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Old February 19th, 2010, 09:44 AM   #1
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Greenscreen Shoot - Light Kit

Hey guys, hoping you can give me some advice on an upcoming greenscreen shoot's lighting kit. I'm going to be lighting a 15 ft. wide EFX screen. My talent will be walking into a "virtual office", and sitting down behind a desk for an interview. We'll keep the movement as little as possible. Currently I have a pair of Lowel Totas 750s & a Lowel pro-light. I'm shopping for lights for this shoot and have a budget of about $2000.00.
The way I have it figured, is to go with the two Lowel Totas to wash the background and come up with some type of low temp kit for the talent. I'm thinking some Cool Lights either LED, FLOs, or CFLs or a combination w/softbox. We're looking for fairly even (not quite flat) light on the talent to match the environment. I'm generally a one man band so for future uses portability will be important and I'd prefer to go with daylight balanced but if I do, I'll need to gel the Totas to daylight (or the LED/FLOs to Tungsten) and am not sure whether the Totas then provide enough illumination for the 15ft. screen.
I've never used FLOs or LEDs so am unsure how much light I'll need for 3/4 length shots of the talent but know I'd like it about a stop hotter than the greenscreen.
Finally, there's the challenge of doing the walking shots and how to keep the lighting even on the talent as she takes 3-4 steps into the set?
This forum has been a great source of info. Please give me your thoughts or if I need to go back to the drawing board completely.
Thanks, JLee
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Old February 19th, 2010, 04:55 PM   #2
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Of course, as everyone will tell you, you need as flat and even lighting as possible on the screen no matter what. But in the case where someone is walking around in front of a screen, you want as flat and even as possible also.

In large studios, they often use "spacelights" (big 2KW or 6KW lanterns hung at regular intervals) for a multi-wall setup where people will be performing some kind of live action in front of composited backgrounds. I've also seen it done with something like "fisher lights" as well but the idea is still the same. The whole area is blanketed in even lighting. I think of behind the scenes pictures or videos from movies like 300, Sky Captain and the latest Star Wars movies for example.

Thus, the lower cost alternative would be like a bunch of chinese lanterns covering your whole movement area. What you put in those lanterns could range from anything like one or more fluorescent bulb(s) to a large tungsten bulb (within the wattage range of the lantern of course). If you use regular fixtures, that could work as well, its just that you have to be very careful how you place them so there isn't any moving into and out of "beams" so to speak.
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Old February 19th, 2010, 05:45 PM   #3
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for cheap "wall of difussed light" , will do all that
you said how large your backgreen was, but not how far out your set or talent will be from that screen?
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Old February 19th, 2010, 06:02 PM   #4
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my screen's 12' wide and 12' tall with 12' of floor and I get great results with a pair of 1k's with 32" softboxes on the back and another pair on the floor. For the talent, I use 2 or 3 lights (main, optional-fill, and kicker) depending on what they're doing.
Gotta say the softboxes make life a lot easier!
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Old February 19th, 2010, 09:54 PM   #5
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I expect the set-up to be much like Roberts (minus the floor.) We'll be renting a space to do this that meets the requirements so I'll have some choices there. Expect to get the talent about 8-10ft. from screen. That 2K budget is for equipment only. Previous testing has been a much smaller set-up in my basement with a single tota for the smaller screen working fine. Just want to make sure I've got the right set-up for the larger screen for even lighting that doesn't over power the talent light set-up. Robert, what kind of output are you using for your talent lights?
I'd considered the chinese latern with a big CFL bulb like Coolight's 200w but I've never used them and am more used to lights I have more control over. That might be the way to go for the moving shots though. I'll look into them.
Will I be able to get a good color balance and enough output if I use (2) LED600s w/a pro-light kicker, and 2 tota's on the screen and am I better of gelling the totas up to daylight or the LEDs down to tungsten? Or, is this just a bad idea altogether?
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Old February 19th, 2010, 10:36 PM   #6
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You'll lose a lot of light when gelling up to daylight from tungsten. Maybe better to make everything 3200K if you want to use the tungsten softboxes to light the screen.
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Old February 19th, 2010, 10:48 PM   #7
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Was kindof afraid you might say that Richard but I can think of a lot of uses in my everyday work for some portable, daylight balanced, relatively soft lights... But since I can't control the output on the totas except for backing them off (using more space) or gelling, I was hoping that gelling them to daylight would get them close to the output of (2) 600 LEDs for for Main/Fill talent lights. Do you have an estimate for when you might have some in US stock, and is there a return option if I find them not enough? Thanks for this direct support.
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Old February 19th, 2010, 10:54 PM   #8
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You might want to consider 3200K LEDs as well if you're sold on LEDs. Sounds like you may be using the totas for a while so then everything matches.

Send me an email at info@coollights.biz and lets talk further about what you need. Thanks.
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Old February 19th, 2010, 11:26 PM   #9
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Thanks Richard, email sent.
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Old June 7th, 2010, 03:50 PM   #10
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Revisited

Since this shoot is finally scheduled (mid-July) and some of the parameters have changed, I'm revisiting this topic.
Script now has very little movement, just two characters standing up from a desk during an argument and walking off screen. Budget's been pushed up to $2500 for lights. I'd really like to get and use some LEDs if possible because I see future use for them in my doc style work.
Currently thinking about 2-3 LED600s for the talent, and wondering if 2 of those Coollights SFT1 compact CFLs Softboxes would do the job for lighting a 12ft. screen?
I've seen other threads recommending 2 sets of 4 bank flos for same purpose so I'm hoping they'd get the job done.
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Old June 7th, 2010, 06:47 PM   #11
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The 4 bank is more powerful but its possible it might work. Also the diffusion on the softbox takes some away so you may not want to use that.

External ballasted models like the 4x55 are always more efficient than an internal ballasted CFL. Its a spec called "power factor" which measures the ability of a ballast to reach its rated output. A power factor of .95 or 95% or higher is normal for external ballasts and that means they reach 95% of their maximum rating. A power factor of .75 or lower is normal on CFL bulbs with internal ballasts which means that they reach 75% of their maximum rated output. So a 220w fixture using external ballasts is using more of its power efficiently to really produce light. A CFL with about 220w ballast inside of its is only reaching 75% or so of its maximum but still using 220w. Thus, when people ask me why we don't carry more CFL bulbs, the answer I usually give is they simply aren't as efficient as the external ballasted counterparts. Think of CFLs as a convenience or as an economy solution but for real efficiency you choose the external ballast types.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 09:16 PM   #12
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I recently did a shoot where we hung 3 tota's from scissor clamps, had 2 umbrellas on each side, and 2 2k open faces punched through 8x8 silks for the talent and floor. It took about 3 hours to set up. Also, a waveform monitor is necessary.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 09:54 PM   #13
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hi james,

i have a 10 foot x 12 foot greenscreen which i hang from a polecat supported by 2 c stands with superclamps.

it is lit with 2 of andrews 4 bank coollights with half plus green gel (lee 245)
which i tweak until the screen is evenly lit.. using the zebras on the camera.

i use a 150 dedo superclamped to the polecat as a back/rim light.

the talent i key with a kino diva (with half white diff..(lee 250).
for fill i use a coollights 600 led with half white diff.

all lights are daylight except for the dedo back light which i leave 3200
to create an light orange rim/hair light.

cheers
ian
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Old December 20th, 2010, 11:45 PM   #14
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sorry for the late chime-in but to respond to the question posed 6 mo ago...
back then, I was using a pair of tungsten 1k's (dimmable) in 32" softboxes. For talent, Another 1K in a softbox and a 650 for backlight. With all being dimmable, it was pretty easy to balance between the screen and talent and I got really good results.

Fast forward a bit and I have switched to dimmable CFL's for the screen (in softboxes) and I use the 1K tungsten in a softbox for talent. Backlight is the same too. This has made it a LOT more comfy in the shoots but now, I'm looking to go to the next level and either replace the talent and backlight with CFL's or go full-tilt and get LED's for everything. I'm really happy with the reduction in heat and energy consumption with the CFL's but know the LED's are even better.

I'll pose the question,
for a 12' wide 10' tall screen with an 10' deep floor, and the ability to hang lights from the ceiling grid, what are thoughts on using LED's for everything? Do they have enough throw and power? How many and what type does anyone think I will need?

Looking at Litepanels, FloLights, Rosco, Coollights, LEDZ, Etc. Without seeing some in person, I have no idea if they would work.

This would go a LONG way to reducing my power bill and keep the room a LOT cooler! And of course the talent happier!
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