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Old February 3rd, 2008, 10:31 PM   #1
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GOING SHOPPING: Green Screen Studio Lighting

I have ZERO lights for a green screen studio I'm creating over the next couple months. I have found that it's easier to start off right, than to try to retro-fit existing things. Hence my question....

I need to know two things:

1. What is the basic lighting and equipment I should acquire for a bare-bones, but decent green screen set?
2. What lighting and equipment do I need to do it right (not bare-bones). I.e. professional looking.

This is what I'm doing. Green-screen video with a Canon A1 to be used with Adobe Ultra virtual sets primarily. The room dimensions are roughly 15'X15' with 10' ceilings. The "tone" of the virtual sets is documentary/news in nature. 95% of the time the video will be of one person at a time.

If more info is needed, please let me know.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 09:47 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Lloyd Claycomb View Post
I have ZERO lights for a green screen studio I'm creating over the next couple months. I have found that it's easier to start off right, than to try to retro-fit existing things. Hence my question....

I need to know two things:

1. What is the basic lighting and equipment I should acquire for a bare-bones, but decent green screen set?
2. What lighting and equipment do I need to do it right (not bare-bones). I.e. professional looking.

This is what I'm doing. Green-screen video with a Canon A1 to be used with Adobe Ultra virtual sets primarily. The room dimensions are roughly 15'X15' with 10' ceilings. The "tone" of the virtual sets is documentary/news in nature. 95% of the time the video will be of one person at a time.

If more info is needed, please let me know.
Two words - Reflecmedia ChromaFlex.
http://www.reflecmedia.com/

Dan
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Old February 4th, 2008, 09:59 AM   #3
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I'd use fluorescent lights only. They are nice soft lights, don't need a lot of power and don't get hot. Maybe one or two small halogen lights as a hard edge light would be good, but you can also use a soft light for a hair/edge light. Doesn't define the edges as well as a hard source, but it usually looks nicer on hair than a hard light.

I'd say you need two fluorescents for the green screen, two for key and fill and one for the edge light. Maybe you can do it with just one key and a reflector, but I'd say two plus reflector is better for good keying.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 11:46 AM   #4
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what is you budget i got a lighting system for greenscreen from pclightingsystems.com which is designed for chromakey all the lights are fluorescent and work great it was the 11500 watt 5 head system from day-flo
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Old February 4th, 2008, 01:44 PM   #5
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I recently worked on a green-screen project where the studio had two kino-flo flourescent fixtures with chroma-green bulbs. Definately the classiest setup I've ever used (and I've used a lot!) Big, soft, narrow color spectrum, bright as one could wish.

Somewhere's online there are plans for sticking a piece of electrical conduit in concrete in a 5-gallon plastic bucket - that's your stand. Then, mount a fluoro 4' two-bulb shop light (with electronic ballast) vertically on the conduit with u-bolts. From there I'd test the junk tubes the shoplight comes with, perhaps step up to high-cri tubes, stick green sleeves on the tubes, buy a roll of blackwrap to help mask...

I always thought that would be a great way to do two screen lights for less than $100 but I've never had a reason to do it.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 01:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
Two words - Reflecmedia ChromaFlex.
http://www.reflecmedia.com/

Dan
I checked this link out and this looks incredible. Has anyone used it? And does it really work as described? I see that the basic kit at B&H is around $5000! Wow! Pricey!

The thing I really liked about this is that I don't need as many lights as the "standard" way does. Taping in Phoenix in the summer is hard enough since many times we need to turn the A/C off for the particular shoots (audio reasons), and then turn it back on again after the shoot is over. Shoots usually only can last MAX 30 mins. because EVEN WITHOUT LIGHTS, room temps inch back up from 60-degrees to 100-degrees! So with lights I know it's worse! If I can eliminate some heat, that would make a lot of sense for my needs.

Last edited by Lloyd Claycomb; February 4th, 2008 at 05:20 PM.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 01:53 PM   #7
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what is you budget?
Just like everyone else, I want it as cheap as possible. But I want to do it right. I'd like to keep under $3000-$4000, but if I can get it for 1/10 that, I'd be ecstatic!

I have absolutely NO LIGHTING right now, so I want to approach this the right way from the start. It's nice to have a clean slate to built from.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 02:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
I recently worked on a green-screen project where the studio had two kino-flo flourescent fixtures with chroma-green bulbs. Definately the classiest setup I've ever used (and I've used a lot!) Big, soft, narrow color spectrum, bright as one could wish.
I did a little Google'ing and couldn't find anything specific to what you are talking about. Are you saying the bulbs themselves green and emit chroma green light? Do you happen to have a link on this? Is this the best type of setup?
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Old February 4th, 2008, 02:53 PM   #9
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lloyd with the kit i got the two big lights are used exclusively for the chromakey whereas the other three lights are portable enough to be used in a variety of situations you keep saying you want to do it right the first time so do it right
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Old February 4th, 2008, 04:08 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Lloyd Claycomb View Post
I did a little Google'ing and couldn't find anything specific to what you are talking about. Are you saying the bulbs themselves green and emit chroma green light? Do you happen to have a link on this? Is this the best type of setup?
Hey, it's one way to do it, it works really well.

Looking around, we had to be using the 488-K5-S lamps described on this page.

There is no one way that is best in all circumstances, in my humble opinion. I've been in the biz professionally over 25 years and shot countless chromakeys, I was quite impressed with the kino approach. We did shut off some lamps so we were down to one 4-footer on each side.

But kino-flo fixtures are pretty expensive for parking in a green-screen studio. Especially since it sounds like you're needing foreground lights for your subject as well. I do like the bulbs.

However, Rosco & Lee both make gels that will do most of the same effect for about $5 per sheet, there are many ways to skin this cat.

Again, if I were setting up a studio for this (in Phoenix!) fluorescents are the way to go, but I'd use a do-it-yourself approach with some bulbs from Kino or green gel.

The idea here with the green light source is that you avoid illuminating your screen with other colors. As green as it is, it has some reflectivity across the spectrum, and green light further reduces the intensity of other colors allowing a cleaner key more easily.

PS. Mark's pclightingsystems.com system looks good too, and surprise! includes green gels. And you're going to need a minimum of 5 instruments to light this thing right. (that would be key, fill, backlight aka. hairlight, and 2 screen lights).

PPS. You should check out some books on lighting!

PPPS. Here's the bulb by itself. Note that it's 75w, and most 4' flos are 40w, most shop lights use two for 80w total.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 05:17 PM   #11
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Seth and others, thanks so much for your direction in this! You detailed comments are greatly appreciated! Thanks for taking the time.

I am looking more into this and yes I do have a book on lighting. I'm on page 50 of my 250 page book on lighting ("Lighting for digital video and television" by John Jackman-- http://www.amazon.com/Lighting-Digit...165727&sr=8-1). However there's only about 6-7 pages on greenscreen. Also the book seems a little dated, but I guess that doesn't matter too terribly much since light is still light, right?

I'd take any other book recommendations if you have them.

Thanks again.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 05:28 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Mark Viducich View Post
what is you budget i got a lighting system for greenscreen from pclightingsystems.com which is designed for chromakey all the lights are fluorescent and work great it was the 11500 watt 5 head system from day-flo
Mark, I assume this is the one you have: http://www.pclightingsystems.com/DF/11500-kit.html
Is that correct? That looks great!

Do you have any humming/buzzing problems from it? I need to be very careful with that in my audio recordings.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 07:33 PM   #13
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Hi Lloyd,

On the cheap here is a Lowel EDU link with some helpful info on lighting a green screen using the traditional route.
http://lowel.com/edu/lesson_green_screen.html

Then here is another link off the Lowel site with a newsroom set-up with fluorescents. http://www.lowel.com/fluotec/setups/chromaset.html

Here's an excerpt from DVcreators.net "DV Enlightenment" on lighting a green screen http://dvcreators.net/media/demos/ro...en_excerpt.htm

And finally, here is a sample of Reflecmedia that I put together http://vimeo.com/393748
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Old February 4th, 2008, 08:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Lloyd Claycomb View Post
I checked this link out and this looks incredible. Has anyone used it? And does it really work as described? I see that the basic kit at B&H is around $5000! Wow! Pricey!

The thing I really liked about this is that I don't need as many lights as the "standard" way does. Taping in Phoenix in the summer is hard enough since many times we need to turn the A/C off for the particular shoots (audio reasons), and then turn it back on again after the shoot is over. Shoots usually only can last MAX 30 mins. because EVEN WITHOUT LIGHTS, room temps inch back up from 60-degrees to 100-degrees! So with lights I know it's worse! If I can eliminate some heat, that would make a lot of sense for my needs.
Hi Lloyd:

That basic kit with the 8x8' screen is about $2,500.00. I have shot around 300 to 400 interviews with the setup. If you want to see it in action, I shot all of the interviews for the TCM Documentary "The Dawn of Sound" with it as well as all of the interviews for the docs on Howard Hawk's "Rio Bravo" DVD with it. The Dawn of Sound is a 90 minute doc that is also included on the Warner Bros. 2 DVD set of "The Jazz Singer" with Al Jolson (yes, the original one). We interviewed a lot of experts in sound like Ben Burtt and Dane Davis as well as some real historical figures like Mickey Rooney and Rose Marie. For the Rio Bravo, I shot interviews with John Carpenter, Walter Hill, Peter Bogdanovich, Angie Dickinson, etc. all with the ChromaFlex.

It's the only practical way to shoot green screen on location quickly if you work alone or or to shoot green screen in small rooms period. I have done interviews with this setup in rooms as small as 8' x 10' with the subject 10" in front of the screen. There is no spill, no lights other than the ringlight and no heat. Of course, you still need to light your subject but not having 2,000 watts lighting up a green screen keeps a room a lot cooler.

The drawbacks are:

1. If you abuse the screen, it's useless. This means spilling makeup/powder on it, drinks, etc. The screen is embedded with thousands of tiny glass beads and you can't abuse it at all. To replace it is really costly.

2. If your talent wears glasses, you will get the reflection of the ring light in the glasses. This is fixable but a PITA to fix, you have to key it separately in another matte layer and then it will end up looking like a white or gray light reflection.

3. System does not work with teleprompter at all.

4. If you fly, the 8x8' screen folds down to about the size of a large Flexfill. It is workable but a pain if you are dragging it all over NY or London. I use a U-Haul mirror box and packing tape. Works but I need a new box about every 5-6 flights because it gets torn up.

Other than these limitations, it's a dream to use, its almost magical to setup an entire greenscreen interview in a tiny room alone in less than 5 minutes and get a perfect key everytime.

Best,

Dan
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Old February 4th, 2008, 08:45 PM   #15
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I always recommend that people light in two layers: the cyc or background lighting for the screen which should be smooth and even and without hotspots and the foreground or subject lighting which can be whatever you need it to be for the "look" on the subject to match with the composited background.

On my site, we have a gallery for posting user installations. I'm a bit behind in getting entries in there but the first one shows a Cool Lights customer's green screen setup which was really well done on a budget of $2500. That really stretched well IMHO when you look at the quality of the screen setup which is the linoleum type continuous hard cyc painted green and includes the floor too.

http://www.coollights.biz/wordpress/...tegory/gallery

This is the way I always recommend to my customers to do green screen lighting on a budget. He used mainly home depot class shoplights (with electronic ballasts) and daylight bulbs to light the screen. In addition, he used two of our CL-655 studio flo fixtures as foreground subject lighting. A total "cool" solution for green screen lighting and won't break the bank either.

Another way to do it (especially when you will have more than one angle of screen for multiple angles and including the floor) is to use a spacelight type fixture which is really a high intensity lantern with diffusion around it. These are used in some green screen settings where multiple walls and the floor are covered for total replacement of the background and "world" that the subjects are to be matted into.

The DIY way to use this method is to put a few of the 200w 8U fluorescent daylight lamps hung upside down from mogul fixtures at intervals in the action area of the screen. I call these "poor man's spacelights". They'll put out around 600w to 700w each equivalent to tungsten diffused softlight lanterns. This gives a nice even and flat lighting over the entire action area of the screen and floor. Hope this helps.
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