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Studio set up for a 100% black background

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Igor Vukojevic
Studio set up for a 100% black background
on Jun 27, 2013 at 4:48:44 pm

How do you achieve the black background? Is this done in post production or just great lighting?

I have a black background but I suppose I would have to block the lights somehow.

Example:


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Mark Suszko
Re: Studio set up for a 100% black background
on Jun 27, 2013 at 4:54:43 pm

You could cheat and add the black thru greenscreening.

The natural method is to expose for the talent and the black pint or cloth separately, on manual iris. You can make even a white wall look black, if you keep enough light from hitting it. It is easier to do if you have a deep space in the room, since the square/cube law cuts the lighting with increased distance.


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Igor Vukojevic
Re: Studio set up for a 100% black background
on Jun 27, 2013 at 5:09:46 pm

Every time I do green screen the colors around the hair don't look natural and have some shade of green in it. I want to master the black look. I have a reception area in my office that is pretty deep.

I'll start setting up over the weekend, but I wanted some ideas before I set up. I guess I need some fabric to block the light from hitting the background...


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Todd Terry
Re: Studio set up for a 100% black background
on Jun 27, 2013 at 5:41:08 pm

Personally I've always found black backgrounds to be pretty easy to light, moreso than just about anything else (black limbo is a zillion times easier than white limbo), which is probably why I use it more than I should.

You really only have to have a couple of things: enough room, a black backdrop, and controllable lighting. Ok, that's three things, not a couple... but still easy.

Black limbo is easier because you don't have to worry at all about lighting the background or lighting a set... you only have to worry about not lighting it. The easiest starting point is to have plenty of room... the farther back your background is from the talent, the less you will have to be concerned about spill from your lighting.

Design a lighting plot with very controllable instruments (such as fresnels with barn doors) and/or instruments that you can put very close to the talent...such as large soft boxes that are close to the talent, right out of frame. This will reduce light going on the background, as Mark said with the square/cube law (the instruments are much much closer to the talent than they are to the background). If you have a pretty high level of lighting on your talent, when you expose properly for the talent then the unlit background should fall off to nothing. If there are any troublesome light spills, they are fairly easily flagged off.

And yeah, get a black backdrop. As Mark says, yep, you can make even a white wall look black. But it is a heckuva lot easier if you start with black... something pure black, matte finish. Cloth works better than a painted wall, even with matte paint. Our little stage space has a two-sided "L" shaped black cloth cyc on two walls. The easiest/fastest/cheapest thing is a black queen or king-sized bedsheet from Kmart or Target (nothing too high-end). Just make sure you grab something that doesn't have a "sheen" to it, so some of them do. We usually travel with one or two, just in case (although I can't recall the last time one of them was actually used).

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Igor Vukojevic
Re: Studio set up for a 100% black background
on Jun 27, 2013 at 5:53:16 pm

Excellent. I already have the black matte paper.

Now, my only question would be what to use to block the light, maybe buy some black sheets and put them on each side of the actor, in between the lights and the backdrop?

I'm assuming the actor will have to wear bright colors so that i can eliminate anything close to black in the post production. But then again, I see this guy with the black t-shirt so I guess that shouldn't make much difference if done correctly...


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Todd Terry
Re: Studio set up for a 100% black background
on Jun 27, 2013 at 6:04:19 pm

Normally you'd block light with flags...

http://www.filmtools.com/24x30flag.html

... but in a pinch anything will do. Easy and cheap is black matte-finish foamcore or art card from a hobby/art shop like Hobby Lobby or Michaels. If you have C-stands and quacker clamps (duckbill clamps) they are easy to position and adjust. If not, just clamp them to light stands with spring clamps... not quite as precision positionable, but it does work.

Lit correctly, you can certainly have your talent wear black if you want... if you make sure you have really good/proper/controllable backlighting to cut them out and make them pop out of the BG.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Steve Kownacki
Re: Studio set up for a 100% black background
on Jun 27, 2013 at 7:14:43 pm

My last shoot like this... in a tiny 400sf room. 1K single softbox with an egg crate on the front, 150 hairlight on the ceiling for each person. They are only about 3' off the black drape. Camera is about 8' to talent. Like was said, black is easy to light. The bottom pic is an actual screen grab from the video.








Steve






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Ed Acheson
Re: Studio set up for a 100% black background
on Nov 1, 2016 at 5:06:37 am

This thread is three years old, but I'm hoping my inquiry will generate responses. Until last Friday, I have never had a project shooting video with a black background. I have done several still projects with black background, but not video. The project resumes this Friday (November 4) with six talking head interviews. The problem is noisy black (or as the editor says "dancing black"). I shot with an Canon XF305 as well as a Nikon D810. The XF305 was shot with the iris wide open, 1080p, and plus 6dB (or maybe it was 12dB) gain. The in camera exposure meter was always pegged at the low end, but the talent was bright. The background was black curtains, and the black danced. Knowing the XF305 is not a low light camera, I tested the D810. Under the same lighting conditions, it required an ISO of 6400 at f2.8, to have the proper exposure for the talent. And that produced just as bad dancing black. We flipped the set up 90 degrees to push the black curtains about fifteen feet back, and the results were better, but still some dancing. The solution seems to be more light on the talent to get the gain/ISO down, and to keep the sensors/processors from trying to see light where there isn't supposed to be any. But how do you increase the light reaching the talent to a sufficient level without them squinting? Compounding the problem is a mostly black banner placed in the shot, which means upping the light reduces the blackness of the banner.


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