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Green Screen Lighting

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Brodie
Green Screen Lighting
on May 16, 2006 at 4:11:45 pm

Here's a bit of a challenge, so any and all ideas would be very beneficial!

I'm working with 3 Arri Lights (2 300w and 1 650w [3200 K?]), I'm in a small space, there are fluorescent lights abound that cannot be turned off, and I'm shooting on a Sony HVR-A1U. The style of the shoot is going to be an interview, so there is not much movement going on either.

When I said that it is a small space, I mean really small. I've done some research and know that I have to get as much distance between the screen and the subject as possible, but the maximum amount that I can get is 3'. There is also not much space on the sides to put lights, I'm figuring about 3' as well.

I have diffusion for the lights, but like I said, only those three. I read that I could by work lights, but I'm already mixing two types of lights, what damage would the third do (*quartz)? I do have a light meter as well, so I can check for consistent lighting, but it's a matter of getting to that place.

A friend of mine said that I could do a close-up with one light on the screen, one light as a backlight, and the other as a key. Or two lights on the screen and one as the foreground light. The only problem with the latter is that I get a bit of a shadow on the screen (I was using the 650w as the foreground light, but that can be changed)

My budget is fairly low and I have to shoot very soon, so I hope that you all can come up with some help for me. Thank you very much!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Leo Ticheli
Re: Green Screen Lighting
on May 16, 2006 at 6:56:11 pm

My first suggestion is, don't do any job you can't do properly. Sure, you should reach a bit, but guaranteed failure is not a career builder.

Since you are probably going to forge ahead anyway, here's enough rope to hang yourself.

First, you can turn off the fluorescent lights! Just rotate or remove the tubes.

Light your screen as evenly as you can with the 300's; use some diffusion on them to get a softer pattern.

With the 650 and as large a piece of light diffusion as you can come up with, light your subject from 3/4 front, or as far to the side as you need to avoid the shadow on the screen. You can fill with foam core.

I'm betting you don't have a waveform monitor, so try to use your auto iris to find a level on the screen that is the same as the level on the subject. Just turn off the 650, check the level on the screen, then turn off the 300's and see where the level is. Use scrims or more diffusion to make them about equal in level. Of course you will not shoot with auto iris on!

If you have an attack of rationality, move to a better location.

Good luck!

Leo





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Brodie
Re: Green Screen Lighting
on May 16, 2006 at 7:15:00 pm

I wish I could be more rational, but I'm in an office building in a room converted into a "studio." I'm just an intern with a lot of water over my head and a low budget.


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Bob Cole
Re: Green Screen Lighting
on May 17, 2006 at 3:11:17 am

You probably won't get a good key but there is, surprisingly, a way to deal with that.

I've seen a very well-budgeted organization which uses a tiny space with a similar disregard for good technique, and they get away with it by using a very jazzy style in their editing. You don't even notice the lousy key because the background is hopping and jumping, and the people in the foreground are doing the same.

I wonder whether a luma key (against white or black, making sure the subject doesn't wear the background color) might be a better bet in this situation, if only because at least the fringing won't be green.

Any thoughts about that approach, Leo?

-- Bob C


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Leo Ticheli
Re: Green Screen Lighting
on May 17, 2006 at 3:21:35 am

Some of the most popular (although I'm not so sure that's a plus) effects and techniques have been born of our mistakes and limitations.

I don't know if it's actually true, but I've heard that the floating type technique came about when a very clever edit team observed a stability problem with a system and decided that it actually looked great and called attention to the text!

Remember the "Bad-cam" technique? Lot's of very shaky and horribly composed shots cut to a good beat. Almost seems un-watchable now, but boy did it have it's day! MTV brought us a lot more than music.

I guess it's the old saw about lemons and lemonade!

Best regards,

Leo



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Bob Cole
Re: Green Screen Lighting
on May 18, 2006 at 2:04:57 pm

But back to my question: if you have an impossible keying situation (tiny room &/or impossible to light bg evenly):

would it be better to use a green background, knowing that in post you're going to have to cut into the foreground subject to avoid green fringes, or would it be better to overlight a white background, and accept a rough (but white) halo around the subject?


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