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Chroma-key Lights

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Jack Steiner
Chroma-key Lights
on Mar 17, 2017 at 11:20:47 pm

Hey members,

I am preparing myself to open a chroma-key studio (green-key + infiniti white) on a surface of 400 square meters.
The purpose is pure for rental of the studios. I'd like to get an idea of what type of lights and brands I need to get the setting professionally lighted.
If someone could provide me with a list of the lights that are visible in this picture and any additional advice on other external lighting that is recommended or comes in handy at times? Thank you so much!

I'd like to install a studio of this kaliber:



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Todd Terry
Re: Chroma-key Lights
on Mar 18, 2017 at 12:19:39 am

I don't mean to pass the buck, but if you are serious about opening high-end stage space, for rental out to pros, are starting from scratch, and don't know much about lighting... this is not really the best place to do it.

This COW forum is a wonderful resource and full of pros who know a great deal about lighting (some of them a heck of a lot more than me), but what you are needing is a whole lot more than knowing "what kind of lights are in this picture?"

You really need to hire a DP or a professional gaffer, at least for a day, to come in and survey your space in person, talk about your needs, your budgets, your plans for the stage, what kinds of projects are likely to be shot there, and that kind of stuff. Then they can put together a plan and a budget that will get you exactly what you need.

We could give recommendations all day, but nothing will beat having a pro put their eyeballs on the real space and working with you to figure out what you need. In the end you'll very likely get a better result (probably much better) and might even spend less money by getting exactly what you need (even after paying for the pro's wisdom), rather than us guessing.

But... welcome to the COW... once you get your space rigged out you will find this forum an invaluable source for tweaking, learning, and improving what you have.

T2

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



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Jack Steiner
Re: Chroma-key Lights
on Mar 18, 2017 at 2:05:36 am

Hey Todd
Thanks for you answer. I was planning to do so however I am still wondering what the light-setup is like on that picture and what type of lights they are. That way I can start exploring myself and preparing for when the DP comes in... that way at least I'll understand some of what he's saying ☺


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Todd Terry
Re: Chroma-key Lights
on Mar 18, 2017 at 2:30:52 am

Well it's hard to say.

The long instruments are fluorescents, obviously... probably four-foot instruments, possibly Kinos or some other similar brand (such as Videssence or a couple of other brands). Two of the seven are being used to light the talent, though, not wallwashing the greenscreen.

The smaller square instruments are probably LED fixtures, based on the thin profile that you can see on one of them. I count five of those, three on the talent and two on the floor... none of them are used for wallwashing. What are they? It's really hard to say since most LED fixtures of that size/shape look virtually the same no matter what the brand. I don't think they are LitePanels because the yokes don't look quite like those, but what they are I can't say for sure.

I have no idea what the round instruments are (there are five of those), but none of those are being used for greenscreening, they are all backlighting on the talent.

Keep in mind this although this apparently a shot of one of the stages at Big Apple Studios in New York, it might not be a real photo of a real lighting setup. In fact, it is probably not. It was probably set up, staged, or even Photoshopped to look good for what it is... a marketing photo (basically it's a stock photo). It's totally understandable... on my own website there is a shot of the stage that has lights, equipment, and other gear that we would never use that way it real life, but it looks good in a photo for the web, so it was staged that way. In the sample you posted, for example... the grid is totally clean other than the lighting instruments. There is not a single flag, scrim, piece of gel, or any other kind of light modifiers up there, none whatsoever. At the very minimum you'd expect all of those backlights to have barn doors on them... it would be almost inconceivable to see them without at least those. So... just remember this is a staged shot for a photo, and not necessarily a real lighting plot on a working stage.

Don't be afraid of looking dumb to your DP or gaffer... they know they live in a world of very specialized gear and very specialized names for it that almost no one else knows. Just for example, what a "trombone" or a "squeeze box" is to me is something entirely different to the average guy out in the rest of the world (in the real world both are musical instruments, in the gaffer/grip world a trombone is a special piece of light-hanging gear, and a squeezer is a dimmer), so they can't fault you for not knowing everything. Or anything. Just hire someone really good, trust them, and let them teach you some of what you need to know. You can't know everything, though... I've done this for a quarter century almost, and I don't know a tenth of what I'd like to.

Good luck.

T2

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



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Rick Wise
Re: Chroma-key Lights
on Mar 18, 2017 at 2:15:49 am

Superbly put and right on point, Todd. (As always.)

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
MFA/BFA Lighting and Camera Instructor Academy of Art University
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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Bill Davis
Re: Chroma-key Lights
on Mar 19, 2017 at 8:51:05 pm

Amen! Todd's is (as usual) one of the finest you'll find posted on the Cow.

The ONLY way to solve problems in a field as complex as lighting is to hire the brains that have been doing it for a long time. The solutions hung in one studio's grid will reflect how the designer and gaffer of THAT grid approached the to solutions to the problems of that environment. Take the same rig and transport it to a different studio with different dimensions and for use in different styles of shooting, and the solution might not solve the problems nearly as well.

A good shooting space designer will take into account what you'll be shooting with (Cameras available) what you'll actually be shooting (e.g. shooting CARS are WAY different than talking heads at a table!) - the space you have - and the experience levels and budgets of the DPs and Clients you'll be serving.

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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Jack Steiner
Re: Chroma-key Lights
on Apr 13, 2017 at 4:39:04 am

Thanks for the input, here's an update


I am wondering what the best and most eco-friendly LED-light is to light a chroma-key studio with a height of 22 feet , a length of 44 feet and a depth of 38 feet.
We prefer lights that are cost-effective and won't give us a heart attack once we get the electricity bill yet we do not want to compromise.

I've been thinking about these https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1069037-REG/ikan_ib508_v2_kit_ib508_.....
My gaffer tells me that I should at least spend around 1200 USD per light if I want quality. There are lights in a cheaper range but he's trying to convince me that the loss of quality will be noticed on screen.

Anyone that has any advice?


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Todd Terry
Re: Chroma-key Lights
on Apr 13, 2017 at 4:44:08 am
Last Edited By Todd Terry on Apr 13, 2017 at 4:47:58 am

If these are just for wall washing green screen, there is no need to buy bi-color instruments.

Bi-color heads are going to be more expensive (and not as bright) as equivalent single-color instruments, so that's where I'd put my money. Especially since you are going to need lots of them for a stage that big (especially one that tall).

I also wouldn't buy kits like that to rig a studio either, you'd be much better off just purchasing the heads you need for a permanent stage install. With those kits you're also buying stands, cases, and batteries... things that are not needed at all for instruments needed for the lighting grid.

I won't recommend specific instruments, though... that's what you've got a gaffer for, who knows the space and your needs, budget, uses, and all that jazz.

T2

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



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Jack Steiner
Re: Chroma-key Lights
on Apr 13, 2017 at 4:50:12 am

Hey Todd
Thank you once again for your great advice.

Do you have any recommendations for LED-lights at the prices mentioned above?
Also, does the same goes for a white infini wall of the same size?


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Dennis Size
Re: Chroma-key Lights
on Apr 13, 2017 at 4:57:32 am

Great comments Todd, as always.
Regarding the photo of the Greenscreen set-up, I'm surprised you spent all that time examining the instrumentation.
That light hang is an embarrassment, and bears NO resemblance to the way a greenscreen (especially a commercial one
of that nature) would be lit.
Regarding LED instrumentation, my personal favorites -- in descending order -- are:
+ ARRI Skypanels (30, 60, or 90)
+ Kino Flo CELEBs (201, 400q, and 401)
+ Cineo Trucolor HS units
These are all incredibly wonderful fixtures and I swear by them.
If my budget prohibits their use, I drop down to fluorescent fixtures and will use all kino-flos, a mixture of:
+ Vistabeams
+ Image 80's
+ Parabeams

To use such sophisticated instrumentation properly you MUST hire people who know what they're doing.
To get a rough idea of how much to plan on spending for the greenscreen you're planning, get the cost of each fixture and multiply by 25. You'll be in the ballpark.
Good luck ..... happy illumination.
Dennis Size



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Todd Terry
Re: Chroma-key Lights
on Apr 13, 2017 at 5:17:17 am

I will completely and totally defer to Dennis here... good advice from him.

My milieu is much more single-camera cine-style DP work... Dennis is a thousand times more the king of the studio-type environment than I am, I know just enough to get by on stage without totally embarrassing myself (usually).

Among the best of his advice above was "you MUST hire people who know what they're doing."

T2

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



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