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Old April 25th, 2014, 10:41 PM   #16
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Re: Newbie Videographer: Studio Light Setup Mess.

Ok, so the lights you're using are pretty anemic. Cheap, but they don't throw as much light as what you need for the shot you want. The single bulb softbox is especially weak. The two 4-bulb boxes are fine.

You need to put more light on your background. If you can't get enough light by backing off the two lights you have (to spread out the light) and ironing the backdrop, you need to buy some more lights. Right now you don't have a real key light for the talent. Another one of those 4-bulb soft boxes would do the trick. Then use the reflector for fill. Stop using those desk lamps. They're not helping and the color temperatures are not the same - one is blue one is orange.

I would say try the tips mentioned in the thread, and if you need some more light, purchase a 2-pack of some larger florescent soft boxes. At least "1000 watts" each: 2000W Digital Photography Studio Softbox Lighting Kit Light Set + Carrying Case by Limo Pro Studio:Amazon:Camera & Photo

You could also zoom in to minimize the amount of white you need to evenly light. However, you still don't really have a useable key light in that kit...

One more thing, it's hard to tell in the video, but you don't want the background lights falling into the talent AT ALL. Make sure you're standing in front of them and that they're turned enough towards the background that you're not getting any spill.
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Old April 26th, 2014, 12:47 AM   #17
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Re: Newbie Videographer: Studio Light Setup Mess.

If you can't get even illumination on the background, try using a garbage matte in post. I do this with green screen work and it makes the task much easier. Simply put a loose mask around the talent to get rid of the outlying parts of the background.

A Luminance Key can also be used.
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Old April 26th, 2014, 06:57 AM   #18
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Re: Newbie Videographer: Studio Light Setup Mess.

FWIW...and again, not being argumentative, simply informative...most of the green screen work I do has been with a PMW EX3 which records to my SXS cards at 4:2:0.

Straight "out of the pipe" via SDI port video is 4:2:2 but we are putting everything onto the installed Sony SXS card.

Video is recorded at 35Mgps.

Never a problem with green screen clip.

It's honestly not hard lighting a green screen using camera zebras to get an even green screen lighting.

Correct...if you don't get an even light on that background, green or white, you will have problems.

But I still feel you have a much wider set of background options using the green screen rather than trying to make all the background decisions before you get to editing in post.

For some reason...lately...clients have loved having a vignette on the white background in post.

Whatever they want!

Nice to be able to adjust things like that after the fact...instead of having to reshoot everything...or leaving a client disappointed or unhappy.
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Old April 26th, 2014, 09:04 AM   #19
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Re: Newbie Videographer: Studio Light Setup Mess.

Brandon, don't be seduced by these smooth-talking chroma-keyers. I do corporate shoots with a green screen on a weekly basis, but that's because I want to throw a whole CG set behind them. The #1 rule of no-hassle filmmaking is that if you have your end-result already in mind and can easily achieve it in production, don't leave it for post-production.

You CAN get a usable key from a DSLR, I have done it many times. But you can see the results of your white screen in the viewfinder, whereas you won't realize your keying mistakes until it's too late. With a DSLR you don't have tools like zebra-stripes to help you get even illumination, and in such a small space you will not be able to keep the chroma bleed off of the edges of your subject.

Take a look at 2:45 in my old reel: https://vimeo.com/14755349#t=2m45s

I did this with 2x500W open-faced lights on a white bedsheet background and 1x500w umbrella for the key in a TINY room (smaller than yours). It took a little tweaking in post- to remove the wrinkles.

You can do it! You just need to overexpose your backdrop relative to your subject by the right ratio.
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Old April 26th, 2014, 10:47 AM   #20
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Re: Newbie Videographer: Studio Light Setup Mess.

Whoa, there Finn!

What happened to that number one rule you mention?

In one breath you advise not leaving anything to post production...and the next you're explaining how you achieved your nice white background in post to remove wrinkles.

Please...be assured...my comments are just good natured kidding on my part.

Not a shrill, arrogant insult directed at you in any way!

Loved seeing your reel!

Very nice work!
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Old April 26th, 2014, 11:22 AM   #21
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Re: Newbie Videographer: Studio Light Setup Mess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John DuMontelle View Post
FWIW...and again, not being argumentative, simply informative...most of the green screen work I do has been with a PMW EX3 which records to my SXS cards at 4:2:0.

Straight "out of the pipe" via SDI port video is 4:2:2 but we are putting everything onto the installed Sony SXS card.
Absolutely correct. I won't go into too much detail here as to hijack this thread since our priority should be to help Brandon. As a quick aside - a EX3 is a very different animal shooting green screen versus a dslr. Even when things are somewhat equalized recording to XDCamEX the EX cameras are much better suited for the task. The items that can make a huge difference is the EX1/3 are not shallow DOF cameras (blurry edges can hose your key). Second they are full HD 3 chip cameras that do not have to be debayered where the Canon dslrs actually resolve more like 720p (again, blurry edges can blow your key). Then there is the line skipping the dslr does that creates more aliasing along edges (jagged edges and poorly de-bayered images due to line skipping can blow your key). Where the EX cameras do a little less well than say a 2/3" broadcast camera is in noise. The EX cameras are inherently noisy. That can be mitigated by choosing the correct gamma curve.

All of these things work against getting a good key with a dslr. I'll say again that doesn't prevent you from getting a usable key with one. It just means you need to be better than average with your setup. Since Brandon is admittedly just getting started and since you have many years in the industry, what now seems simple to you (or me) can be mind blowing for someone just getting started. I see this every time I teach a lighting class.

I recommend Brandon not try a chroma key - YET. Until he can light a background evenly (regardless of color) he should avoid difficult situations. Chroma keying with a dslr is certainly one of those.

Hopefully Brandon can give us an update soon so we can see how he is coming along with his project.
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Last edited by Chris Medico; April 26th, 2014 at 03:18 PM.
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Old April 26th, 2014, 07:10 PM   #22
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Re: Newbie Videographer: Studio Light Setup Mess.

John--well, all right, fine. You're right! I did cheat, didn't I?

The real reason that I prefer white screen to green is that, unless I work really hard, I can't get a PERFECT key. If I mess up a green screen or have too many wrinkles, it's a lot harder for me to get something I'm happy with than using white and just cheating the contrast a little. And a green fringe/haze is really unforgiving against a CG white backdrop. That's all.

Thanks for your compliment!
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Old April 27th, 2014, 07:55 PM   #23
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Re: Newbie Videographer: Studio Light Setup Mess.

I have a DSLR and a green screen and agree that if you want white, shoot white.

White is one of the most difficult background replacements with a green screen. A busy background can hide imperfections. A white background hides nothing. If there's just a touch of green fringe around the hair, it will stand out starkly. And with a small space and DSLR, you are bound to get green fringe - the nearby green screen will throw a color cast on the edges of your talent and the DSLR's line skipping, scaling, and 4:2:0 all conspire to mess up your key.

Our screen is in a 36x36 barn so I can separate the talent nicely. And when we shoot with the screen, we use Magic Lantern RAW in crop mode which gives us the data off the sensor with no line skipping and no 4:2:0 issues. And yes, with this approach, an evenly lit background, and some clean up in post, we can do credible keys over white. I'd still rather use a real white background though, if that's the final output. Flattening white in post isn't really harder than flattening green.

This is a good test case. Improve your lighting and exposure to do white well. The equipment and experience will serve you well in the future over any background.
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Old May 4th, 2014, 03:36 PM   #24
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Re: Newbie Videographer: Studio Light Setup Mess.

Ah, the infinite white void look. So simple that it must be simple to set up and shoot, right? NOT.
Well, not if full body.

Pretty much everything matters. A camera that can shoot clean in low light can help on the amount of lighting needed, but if you don't have a C300, F5, Red Dragon or Alexa, then to get perfect results (no post production hassles) you need enough gear and space.

#1) The screen. I use 140" wide x 50' white Seemless paper. (Most often I wish it were 280" wide.)
I put that roll up on a couple of big rolling stands that have big pipe couplers on each to grab and hold a 14' piece of black iron pipe that is the axle for the 12' roll of paper.
The 140" paper can be hard to find and needs to be delivered by truck freight = mo money.
The narrower 107"W is almost worthless for anything other than a direct frontal shot of one skinny actor who doesn't move. Using clear packing tape and a flat - super clean floor of enough size, I have put two pieces together - but this is a pain. The paper gets dirty easy and tears even easier. Not easy to hang either - i.e. tears.

#2) You will need enough soft light to evenly light the screen bright enough for whatever camera you are using (this is where a good camera with fast lens comes into play). We use a couple of Lowel Rifa 88s with 1000W in each. Hard lights, unless far enough away to flood the paper, hot spot. For side lights,
we use a couple of 2K Desisti fresnels on rolling stands and hit both the screen and the talent with them - this means they need to be far enough away to work. Two more Rifa 88s for the talent and sometimes a back-light (1K fresnel) behind and just above the screen.

IMO, this is barely enough to get it to work - and we shoot on Sony EX3s.
If they need more stage than the 140" paper can provide, we shoot green screen and record the hdsdi out of the EX3 in ProRes HQ or uncompressed.

As always, you mileage may vary.
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Old May 9th, 2014, 11:25 PM   #25
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Re: Newbie Videographer: Studio Light Setup Mess.

Should have gotten a patent on shooting against a white background. Amazon did:

You Can Close The Studio, Amazon Patents Photographing On Seamless White - DIY Photography
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