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Lighting for presentations w/powerpoints?

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Loren Sonnenberg
Lighting for presentations w/powerpoints?
on Jul 28, 2008 at 9:27:08 pm

I film a lot of presentations with my DVX100 and have a running problem where clients want both the powerpoint & speaker clearly visible in the same shot even though the contrast between the two (powerpoint = highlights and speaker = shadows) makes this nearly impossible do do properly. Is there a common way of using lighting to deal with this problem?

Should I light the podium to some degree (pro light w/snoot would be pretty unobtrusive)? Should I simply shoot for the shadows and overlay the powerpoint slides in post? I'm trying not to make too much more editing work for myself so I'm trying to be creative here. Any suggestions?


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Rick Wise
Re: Lighting for presentations w/powerpoints?
on Jul 28, 2008 at 9:41:39 pm

The only way to do this comfortably is to make sure the lighting on the speaker is at the same general intensity as the power-point presentation. That usually means you have to dim down the lights on the speaker. The usual methods are wire scrims on the lights, grip scrims in front of the lights, or ND filters in front of the lights. You can also dim the lights with a dimmer, but that will make any lights the dimmer(s) control turn much warmer than you may want.

If you have any control over what projector is used, try to get one with as much sharpness and brightness as possible.

You are correct that overlaying the slides in post will be an editing nightmare.

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Loren Sonnenberg
Re: Lighting for presentations w/powerpoints?
on Jul 29, 2008 at 12:03:07 am

I don't have access to studio lighting (this is for a side gig) so I would have to bring in any lighting I wanted to use. Any lighting I brought in would also have to be relatively discreet (hence the pro light w/snoot idea). I can't just modify the existing lighting setup - you can see in the 2nd pic below that the only lighting available is dimmable overheads. Pictures of the problem (1) + venue (2) are below:

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Ken Zukin
Re: Lighting for presentations w/powerpoints?
on Jul 29, 2008 at 9:34:58 pm

There are a couple of ways to approach it. The most professional way is to, as you suggest, edit in the powerpoint content in post. Or, you could shoot with two cameras -- one on the podium and one on the powerpoint screen, and again edit in the footage later. It makes sense to give the client some options -- if they're willing to pay extra for a professional product, so be it -- if they want to cheap-out and are satisfied with an inferior product, at least you've covered yourself.

As far as lighting goes, you're dealing with two different color temperatures, as the powerpoint stuff will be daylight balanced, much like a TV monitor, and the house lighting will be incandescent. So, if you augment the house lighting with a tungsten fresnel and color balance to that, the resulting powerpoint images will look blue. So, shooting with one camera will only work if you can throw some "blue" light on your speaker (to match the powerpoint).

Alerting your client to this mismatch in color temps is a good idea in advance, so as to avoid surprises.

Also, if you do bring it supplemental lighting (and HMIs are the answer here), if you angle the key light as if it were originating from the powerpoint screen, it will sub-consciously look as though the speaker is being "lit" by the powerpoint screen. It's a nice touch.

With your DVX100, do some testing. Shooting in 24fps can be problematic if there's interlaced video in the content of the powerpoint. Shooting @ 30 frames progressive is a good alternative.


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Karl Sumwalt
Re: Lighting for presentations w/powerpoints?
on Sep 19, 2008 at 4:30:14 pm

Loren,

You may not need this information any longer, but just in case you do:

I do 2 recordings. The presenter is recorded with the camera. Then I have the presentation run via my own computer. On it I run a program called Camtasia. It does screen recordings, and I have it set to record already. From there, I produce the screen recording to a format my video editing software can use, and place it in as a PIP, over the presentation from the camera. There are other programs out there that allow you to record what is happening on the screen. I found Camtasia and stuck with it too long ago to remember the pros/cons of each and why I made that decision.

By recording both, you simply find the common point, line up the two recordings, and go. You may want to check to see if you need to adjust recording speeds.

Quite often, I make the presentation video the opposite of what you would get above. I have found it better to keep the slideshow presentation the size of the full screen, and show the presenter in the PIP. This keeps the text on the slides more visible.

When I do these, they go on internal web sites or computer CD's, so I use the Camtasia software to produce the final deliverable. The downside to it is that the screen recording cannot go on the PIP track. That forces me into the second scenario.

Regards,
Karl




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