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Old July 20th, 2011, 01:54 PM   #1
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Apple-Like White Background for Interviews - How-to?

I'm going to be shooting some interviews in about two weeks, and I really like the lighting and the white background in Apple's interviews for Lion: Apple - OS X Lion - Learn about the top new features.

It seems they have some very white lighting coming from behind his head to simulate the glow of the white background. The rest is really diffused, so I wondered where you thought the lighting was, and how it was done?

The final challenge I have is getting as close to that lighting as possible with DIY lighting kits put together with stuff from Wal-Mart....

Any help would be wonderful!

Many thanks,

-Evan
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Old July 20th, 2011, 04:57 PM   #2
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Re: Apple-Like White Background for Interviews - How-to?

Someone else was asking about that in a thread here:

Apple behind the scenes white background question...

Take a look at that and see if it answers your questions. Hope this helps.
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Old July 21st, 2011, 02:23 AM   #3
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Re: Apple-Like White Background for Interviews - How-to?

I'm no lighting expert but I'll take a guess:

1. There's no texture or shading in the background - which leads me to believe that the effect was achieved in post production. If they shot against a white background, then -

2. Overexpose it when compared to the main lighting. It will blow out to white, and remove any texture, shadow or imperfection. This should be cheaper and easier than having a huge lightbox behind the talking head.
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Old July 21st, 2011, 03:40 AM   #4
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Re: Apple-Like White Background for Interviews - How-to?

You don't think they used a green screen?
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Old July 21st, 2011, 04:11 AM   #5
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Re: Apple-Like White Background for Interviews - How-to?

Little point using a coloured background and then trying to key it out in post. All you need is a big bright white screen, decent glass in your lens and accurate control over exposure. In essence, it's not too complicated. You light the talent with your favourite technique - I know many people love the newer ones, but I'm a traditionalist. In the example, the light is coming in from a shallow angle, so there is a clear shadow on the talents right hand side of his nose, but it's not far off the lens axis - same on the other side but softer. Light gets into his collar area, and there are some shadows on the shoulders, also confirming the light was close to horizontal, not from anywhere near the usual higher angle. These will land on the screen behind, and in green screen would be a pain - however, as the white screen is really bright, all areas of it are over level, so you can't see them. I suspect the screen is close enough to also provide the backlight we're seeing.

It's very easy to burn out backgrounds - but the way the camera handles this is a bit unpredictable. With the lens on manual on my older, bigger cameras, it works rather well, and is perfectly controllable with the iris and camera settings. Pretty grim on my little SD9 panasonic, that on auto has very nice looking pictures - why not try your own kit and see how it handles over level whites?
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Old July 21st, 2011, 06:08 AM   #6
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Re: Apple-Like White Background for Interviews - How-to?

It's done through lighting and exposure control. The answer dates back to the time of Ansel Adams and the Zone System.

At what point does your camera/playback system give you a nice white? Where does your camera/playback system provide you good skin tones?

Understand this, and you can get a good clean white background and good skin tones.

I do this to shoot green screen. The goal is to get a solid green to get good separation data. And get the talent looking good, too.
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Old July 21st, 2011, 07:49 AM   #7
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Re: Apple-Like White Background for Interviews - How-to?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan Heckert View Post
You don't think they used a green screen?
No...wouldn't it be easier just to use a white screen?
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Old August 7th, 2011, 12:10 PM   #8
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Re: Apple-Like White Background for Interviews - How-to?

Don't use a green screen. We use a white screen:
Savage Infinity Vinyl Background (10 x 20', White) V01-1020 B&H

We bought the vinyl screen so we could just clean it when it gets dirty. (Swiffer works great). We light it with a combination of 4 x Kino Flo Diva 400's (to light talent) and 2 x Kino Flo 4-banks (to light background).
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Old August 7th, 2011, 12:20 PM   #9
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Re: Apple-Like White Background for Interviews - How-to?

I use the 10 foot wide bright white photo paper background. Wasn't terribly expensive and when a piece gets dirty you just cut it off and roll out a bit more. Then my kids have an enormous canvas for crayons!!

As for lighting, I use the same setup as my greenscreen, two 220 watt kino-style on the background, two more for the floor (if needed) and then basic lighting for the subject which varies based on the look I want.

Nice thing with the xf300 is the onboard scopes to make sure the background lighting is even.
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Old August 7th, 2011, 06:39 PM   #10
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Re: Apple-Like White Background for Interviews - How-to?

I've done a similar look by using a video projector screen from our presentation set up. Works great for a sitting shot or talking head...not so usefull for a full length. It was easy and didnt cost anything as we already carry a 10 'tripod projector screen in our truck. Lighting it to blow out was easy as well since the screen adds some reflectance to the light and evens out real nice.

Just an option.
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