if not, your gear isn't up task (unless as suggested you think you can get everyone to hold still long enough to make a composite image).
     
  12. Arch

    Arch Damn You! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Ok, i'll give you my interpretation, since banner design and outdoor advertising is my main source of income at the moment.

    IMO you will be fine usuing what you have. When you have your digital image in photoshop, open a new doc and set it to 25-50% of the finished size, then after making your picture adjustments, drop and rescale your image onto that canvas.
    Use the preview 'actual size' option..... if you think it needes a boost, go to 'image'..... 'image size'...... when the window opens..... increase the pixel dimentions or image size (but dont go mad with it)...... then making sure the 'resample image' box is checked select 'Bicubic Smoother'. This will interpolate your image with more pixels and is the most effective way of producing a large print.

    I agree with a few others tho..... your image may not look super sharp close up..... but all the banner/outdoor stuff i do is designed to be viewed from a few steps back at least.
     

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