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Old September 14th, 2010, 08:03 PM   #1
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I need tips on how to properly light an interview with a black BG

Hello,

Recently I filmed an interview using a black background that I bought from backdrop alley.

I used the light setup from a book I had recently read. See Lighting Setup image.

As you can see from the attached image labeled Noise.png, I had a lot of noise in the black backdrop. The camera I was using was the Panasonic HMC-150 at 1080-30p.

Fortunately, I have Magic Bullet and was able to improve the black backdrop as you can see from the Black_MagicBullet.png. However, I realize now the video seems too dark. But the client liked the look so that is good.

But in the future, I would like to shoot the interview without having to fix the background in post. Any suggestions on how to improve the black background effect without filming so much noise?

Any suggestions would be appreciated and if you know a better way to create this effect, I would love to hear what others are doing.

Thanks,

Simon
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I need tips on how to properly light an interview with a black BG-noise.png   I need tips on how to properly light an interview with a black BG-black_magicbullet.png  

I need tips on how to properly light an interview with a black BG-lighting-setup.jpg  
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Old September 14th, 2010, 08:18 PM   #2
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The noise in the black back drop could just be your black level setting in your camera. I'm not familiar with your camera so I don't know if that is adjustable. One thing you could do is ad a back light to help separate your subject from the back ground. It will give separation and should help out when you use MB.
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Old September 14th, 2010, 08:23 PM   #3
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You might try to control the light a little better, your "black" background showed up at about 20 IRE which puts it firmly in grey territory, your subjects shirt showed up at about 40 IRE. You need to get more separation between your actor and your background. You can try putting the lights up higher to control the background spill or use flags, even moving the subject further from the background and shooting long lens will help you. Once you get the background below 5 IRE you wont have as much trouble with noise.

Good Luck.
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Old September 14th, 2010, 08:25 PM   #4
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The 150 is very susceptible to noise if the black level is not set. I'll try to find the page in the manual that describes how and how often to do it.

Noise used to drive me nuts til I figured this out.
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Old September 14th, 2010, 08:30 PM   #5
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Found this in another thread...

Denny Lajeunesse
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To black balance the camera you hold the white balance button on the front of the camera down till you see ABB on the screen, which will go black as the camera closes the iris to balance black. Lasts about 2 seconds.

Panasonic recommends this after switching resolutions etc. It's in the manual somewhere. (Am I the only one that wishes panasonic had an index in their manuals?)
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Old September 14th, 2010, 08:43 PM   #6
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wow!

Geez, you guys are fasttttttttttt! :)

Lots of good advice. I did not adjust the black level. I had it on automatic settings.:(

I agree I should move the subject a bit further away. In hindsight, he was definitely too close which created a shadow behind him too.

I will have another shoot in October using the same setup. Thanks for the tips. I will definitely try them out at home and see if that improves the issues I had.

Thanks!

Simon
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Old September 15th, 2010, 02:28 AM   #7
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You need to use manual exposure with a black background and set the exposure for the subject's face (or where ever you want the correct exposure to be).

Back lighting depend on your personal style, but it does give separation.

It helps to keep stray light off the black drap you're using as a background.
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Old September 15th, 2010, 09:48 AM   #8
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Yes, you are correct.

I should have known better. All makes sense. I look forward to trying out all these good tips.

thanks,

Simon
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Old October 12th, 2010, 08:21 PM   #9
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A backlight would be good to separate the subject from the background. I've been using a Comer 1800 LED for this lately as it allows dimming and is light so it's easy to boom.
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