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lighting a small whiteboard with 3 arri 150s

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Michael Greenwald
lighting a small whiteboard with 3 arri 150s
on Jul 2, 2011 at 5:19:55 am


I have a 2' x 3' whiteboard and I'm trying to get it bright and with few shadows. I realize this will be hard with the lights I have (3 Arri 150w lights), but can anyone suggests positions for lights or other handy tips?

The setup we have right now: whiteboard is on a stool, like a desk for the artist. Camera is suspended on a tripod looking down on the board. Other setup ideas welcome.

Thank you!

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Rick Wise
Re: lighting a small whiteboard with 3 arri 150s
on Jul 2, 2011 at 5:50:22 pm

If you have some diffusion such 1000H (paper) or 1/2 grid cloth and a C-stand or two, I'd place two of the 150s to one side of the board and at an angle about 45ยบ above the board. Then I'd fly the diffusion inbetween the lights and the board, adjusting its position to produce the least amount of shadow. The more distance between the lights and the diffusion, the less intense the shadow.

I'd take a piece of white foamcore or showcard and place it on the opposite side of the board to bounce the key back from that side.

If you do not have any diffusion, you can get shower curtain liner at Home Depot and the like for about $6. Figure you a way to fly it as above. Their liner comes in "clear" and "white." If you can afford it, get one of each. The white will give you a much softer look but chews up about 2 stops of light. If you go with the white, you might want to add the 3rd 150. Try to focus all beams, on flood, on the same rough area of your diffusion.

Finally, you might want to experiment with an alternative to placing the lights and diffusion to the side; try instead placing them coming over the top of the board, with the bounce card at the bottom, though this position might be in the way of the artist.

Rick Wise
director of photography
San Francisco Bay Area
part-time instructor lighting/camera
Academy of Art University/Film and Video (grad school)

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Steve Kownacki
Re: lighting a small whiteboard with 3 arri 150s
on Jul 3, 2011 at 5:50:23 pm

What specifically are you trying to accomplish? What is the shot? Will it include talent? Is the shot locked off and you can create the effect in post? Can you do this outside and use natural light reflected onto the scene? Or use the shower curtain stretched overhead?


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Bill Davis
Re: lighting a small whiteboard with 3 arri 150s
on Jul 3, 2011 at 7:49:40 pm

Directing light towards shiny surfaces is often a very bad idea. It creates hot spots and highlights that are very hard to control.

You don't actually want to light the white board. You want to light a bright, even thing that the white board can REFLECT back to the camera.

The shower curtain idea is a great place to start. Diffuse the three Arris - (at full spread beam) onto the fabric that spreads the beam out - then set your white board so that it refllects the light from that large, softly glowing white surface.

Light any people in the shot separately.

Good luck.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner

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