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Old July 10th, 2005, 06:42 PM   #1
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Input Welcomed For This Setup

I'm planning an ambitious (for me) lighting setup. Featured will be a backdrop around 8 x 12 feet (velour; possibly black); a musician will be playing a marimba type instrument. The ceiling is impossibly high--maybe fifteen feet above. If I choose black, how best to bring out the musician? I assume a backlight would help separate the performer from the background. I also am thinking of using some gels to add interest (my lighting kit includes a Arri 300w , a medium Photoflex softbox and assorted Lowell lights). I also have a Caselight, but I don't think it'll be needed. I'd like to achieve a soft overall look rather than hard, if possible.

Another question: if I use a lighter background, what kind of gobo might help create a suitable pattern? Is there a kind of all-purpose design?

Thanks for any thoughts!
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Old July 11th, 2005, 07:01 AM   #2
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Have not done any video lighting but IMO the same goes as for still photography. You need to separate the subject from the background

First place the subject as far away from the BG as possible. Then use a back light (rim light) and possibly a hair light to separate the subject from the bg

another option is to place a spot on the BG behind the subject to make the bg lighter where the subject is but i prefer to light the subject.
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Old July 13th, 2005, 07:46 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Salzlechner
Have not done any video lighting but IMO the same goes as for still photography. You need to separate the subject from the background

First place the subject as far away from the BG as possible. Then use a back light (rim light) and possibly a hair light to separate the subject from the bg

another option is to place a spot on the BG behind the subject to make the bg lighter where the subject is but i prefer to light the subject.
Thanks; I'm trying to keep it simple, but with style. Of course sometimes the simplest, cleanest looking results are due to a rather intricate and sophisticated setup.

;D
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Old July 14th, 2005, 08:21 AM   #4
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The previous advice is good. I do tons of these kinds of setups for interviews. We tend to rent backdrops that are painted, and light them for efffect as well.

For a black backdrop, distance from subject. Get him away at least 10 feet if not more.

Backlight the subject, keep lighting instrument in line with the lense. This will give even illumination on head and shoulders. I personally like to use a Tweenie- 650 watt mole fresnel with opal gel in front to soften the light. This causes the backlight to wrap around the shoulders just a touch. Your 300 watt would work here.

Set the softbox up as a key light on a 45 (or so) degree angle to the front, and a little above the head. Look for the shadow to fall a little below the chin. Use black card stock or a flag to control the spill onto the backdrop.
Any light hitting the backdrop will bring up black levels and kill your "void" effect. I like to light guys to fill their "facial plate," or the area of the face as defined by the jaws, chin, cheeks and forehead. Usually a shadow defining the oposite side-jaw to suit taste. A larger soft light will give you even lighting on shiny metal obejects (marimba). It will also spill light all over the place and make you chase flags around the set. Experiment.

Now fill light. If you are using a strong enough key light, you may just be able to walk a large piece of foamcore 4'x8' to bounce light into the subjects opposite shadow side. Here, you'll want to decide how much "drama" to use as shadow-to-key ratio. The darker the shadows, the more dramatic it seems. For me, I like enough light to see into the dark areas, but keep richer colors. Again- experiment.

Now for a real cool effect, if you had a video projector, maybe you could put him up against a wall in a dark room and use the projector as a light and play video of fire, etc. on him. Depends on your video subject matter. Have fun. Hope something here is useful or inspiring.

Jeff Patnaude
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Old July 14th, 2005, 12:33 PM   #5
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Thanks so much for your tips, Jeff. I have some collapsible discs I can use as reflectors, which I will experiment with. I like the idea of a video projector, though at this time I won't have one on hand. I can see how critical background distance can be; is black the most demanding for this? At best I can move it back 10', tops. I'll be having a technical rehearsal or two with this setup to make sure things look as good as possible. Again, your comments are really appreciated!
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Old July 14th, 2005, 03:05 PM   #6
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No problem Barry.
Well, the distance to the backdrop- black- is only critical to control light spill and get decent backlight that isnt too steep and therefore "toppy".
For any of the paint-textured backdrops, you would want distance to get a shallow Depth of field as well.

The flexfill's work great for bouncing fill light.

Good luck.

Jeff Patnaude
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