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Challenging setup - Professor doing speech standing in front of SmartBoard...HOW TO LIGHT?

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Jonathan Capogrossi
Challenging setup - Professor doing speech standing in front of SmartBoard...HOW TO LIGHT?
on Jul 16, 2016 at 11:29:31 pm

Hello, all-

I am not a newcomer to video projects but I continuously keep learning that I still have more to learn about cameras, lenses, and lighting.

I encountered an unexpected error in a project I carried out for my BOSS that landed me with some bad footage.


My boss is a professor and was carrying out an important speech related to some important current events and how they relate to US History. (NOTE- I was informed about this project the night before, and so didn't know what to expect, he just asked me to bring in my video equipment to film something the next day... I figured it would be a VLOG type speech, which he occasionally does)

At the shoot, I learned he wanted to have the following setup...

1. LOCATION- a medium sized classroom lit with standard classroom florescent lights
2. Lecturing in front of a Smart Board screen that is displaying a PowerPoint Presentation on the topic
3. He would walk back and forth in front of the SmartBoard screen, emphasizing certain points in the speech
4. In the editing, he wanted me to cut back and forth between the footage of his addressing the camera and the actual slides he was speaking about

I shot this on a Canon T3i, at 30 fps.
Because I know he tends to walk a lot and because I wanted the entire SmartBoard rectangular screen to fit in the picture, I used my EFS 10-18 mm Lens.

My main concern when we started shooting was how dark it was. Even with the florescent lighting, the shots were borderline grainy.

However, I thought it would be right on the line and so presentable.

I had an LED light with me but I do not own a lighting kit (YET)

So, I filmed the whole presentation, which was about 30-40 minutes long.

What was I UNFORTUNATELY SHOCKED to see when I started editing the footage on my iMac?


Here I was worrying about the dark classroom, so dark it was borderline grainy. I also didn't want to use the LED light because it was causing reflections on the SmartBoard screen that was showing the Powerpoint....

And, instead, what was TOO SMALL to see on the tiny monitor screen of the T3i suddenly became a horrendous red dot that somehow lined up exactly with his forehead whenever he walked to that part of the room (which was unfortunately OFTEN)

I was shocked that I had this. LENS FLARE from a florescent light in a room that was borderline DARK/GRAINY on camera

Now, I would say that 60% of the footage is messed up due to this.
I will either have to go to my boss and shamefully admit this unforeseen error and ask if he wants to re-shoot it, OR I will need to literally edit around MUCH of his speech.

I am BUMMED about this as I am continually trying to improve my work (I am an employee of the College but I also am a Multimedia Grad student)


My thought...

I purchase a lighting Kit (Maybe just an LED kit to cut costs)
I do a somewhat standard 3 point lighting setup.
Therefore, the Speaker is now lit by the LED kit,
I cut the lights in the room and have the Powerpoint on the screen behind him have more of a presence.
He would have to be a further distance from the SmartBoard to avoid Shadows
Or, I would have to require him to Never walk in front of the screen (??)

How would you film this type of scenario?

SERIOUS THANKS from someone striving to become better at what I do.

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Jonathan Capogrossi
Re: Challenging setup - Professor doing speech standing in front of SmartBoard...HOW TO LIGHT?
on Jul 17, 2016 at 6:21:56 am


I realize this could be as simple as "Use a Lens Hood"

I guess I was under the impression this wasn't needed, because I had filmed a lecture in another classroom in the same building and there was ZERO lens flare... (However, that classroom has higher ceilings...not sure of the reason)

I guess any videographer has to be prepared for anything and expect the worst...
I came with two fully charged batteries, and 128 Gig's of memory cards...
Had filmed before in another classroom in this building, same type of florescent lights...NO lens flare

If I do get one more chance to reshoot this, (which is 50% possible) I want to make sure I lock this down and have it as professional as possible

How can I successfully shoot this?

1. a human subject lecturing in front of a Smart board displaying a PowerPoint Presentation

2. Person is walking back and forth, addressing the camera directly at some times, other times looking at the screen, talking about what is on the PowerPoint Slide as they use a remote to advance the slides forwards

3. Occasionally they will use a Laser pointer to emphasize something on the slide

Therefore, I will need to light the human subject with a basic 3 point lighting setup,
Except, the human subject will be moving around.

I will need to light the person, without casting shadows, which will then obscure the image of the powerpoint

ALSO, since this powerpoint is on a Smartboard, the images are projected onto an Acrylic plastic screen, which is also a reflective surface


OF COURSE, for starters, this time I will have a Lens Hood on the camera

1. I will have two LED Umbrella kits at 500 Watts...

2. Key Light will be closer than fill (i.e. standard set-up)

3. I'll get some more separation in distance between the human subject and the Smartboard to avoid shadows

4. I'll have to use camera placement and SOME zoom to make sure I have the entire Smartboard screen visible to the slides can be seen, but also trying to compress the visual distance between the human subject and the screen

5. I can dim the lights near the smart board so that hopefully the light of the screen is more visible

6. I may not be able to have a backlight/hairlight on this one...I can try to use my small LED light on this one
, but worse comes to worse one of the classroom florescent ceiling lights will have to do

Does this sound like an improvement to the original set up??

What am I missing here?

MUCH THANKS FOR YOUR HELP/ADVICE (struggling to get better )

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