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Re: Lighting Control vs Lighting Fixtures

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Rick Wise
Re: Lighting Control vs Lighting Fixtures
on Apr 10, 2012 at 7:46:53 pm

That kit seems to have 4 lights, though the text leaves out the tota light. To get an even white behind the speaker you will probably want two matched lights for even illumination. (See below.) The speaker has a very soft key, a very soft fill, and at least one scratch light, and probably a light back light though you may not need one, depending on the shirt and hair color.

Balance is the issue, as well as control. I see no scrims for any lights, nor any c-stands and grip-scrims. So the short answer is you will have a hard time achieving that look with only the kit. Add at least 4 c-stands and 3 sets of grip 18x24 scrims, and a 4x4 piece of foamcore. Try to also get wire scrims for the lights.

Key with the Rifa. Fill by bouncing some of the key light with the foamcore. Set the tota flood on one side of the background, the omni on the other in full flood. Move the lights until there is even illumination across the background visible in the shot. A light meter would help. If your camera has a waveform built-in or a histogram, you can do it that way. Otherwise use Zebras -- set to around 85-90, close the iris and then slowly open it. If you get even zebras across the white field the field is lit evenly. Use the pro light with scrims as a scratch.

You still have to find the right balance between the whiteness of the background and the intensity of light on your subject. Place a Caucasian in the shot. Set zebras to 70%. Adjust iris until you see just a hint of zebra on the hottest spot of the face, usually the forehead and/or nose bridge. Lock the iris there. Now set the zebras to 85-90%. Adjust the intensity of the background until at the given iris you found for the subject you just get even zebras at 90 across the background. (Probably more efficient to start with the key and iris, and THEN go for the background, instead of starting with the background.)

It would be easier to have two omnis or two totas instead of one of each.

Also, try to set the speaker at least 10' in front of the white background so that you can keep the two lights on the background from hitting the speaker. The greater the distance, the easier to control, but the bigger the background white surface has to be -- and your two little lights may not make even illumination of sufficient intensity.

How crisp the image is will depend a lot on your lens and camera. That Apple piece was shot very high end.

I'd say your kit is on the ragged edge for what you want to do, but with time and a lot of patience and a huge amount of adjustment you might pull this off.

Alternatively, instead of trying to cram a 50-pound box into a tiny bottle, come up with a different and creative idea that works well with what you have.

I'm sure some of my colleagues here will have other ideas for you.

Rick Wise
San Francisco Bay Area

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