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Lighting for a video podcast round table?

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Michael Evans
Lighting for a video podcast round table?
on Jun 16, 2013 at 1:56:23 am

Hey all.

Looking for some tips of lighting a video podcast round table ala TWiT. We have a 500 sq/ft room 10 foot cleanings and a few Black Magic Cinema Cams / HFg10's hooked into a ATEM switcher. 5 Rode Procasters running into a Mackie 1620i. We've done a TON of content with really good following but my last hurdle to really tackel is good lighting.

We would very much like to go LED on our lights as we only have access to 3 15amp sockets for the whole setup. For that size room with an average of 3 guests how much light do you think we need to bring to the party? I know without you guys being in the actual room it's hard to tell but I'm really looking for the most basic of feedback (here is a pick of the room We get a ton of daylight from the windows in the room.

Oh boy woud I looove to have 10 boxes of Arri L7's but the price is just not in the cards at the moment. What I'm looking at as a stop gap to light this scene for around $2,000.00 bucks and then start investing in more legit gear as we go.

Any thoughts would be awesome thanks so much!

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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting for a video podcast round table?
on Jun 17, 2013 at 1:52:30 pm

I don't see an obvious "set" in that picture... is it the section of slatwall?

And is this really a "round"- round-table, or just multiple speakers at some kind of table? How many people?

The daylight coming into your scene I predict will cause nothing but trouble.

For inexpensive soft lighting, some variation on the venerable "China Ball" or "pancake" softlight looks like it could work in a tight space where multiple key lighting is not in the budget or there's insufficient room.

I don't think "quality" LED is in your budget; for 2 gees, I think you can afford to be to be going with DIY flo setups, using the bulk of your cash on high CRI tubes placed in repurposed commercial home depot type fixtures. Flos are energy-thrifty and cool-running, which fits the profile of your original posting.

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Todd Terry
Re: Lighting for a video podcast round table?
on Jun 17, 2013 at 3:17:24 pm

Yeah I couldn't tell what the set is either or where exactly it would go... but Mark's advice is right on the money.

You'll definitely want t block out everything coming from that window. It is, as Mark said, nothing but trouble. I'd suggest black sound blankets for that purpose, which might also be helpful because acoustically that room looks very "live." If you don't have real sound blankets, zip to your local Harbor Freight Tools and pick up a few of their moving blankets, they're just a few bucks apiece. Quality-wise, they are abut two-thirds as good as real Matthews blankets, at about one-tenth the price. No brainer.

If it is a true round-table setup with talent all the way around, then yep the good ol' China ball is the way to go. Cheap and easy and very beautiful light. Go to your local Pier One Imports and buy the largest white Chinese lantern they have, it will be about $10-15. Inside that you want to put a bigass flo tube. We have a couple that are 200w which work perfectly. Note that these are 200 actual watts, not the equivalent of 200w, which a lot of flo tubes will say. These are pretty big tubes with a mogul base (looks like a regular Edison base, but a little bigger), and they are available in daylight or tungsten balance. They are not real photo tubes so the CRI is not sky high, but I've never had any color issues with them. You can see them in this pic of a behind-the-scenes setup we did on a shoot a while back... you can ignore most of the shots in this composite, but it does show the lantern, and the bulb in the upper right...

Suspend this lantern right over the center of your table, high enough to be just out of frame.

After that you'll want three small fixtures, as a backlight instrument for each talent. I'd probably use small tungsten fresnels.

You can get away with only four instruments here and have great looking lighting, cheap.

Of course that only lights the talent, not the set... but you didn't mention if that needs lighting, or what it is or looks like.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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