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Lighting a small office video green screen studio
May 24, 2014 7:11 AM   Subscribe

I work at a small company that wants to get into producing short video clips. I have been asked to figure out a basic lighting setup for filming individual people talking to the camera in front of a green screen. What do I need to know about video lighting?

We have a small room (about 8' x 10') that is going to become a dedicated film room, and have painted one of the walls green. We also have access to several photography studio lights (the kind that are mounted on a tripod and are shined on the metallic-colored umbrella), but can acquire additional lighting if necessary. We're going to be filming clips of one or two people on screen together, primarily from the chest up but on occasion doing full height recording.
posted by philosophygeek to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
 
Lighting is a rabbit hole. It often matters for what effect your going for. You can also spend as mush time and money on this stuff as you like. You can spend days on bulbs and spectrums alone!

You can blow out the background so there is "infinite" white.

Most set ups would have at least 5 lights. Backlights, a key light, and a fill lights. You can oversaturate your subjects fairly easily, so you really need to spend time figuring out positioning. In rooms like what you are describing you might want to forego the backlights. You for sure want the key light (main light) and at least one fill (used to soften shadows).

One of the important aspects of green screening is uniformity in your lighting.

I'd spend some time on duckduckgo.com reading about lighting. The setups are fairly standard, but the variations are infinite.

I have this exact setup in my basement, except the green wall is actually a screen.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:25 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


Position your subject as far away from the greenscreen as you can. You don't want light bouncing off the greenscreen and spilling back on your subject. It will be tinted green and will make pulling a good key difficult.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:27 AM on May 24


Wistia have some great tutorials on getting started with video. Their hosting service is awesome too, but you can benefit from their tuts without signing up http://wistia.com/learning/down-amp-dirty-lighting-kit. Should be something you can use there.
posted by dirm at 1:29 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


It will be nearly impossible to get a head to toe shot in an 8x10' room, much less a two shot.

Not to be dismissive, but this really might be a good occasion to hire a professional crew. Aside from lighting concerns, you also have to take into account lens/camera choice, editing and (presumably) sound.

If your employer is expecting professional looking and sounding results, call someone to give you a realistic budget to create a good product- it might save the company from investing in equipment that don't produce the desired results.
posted by rock swoon has no past at 8:10 AM on May 25


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