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First time in a studio - how should I light it?

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Josh Smith
First time in a studio - how should I light it?
on Jul 18, 2013 at 5:24:00 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm filming for the first time in a studio for a few corporate talking heads videos, and I'm after some advice on how to light it properly.

We have 3 x 800W Tungsten Redhead lights (3200 Kelvin) that we are going to use in a 3-point setup (as key, fill and back lights). The studio does not have a ceiling lighting rig, so the lights will be on floor stands. Is there anything special I need to know about how to light it properly? Anything different I should do compared to when I'm filming in any other normal room? The studio will have an "infinity" white backdrop. Here's a photo of it.

Another quick question - I assume it's really bad practice to "mix" colour temperatures from different lights? In other words, I assume I should turn off all other studio lights when filming, and only have the 3 Redhead lights turned on? So the "stage" will be lit up but the rest of the studio will be dark? So then I can just dial in the white balance on the camera as 3200K, and it will then be balanced correctly for the Redhead lights? Sorry if that sounds like a stupid question...

I hope someone can help.

Many thanks,

Josh.


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Mark Suszko
Re: First time in a studio - how should I light it?
on Jul 18, 2013 at 9:05:51 pm

Are you meaning to shoot it as white limbo, a la Apple commercials?


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Mark Suszko
Re: First time in a studio - how should I light it?
on Jul 18, 2013 at 9:08:49 pm

Sometimes we let mixed temp lights co-exist, to create a mood or effect.

Saw the small picture of the studio, looks like a giant silk above, you're saying there's no lights int he grid above that?

You have 3-point lighting for the talent, assuming there is nothing behind the overhead silk, you will need separate lighting for the white wall itself.


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Josh Smith
Re: First time in a studio - how should I light it?
on Jul 19, 2013 at 11:32:58 am

Thanks for your reply, Mark.

I'm afraid I'm not sure what you mean by "silk" - although as far as I'm aware, it's just a tiled ceiling with no lighting equipment at all, certainly no grid on the ceiling or behind it.

We only have 3 x Redheads at the moment, what would you suggest we do to light the background? Would it be ok if we didn't light it, just lit the talent?

Thanks for your help!

Josh.


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Mark Suszko
Re: First time in a studio - how should I light it?
on Jul 19, 2013 at 3:38:33 pm

I'm used to working on micro-budgets, so my Fred Sanford answer is, get some cheap quartz tungsten worklights from a Home Depot type store, and some diffusion material or bounce boards made from foil-covered foam core boards, and use those to throw a soft, diffused light at the white wall. The color balance will be off a little bit, compared to the foreground talent lighting, but it may work out okay for you. Certainly better than not lighting it.

The white wall could also be lit with large fluorescent fixtures from the home depot, preferably tubed with high CRI tubes, but again, this may not be an issue for the kind of shot you're doing.


When I have only three lights, sometimes I do this to stretch them a bit:

The fill light is replaced with a bounce card/board to bounce back the keylight from the fill side. Eliminate the backlight, or use a small little portable reading lamp or similar from the drugstore, for the backlight/hairlight. Now you have two main lights freed-up for shining onto the wall.

Extra stand: you could try a music store or pawn shop for used mic stands. Cheap stands can be found on ebay. Bounce card: simple foam core board from craft store or office supply or walmart, white on one side, take aluminum foil sheet, ball it up, then smooth it out and glue it to the other side of the board, the rough surface makes a good reflector.


You can't RENT more lights where you are? I'm surprised a studio space doesn't offer that. Most larger cities have at least one place that rents out lighting gear. Even DJ spotlights at the Guitar Center or something....


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: First time in a studio - how should I light it?
on Jul 19, 2013 at 8:00:34 pm

Also beware that when you're shooting from light stands, rather than a ceiling grid, you may well get some nasty flare in the lens. You might want to think about putting some light blocking material above the lens, or a matte box on your camera.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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