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Old May 26th, 2014, 09:05 AM   #16
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Re: Pure White Background Advice....

I did a project last year with 200 videos about 3-5min a piece that were shot on white. I did extensive testing before day one as we shot 25 videos per day and had no time to waste. Also I wanted it to be easy in post. I used my green screen lighting setup on a 10' wide super-white paper. Lighting was 4-220watt CFL kinoflo style fixtures with kinflo daylight bulbs for the screen. On the talent I used a 1600 watt CFL fixture in a 36" soft box. Of note is the adjustable output. First thing I did was double check the even-ness of the screen lighting with no talent or talent lights on. Exposure-wise on the camera (XF300) set the BG to almost 100% to purposely blow out later in post. Then placed the talent. Brought up the talent light to where they were acceptable and was off and running. It felt like I was underexposing the talent but I wasn't. In post I adjusted the contrast a bit to further to get rid of the very soft shadow on the white from the talent I was done.


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Old May 29th, 2014, 09:59 AM   #17
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Re: Pure White Background Advice....

Hey everyone! Thanks for the advice. I just finished up my video. I think it turned out pretty decent! What do you think?

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Old May 29th, 2014, 12:18 PM   #18
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Re: Pure White Background Advice....

Looks pretty good...I'd push the contrast just a touch. Also, they are both pretty shiny which a makeup artist or simple towel off before a take would help with the bright spots on their faces. The reflection in the glasses is a touch distracting. It's freekin hard to get rid of that sometimes. :)
All in all I say well done!
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Old May 29th, 2014, 03:55 PM   #19
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Re: Pure White Background Advice....

This shows the advantage of two things: a large space and controllable lights. :)

With controllable (maskable, flaggable) lights, you can illuminate the background without hitting your subject. The reflection from the right side of the face (left, from the viewer perspective) is pretty strong. And even if you can direct the background lights, if your space is small, background and foreground lighting tend to interact.

Regarding the reflection from the glasses, raising the foreground lights is the general solution.

But I'm being picky. Your result is clean and more than good enough for the context. It's not like you were lighting a top celebrity for a national spot - yet! :)

BTW, it's good that you didn't add a strong hair or backlight - unless you wanted the subject outline to be diffuse. Blurring the outline of the subject can be good for a dreamy feel. You want a solid outline for a realistic feel, which seems right for this piece.

There is an interesting style of lighting where you light the subject from the left and the background from the right. This makes one side of the face light over dark and the other side dark over light. It's very dramatic and reads well from a distance with excellent edge contrast. In the current example, the goal is a fully dark(ish) edge over the bright background. From that standpoint, the man's dark jacket is the better choice than the woman's light blouse. His jacket really pops off the background.

Anyway, nice job in getting the background well exposed. From here, it's just a matter of fine tuning.
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Old August 7th, 2014, 11:33 AM   #20
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Re: Pure White Background Advice....

I know I'm late to the discussion, but I just finished about a dozen interview shoots for the Hannibal Season 2 Blu-ray and we shot against white to match the show's title sequence.

One thing we used (which was new to me) was the Lastolite Hilite background. If you're not familiar with it, it's essentially a giant freestanding softbox that illuminates from the inside out (it has zippers on all sides that you can open and stick whatever lights you want through) and you place it behind the subject. This has a few advantages for this kind of look. It's very easy to get uniformity without a lot of light inside because the light blows out pretty easily with the light bouncing around the inside (again, it's just like a giant diffuser). Secondly, you can actually use this in a fairly confined space. Because you're lighting from the inside out, you don't have keep your subject very far away from the Hilite. For the interview with actor Hugh Dancy, he was sitting in a recording booth that was probably 12' deep. Because the lighting is internal, you don't have to worry about the subject casting shadows against the backdrop and, depending on how close they're sitting, you get a nice soft wrap around. He was probably only 2-3 feet in front of the Hilite. It also made set up and breakdown simple because it collapses into a nice flat profile and doesn't require any additional stands (it's self supporting). I just threw an extra sandbag inside to anchor it just cause. We then just lit him normally (I was using a pair of Kino Celeb 200s and a Litepanels Sola Eng for hair).

I've heard that these Hilites can start to yellow over time, but it you do enough of these shoots, the look and the time saved probably makes it worth replacing every few years. And... another benefit- you want to change the color of the background, you just gel your lights inside.
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Old August 7th, 2014, 04:10 PM   #21
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Re: Pure White Background Advice....

The backlit background looks pretty handy.

I just wanted to throw out that I've shot a LOT of interviews in front of a green screen specifically to key in front of white...it is far from impossible and it doesn't require anything special in the way of a recording format (I've used an EX1 with 35 Mbit/s 4:2:0 source and it keys just fine).

The benefit to this versus even a relatively even white background is that using a white background created in a computer means all that area is single value hue/saturation/luma which means it compresses VERY economically and ends up using the data to preserve details in the foreground.
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Old August 8th, 2014, 12:24 PM   #22
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Re: Pure White Background Advice....

For austerity purposes, thought I'd mention my usual approach to this type (mid shot talking head on white) that fits in one backpack (except the background) and sets up quickly on location.

The lighting kit I use is fairly simple: 2 Lowel V-lights for the background, and one Lowel RIFA 55 and a Pro-Light or V-light plus umbrella for the subject. I have a collapsible 5x7' background, but I've used this on bare white to light beige walls and large whiteboards as well.

I light the background by placing one V-light on either side of the background, just out of frame, with about 2-3' separation from the background. I mount them vertically at approximately subject level. Mounted in this way, they have a very broad beam throw and minimal spill towards subject and camera.

Subject is then placed 1-2' forward of the V-lights. I expose so the background is just above ~105IRE, then see where the subject is in comparison. White background shoots generally don't benefit from high-contrast lighting, IMO, and favor a flatter, even-lit look. To that end, I place one soft light on either side of the talent (RIFA or V-light/Pro-light with umbrella) at about 45 degrees and adjust distance and angle for exposure and to mitigate shadows.

Last tip: I use a CPOL filter. It generally helps keep subject highlights from blowing out too quickly or horribly - very beneficial when you're generally raising subject exposure overall.

Frame, focus, and roll. My personal land speed record was 17 minutes for a setup. Smallest location for this was a 12x8' office (yes, it did get warm).

While this is neither of those extremes, it's a reasonable representation - see "My Videos" halfway down the page. Earlier but not perfect, if shot again I would slightly increase exposure on the subject:
Janet Benedetti Ameriprise financial advisor in Richmond, VA
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Old August 10th, 2014, 04:37 PM   #23
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Re: Pure White Background Advice....

Blast the background with brighter light then your subject. Also, if you use a shiny paper it will reflect more light and be brighter. Use lower wattage lights for your subject so that in your camera the background over exposes to full brightness.
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