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rate my lighting for green screen?

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Jason Barton
rate my lighting for green screen?
on Jul 30, 2012 at 7:46:11 pm

I'm starting out and saving money to buy the right equipment so for now I have to go cheap on lighting and i want to see if i at least have a decent amount of light for my DIY greenscreen setup.

Will be shooting actor waist up, fairly close shots....against 5x8 digital juice greenscreen or i have a larger dropdown GS that's 15x8 but would rather use the smaller version.

I can get the camera about 18ft away from the greenscreen if needed.

There is a large window that's 8ft long and 4 ft tall facing west (if looking thru the camcorder will be to the right of the actor and greenscreen....i plan to use that natural light.

I'm looking at buying 4 of these (2 for each side of the greenscreen) for lighting the greenscreen: http://www.adorama.com/FPFB105.html

If I can actually get 500w each out of those, is 1000 watt overkill on the background?

Because of budget i was going to use umbrellas to help direct the light. Can i get by with that versus softbox or is it actually better to use umbrellas to throw broader light?

If so, will silver lining be best or white?

I'll get more of the light with silver but a softer feel with white.

I have 800 watt softbox to use as the keylight.

thanks for your help with me getting started.


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Rick Wise
Re: rate my lighting for green screen?
on Jul 30, 2012 at 8:31:48 pm

The issues:

  • Distance. What matters is the distance of the subject from the green screen, not the camera. Why? The further away from the screen is the subject, the less green contamination bouncing at him/her. It doesn't really matter how close or far is the camera except that the farther back he/she is, the longer the lens, and the smaller the area of green screen you need to pay attention to.


  • Color: You don't mention what kind of 800 watt light you are using for the key. I presume it is daylight balanced so it matches the live daylight coming through the window. Magenta/green: I think it is safe to say that all CFLs emit a green spike. You may want to wrap some 1/4 minus-green around each. (If you didn't have true daylight coming in the window, you could white balance to the CFLs raw.


  • Lighting the green screen: three issues: it should be wrinkle-free; it should be lit very evenly across the area that appears in camers; and the intensity should be roughly the same as the key, or maybe 1/2-1 stop less, depending on your software. Whatever methods you take to achieve all 3 work.


  • There are other issues to green screen lighting, but I presume you are pretty clear of the concepts. If not, search this forum for many tutorials/posts.

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


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    Jason Barton
    Re: rate my lighting for green screen?
    on Jul 31, 2012 at 1:32:48 pm

    Hi Rick,

    Thanks for your response.

    To answer your question all lights are 5500K including the 800w

    actor will be around 10ft from the greenscreen

    The smaller greenscreen is a thicker material and is wrinkle free and the larger greenscreen has been placed on a gs stand and clamped to eliminate any wrinkles.

    If you had to make a choice, which material would you use in the umbrellas for lighting the gs background? Silver or white?

    I know it might not be ideal, but it's all i can do right now.

    thanks for the advice


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    Rick Wise
    Re: rate my lighting for green screen?
    on Jul 31, 2012 at 5:25:10 pm

    With white you will have an easier time of making the light even across the visible screen. With silver you will have more intensity. You need BOTH the right intensity and also even lighting. Modern software is much more forgiving about pulling a clean matte than early versions, but it has its limits. You are also limited by the capabilities of your camera.

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


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    Mark Suszko
    Re: rate my lighting for green screen?
    on Aug 1, 2012 at 2:00:46 am

    There's a trick you can use if you can't afford scopes: go to manual iris control (you should be there already anyway) and turn on the zebra bar display for your viewfinder. Set your lights on the screen, then rock your iris open and closed, slowly, to see where patches of the green start to show up the zebra bars. What you are looking for is that when the screen is truly even, the whole screen will suddenly pop up in zebra lines when you open the iris sufficiently.

    Then re-set the iris to whatever is proper for the shot, and go on with lighting your talent.


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    Jason Barton
    Re: rate my lighting for green screen?
    on Aug 1, 2012 at 2:15:40 am

    thanks, Mark great tip!


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