lighting help for a board room
The board room meetings are televised. Is there a type of florescent bulb that is "tv- friendly" to go in standard florescent overhead recessed lighting fixtures? thank you for your suggestions.
I understand this is what they did for the Tv show "ER", was replace the tubes in normal overhead fluorescent fixtures with indoor color temp tubes from KinoFlo, so the "practicals" all work at the right color temp.
Tubes with the correct CRI and no promoinent green spike in their spectrum are going to cost more than standard. Some folks would wrap the individual tubes with color-correcting gel, or if the diffuser is a single panle of glass or plastic, you could gel that instead. There are ups and downs to that; Gel is realtively cheap and reusable, but you reduce some of the output or throw of the lights by gelling them. You're also still not quite as good on the color temp as the purpose-made tubes, but this is something of a matter of personal opinion, one guy hates it, another says "meh, close enough".
Some guys go the other way, they balance to the existing tube lights and then bring their own flo fixtures and grab matching tubes from the office location's janitor. Since everything is the same color temp, even if it's not perfect, it's at least UNIFORM, and you can then repair or adjust it in post prodcution color processing. This is something you tend to see if you shoot in huge spaces like a grocery store or warehouse or hangar that uses a LOT of these fixtures. It also tends to be cheap to do. Downside I see there is all your fixtures are broad soft lights, if you bring any other kind of lights to that party, THEY have to be gelled to match.
How big is this boardroom, how many chairs, what other kinds of lighting in it (accent downlights, PAR cans, track lighting?) and are there windows? How many different camera shots will you have? What color and material for walls, floor, ceiling? High ceiling or low? Does the lighting have to be "invisible" or can you turn the room into a movie set full of cables, stands, etc.? Do you have full access for all the time you need, even a day ahead, or do you have to get in and get out in an hour? Some of the answers to these questions will drive the choices you make.
Thank you guys for your responses. The board room is in a school, with regular office florescent tube lighting. The walls and decor are light colors. The meetings are held at night, therefore no light from the existing windows. There are 4 robotic cameras mounted close to the ceiling. There are 8 board seats, a side table with other participants and a podium. I am leaning toward recommending a gel for the for the outside covering of the lights to try to get them close to 3200K... I would prefer to use the T8 or T12 recommended, but the school may not want to purchase special tubes if they are super expensive. The room is used for other functions, as well. It just looks extremely drab on TV and I would like to help them improve the situation.
Well there's the answer to a lot of our questions. Boy, with 4 robotic cameras mounted close to the ceiling, I'm guessing there is absolutely no place to hide additional lights. Further, with the cameras mounted close to the ceiling, all the lighting is extremely flat.
Possibly there's a partial solution: use the windows: place some lights outside, raking in to give a back edge to one side of the table, and possibly (depending on how much angle you can get) some kickers / "ratio" to both sides. This can work only if the camera angles do not look out the windows.
director of photography
and custom lighting design
Now that's just plain funny.
WOW, Carolyn, this is a REALLY tough one. You sound like you're really lighting FOUR separate setups, likely arranged in a circle, and the lights can't get in the way of each camera's view.
If the cams are all or mostly on just one side, maybe there's something we can do, but frankly, this challenge, considering the budget and practical constraints, is above my meager skills and all I have to offer from here are musings.
If most cameras are on one side, or if the speakers are all on one side, I might look at bouncing light off the large white opposite wall to create one big soft fill source. The school board people probably won't go for it.
You could have small supplemental fixtures on the table designed to add a little cosmetic soft fill from below. The hotspots from those likely will mess up robotic cameras on auto-iris. Maybe a white table runner with smaller lights above, bouncing into that, could help fill the lower sides of faces while still keeping the lights themselves out of camera shot. You would hang some PAR cans in a row down the length of the table (if it is straight) using scissor clips from the ceiling, assuming its a drop ceiling. Scissor clips clamp onto the metal suspension grid that hold the ceiling tiles. You would have to zoom the cameras in tight so the table top and runner are never in the shot.
My default position when I start a typical sit-down portrait-type lighting situation is to put a light at 45 degrees to the left or right of the camera, behind the camera in terms of distance to the subject, and I start with 45 degrees on the elevation. Then I work that key around until I chase the shadows the way I intend to. Then I add fill from the opposite 45 degree side, either a bounce or an actual instrument. You can't really do either of those here, maybe all you can do is a diffused spot as far back on the wall as you can get.
Yes .....and no. Without knowing the type of architectural fluorescent ceiling trouffers that are installed -- and the designated lamp -- it's hard to say. (You're asking the doctor over the telephone what's wrong with your lungs because you've got a cough.)
As Mark has advised you, if a better CRI lamp doesn't exist, color correction media (polyester/mylar film) can be applied to either the lamp, or the plastic lens cover, to balance the color of the lamp for video.
That's not the big issue however. Your on-camera subjects will still look like "thugs" because they're being lit from the wrong angle. The basic rule of thumb is to light from the direction the camera is shooting. Unless your cameras are mounted on the ceiling -- shooting down on your subjects like the light is -- then your light source position is incorrect. You need to correct for that. "Toplight" is the worst possible angle to light people on camera.
In addition to color correcting your architectural ceiling fixtures, you should augment that room lighting by adding some sort of video-conferencing lighting fixture from a shallower angle -- lighting your subjects more "frontally". I would suggest adding a fixture like the KW/2 #LF124 ....balanced to match your existing room lighting.
I'm going to jump in here with some disagreement. The basic rule of thumb is to light from the direction the camera is shooting. Actually, a basic rule of thumb is to never light from the direction the camera is shooting.
But first of all, Dennis is absolutely correct that if all you have is overhead lighting, your subjects will have "raccoon eyes" -- big shadows around their eye sockets. So then comes the question: what to do about that?
A common solution is to fly either Kino Flos or else individual fresnel lights angled to reach into the eyes of people across the table, like this rather crude drawing:
An alternative is to place some fill-light on the floor, left and right of the camera, high enough to reach over the backs of heads on one side and into the eye sockets on the other.
A third alternative is a very flat solution: place the fill right over the camera.
In my view, the first key to good lighting is shadows. That means, light in a way that you create shadows that you want. If there are no shadows at all, the image tends to look flat. You can take some of the curse of that flatness away by adding raking kickers to make part of one cheek (or sometimes both cheeks) much hotter than the front of the face. But I suspect you will not have any place to put such a kicker in this board room.
One of the issues you have not addressed is just where is the camera? Is it stationary shooting down the middle of the table, with zooms and pans to speakers? Does it rove around? Answers to those questions will help determine where you can place lights that are not in the shot(s).
director of photography
and custom lighting design
This is a conference room...not a studio -- it's not even an ENG shoot.
Carolyn will be lucky if she can even buy/borrow/steal/ one light. If she is able to obtain one light, she will still be stuck with no one to install/hang/focus/ position that one light properly. Art aside --- when you only have one light and you need to shoot someone's face -- the ideal position is from the camera point of view, not above the subject, not behind the subject, not to the right or left or any other "artsy" Rembrandt position.
This is Videoconferencing .... and at it's worse -- in a school environment, not a corporate environment where there's money available. The lighting needs to be basic, simple and clean -- and provide visibility to a person's face who's trying to secure funds for student's computers. It needs to be free of shadows and evenly washed ...think driver's license "portraiture" lighting.
Frankly, once the fluoros are color corrected, a few judiciously placed bounce cards, hung angled from the ceiling trouffers, might
provide, enough "eye fill" to improve the look of the subjects. Unfortunately, lighting will always take the blame when, in fact, in this particular situation I suspect none of the cameras are properly balanced (...and they're probably the equivalent of cheap security cameras).
My experience dictates that a good video engineer cleaning up the camera set-up would make a world of difference.
[Dennis Size] "It needs to be free of shadows and evenly washed ...think driver's license "portraiture" lighting."
Ain't that a mug shot?
I think you are on the right track asking questions to achieve a better overall broadcast quality.
Yes is the answer to your question, there are higher CRI color constant tubes available in both T-12 and T-8 tube specifications. And even if this is all you can afford to do it is a huge step in the right direction.
As you have been informed from Mark and Denis there are many considerations as to the augmentation you are seeking.
Depending on the type of tubes, the ballasts and the number of florescent units per square feet of the room you could end up with a "Thug" look that is basically green that flickers and for some it is branded institutional style (film look) that you don't want.
It would be worth investigating into what type of fixture you are dealing and how many per square feet of the room, then reporting back. Depending on the size of your company it may be worth retro-fitting this board room with high end architectural dim-able florescent lighting and a few addition units just for the televised board room broadcasts.