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Lighting white studio in video

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christopher pike
Lighting white studio in video
on Nov 1, 2011 at 6:39:09 pm

Hi,
I'm preparing to shoot some exercise videos. However, my studio is almost all white walls, with one long wall of mirrors, and one wall of tall windows. We have filmed in here before, and I'm always disappointed by the result because the models look pale and sickly and flat (even they they are anything but). I've been told filming in a white room is difficult. Can somebody explain to me, please, the basics of why filming in a white room is difficult? Perhaps it isn't worth the frustration, and perhaps I should just find another location with more color in the room?

Thanks, Chris (pilatesforbodies.com)


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john sharaf
Re: Lighting white studio in video
on Nov 1, 2011 at 6:51:19 pm

Chris,

Quite simply, your main issue will be lighting the action area without lighting the white walls. This will require careful control with grip equipment to control the "spill" of you key lighting.

In addition because of the windows you'll have to use daylight balanced lights such as HMI's or 5600K tubes in Kino Flos.

Obviously the mirrored wall posses additional challenges in hiding the windows and your cameras and lighting equipment in the reflection.

Quite a challenge, but it can be done; with skill, proper planning and the right crew and equipment.

Of course you could still make set dressing choices that change or minimize the issues with the windows and mirrors.

JS



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christopher pike
Re: Lighting white studio in video
on Nov 1, 2011 at 6:55:37 pm

Thank you so much for the prompt response. It sounds like you appreciate the problem this room presents. Can I ask what you would do in my situation? Would you try to make this room work, or rent an easier space for perhaps $500 for a half day. Thanks again. Chris


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john sharaf
Re: Lighting white studio in video
on Nov 1, 2011 at 7:01:58 pm

Chris,

If it's your studio, I'd suggest you work there and learn how to make your space work for you. Whatever you'd spend in renting another space should go towards the budget to make your own space work, besides a proper studio, like a three walled white cyc and the necessary lighting would cost ten times the $500 you suggest.

JS



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christopher pike
Re: Lighting white studio in video
on Nov 1, 2011 at 7:12:50 pm

RE: "...your main issue will be lighting the action area without lighting the white walls..."

One more question please. Is the problem with white walls that they draw the views eye away from the model in the foreground? I could repaint the walls, actually, without much cost, if that would help. If a different color would help, what would you recommend? Thanks again for the help. Chris


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john sharaf
Re: Lighting white studio in video
on Nov 1, 2011 at 7:19:16 pm

Now you're thinking!

I'd paint the walls grey, or even consider painting muslin cloth that you could hang in front to the walls and windows. This would create a "limbo" effect that concentrates the viewers attention to the foreground actors.

Experiment with different shades of grey to determine the best density. The closer the subjects are to the wall, the darker you should go. This way you do not have to deal so much with controlling the light "off" the background.

JS



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Rick Wise
Re: Lighting white studio in video
on Nov 1, 2011 at 9:55:40 pm

On professional stages where the walls are "white" limbo, it's common to paint them "video gray." It photographs white.

Pure white forces you to iris down and underexpose the actors. Video gray allows you to have an even bath of light (if that's the look you want) with proper exposure for walls and people.

Daylight adds a problem. If you cannot block off the daylight, you will have to add at least 1/2 CTB to your tungsten lights -- or light entirely with daylight units.

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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Robin Probyn
Re: Lighting white studio in video
on Nov 2, 2011 at 12:16:23 pm

If you plan to do alot of shooting in your studio.. may also be an idea to invest in thick black curtains for the windows... that will help alot.. even if it means more lighting..
Probably also worth renting a half decent camera.. should make things look better..



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Corbin Gross
Re: Lighting white studio in video
on Nov 3, 2011 at 7:30:17 pm

So I'm wondering if this is a photo/video studio or a dance/gymnastics studio? The space you describe sounds more like the latter of the two.

If it is indeed a dance or gymnastics type place, I probably wouldn't change too much, because it sounds perfect for what usually happens there.

I my opinion, you should rent a curtainy type back drop to put against whatever wall will be at the back of your shot. Shoot after sundown so you don't have to compete with the light and then you can rent some lighting that won't have to coordinate with the daylight's color.

I'd light it with something focusable and directional to help give your performers shape and keep the light attractive and under control. Don't forget that you will need some fill though. Maybe more directional lights or you could bounce something off a remaining white wall.

If this is a photo studio, than just pretend that I didn't say any of this.

Thanks.

Corbin Gross
Photo/Video
SANMAR
Marketing


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