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Recomondations for lighting a green screen in a small room?

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Christopher Targia
Recomondations for lighting a green screen in a small room?
on Apr 24, 2009 at 7:45:24 pm

I am looking for new lighting for my companys green screen operation, we are getting a new Panasonic AG-HPX170 P2HD Solid-State Camcorder, we have 2 fluorescent soft boxes, and need new lights for a back light and to properly light the green screen, all lights need to be within the 5100-5600k color temp range. The room is to small but its all we have to use, about 15'-25',

please let me know your guys opinions on these lights would they be good for a backlight?

http://www.tubetape.net/servlet/the-139/Cool-Flo-600-Watt/Detail

http://www.coollights.biz/clmf0070-cool-lights-fresnel-p-120.html

i need a 5100-5600K light

also for the green screen lights

how would two of these work?
http://www.tubetape.net/servlet/the-121/Cool-Flo--dsh--1200/Detail

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/shop/2249/Fluorescent_Lights_Kits.html


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Rick Wise
Re: Recomondations for lighting a green screen in a small room?
on Apr 24, 2009 at 9:34:01 pm

You would be best served by sticking to a single manufacturer of fluorescent bulbs. The reason: the amount of green spike will vary considerably between them. So if you stick to one company, you have a better chance of needing to only manually balance your video camera. If you mix light from two different companies, you may find that one is more green than the other, and that you need to add minus-green gels to one to try to balance to the bulbs to the other. Who makes your fluorescent soft boxes? Stick with the same company for your green screen and back-lights.

You are correct that you will need at least two lights for the green screen. Since you need to light the screen evenly across the visible screen, two lights might or might not make it. You may need two more, one from the floor in the middle and one from the ceiling in the middle. (If you do need a floor unit, you will probably need to raise your talent on a platform so the camera doesn't see this light. It is obviously easier to hide Kino-Flo style units than large round ones.)

I have no hands-on experience with any of these units. One of them is not a fluorescent type at all.

Note that for your green-screen units, a different green spike from the other units would not be serious. But all lights hitting talent should balance to each other on the green-magenta axis if at all possible. (You may, however, want to cool or warm the backlight, depending on the talent's hair color. That's a different issue. In that case, cooler or warmer hair-light, we are talking about the blue-red color axis. The more nasty one to control is the green-magenta axis.)

Rick Wise
director of photography
and custom lighting design
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
http://www.recessionvideo.net
http://www.linkedin.com/in/rwise
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Christopher Targia
Re: Recomondations for lighting a green screen in a small room?
on Apr 27, 2009 at 1:45:33 pm

These are my soft boxes
http://www.tubetape.net/servlet/the-125/Cool-Flo--dsh--2/Detail

I was aware one of the lights was a CDM, but I thought since it was the same color temperature it would be compatible.

There is no way I could possibly fit a light on the ceiling or floor, the room is an office not a studio and was not designed for what we are doing, but it is all we have to work with.

I was under the impression a hardlight would make the best backlight, I am not finding a hardlight from the company I got the fluorescent softboxes from.


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Rick Wise
Re: Recomondations for lighting a green screen in a small room?
on Apr 27, 2009 at 5:09:45 pm

The advantage of a hard light is that it is easier to adjust. Here's an example: your talent has white hair and is wearing a dark jacket. In such as case you would probably adjust the intensity of a hard light, preferably in the flood position, so that the suit separates from the background. Then you'd add a split double or split triple or two split doubles to the light, positioning them so that the wire part hits the head, and the clear part hits his suit.

You can always make a hard light into a soft light by adding some diffusion to its barn doors or by flying diffusion out in front. A soft light can be only a soft light. To split the intensity with a soft light you must use a C-stand with grip doubles and singles.

Since you will have to use a hard light that does not match your key lights, buy several sheets of 1/8 minus green so that you can roughly make the light match your key. Also get some 1/4 CTB and some 1/4 CTO so you can warm or cool the backlight to taste. I'd recommend also a sheet of opal and also 1/2 gird cloth to give you the option of a softer backlight.

I find -- others have different tastes -- that the only purpose of the backlight is to make a nearly invisible separation of the subject from the background.

With green screen, you never want your backlight to scream at you. A hot rim makes for a very bad key.

Rick Wise
director of photography
and custom lighting design
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
http://www.recessionvideo.net
http://www.linkedin.com/in/rwise
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Recomondations for lighting a green screen in a small room?
on Apr 27, 2009 at 2:31:16 pm

There is one other way....

Put up a frame with taut green translucent silk, about a foot from the back wall, and light it from close behind with a stacked array of straight tubes. The diffusion is built into the cloth and evens out the source better than if you tried to hit it with multiple sources from the front, less overlap. If the silk is already the right color, the tubes may even be dirt cheap industrial lighting instead of something with a high CRI. It would all depend on the fabric or gel material used. Any suggestions for that would be welcome.

I thought of this because I remembered seeing some Hollywood green and blue sets do it this way, particularly when shooting models for process work. Just sort of like a big light table like photogs use to look at slides with, except as a wall. The nice part of this for you would include the fact that all the lighting for the screen is behind the screen, leaving you more unobstructed working space in front of the screen.

There are trade-offs, of course. And not just that you have to construct a frame, wire a bunch of tubes, and find seamless green material of the right transmission characteristics...

I think a downside of this approach would be perhaps a higher amount of spill because now the green screen is not just a reflective source but a direct, transmissive one. Not sure on that, I'll bow to the expertise of one of the pro DP's here. Another downer would be that this won't work for a regular floor, so if you need full-body, you're still going to need to light some cloth or vinyl flooring, but hey, that part can be lit from an overhead grid or an auto-pole.

I've been down on them in the past, but there also *is* the option of Reflecmedia, if you are truly tight for space. Instead of green or blue cloth, a special fabric covered in retroreflective beads bounces your green or blue light from a ring of colored LEDs mounted to the lens. I'm down on it, mostly over the very high price of the special cloth, plus, you can't easily use a conventional teleprompter with it and reflective items like eyeglasses can also cause problems sometimes. However, a number of pro shops do use it and like it. Certainly it will reduce your number of needed lights to obtain the key, and distance is not a factor here. It tends to work better for close up work anyhow.


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