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Old November 2nd, 2005, 08:54 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St.Thomas, Ontario, CANADA
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Will this kit work?

Shooting a small informercial against a white seemless background in studio.
We want to be able to light the background very nicely and also the subject speaking. Basically we want the whole background blown out white.
We were thinking about getting this lighting kit as we have nothing right now.


Is this decent enough to get the job done?
Toogood Studios
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Old November 3rd, 2005, 10:00 AM   #2
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
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I shot a similar commercial in a photgrapher's studio. I ended up using 2 or 3 2000W photofloods to fill the background, a 1000W Key Light, and several 500W fresnels for fill. That's over 8 times the amount of light you're talking about with this kit. Even then, I still had trouble shooting wider shots, or people standing close to the floor (look at the motorcycle shot, and the shot with the little person). I really think you will be dissapointed with the result if you try to make such a small light kit work.

Here's a direct link to the spot:


Have you considered renting lighting equipment? Even if a grip house or video rental facility isn't nearby, you may be able to contact a still photographer who owns some larger lights.

When trying for that "infinity white" look, it's very important to have even illumination on the background. Since most lights have a "hot spot" in the middle, this can be challenging. You need that hot spot to basically cover your entire background. You also need the talent far enough away so as to not cast shadows on the background.

here's the studio I shot in. Go to "Services, Studio Rental" for a Quicktime VR of the stage. As you can see, the infinity wall is fairly large. This was indespensable for getting the talent seperated from the bkgnd. If you look at the first QT VR, camera was right about where the blue director's chair is, talent was standing about at the same space as the QTVR perspective, and about 20 feet of the back wall was bathed in light:


I had a waveform hooked up to the camera, which helped identify uneveness that I couldn't spot by eye. Then, I lit the talent to match my pre-lit background. I tried to keep the background at between 80-90 IRE in the waveform, which prevented the background from overexposing to "pure white" in the camera. Overexposing sounds like a good idea, but trust me, it looks like hell when you review the footage, it leaves you no wiggle room for color or exposure correction in post, and besides that it's not broadcast safe. If you don't have access to a waveform, look into DVRack, which provides a live, software waveform on a laptop.

Fortunately, you're often going for a very soft look with the lighting, which means you don't need video or film-specific lighting. Just about any light source will do, bounced into a white foamcore or posterboard. But again, you'll need a lot more wattage to make this work. I would contact local photo studios and/or equipment rental houses.

If you want to give me more specifics about your shoot, I would be glad to elaborate. Are you only doing heads, head & shoulders, or full body? Where is your studio, and what services are available there? What local resources do you have for lighting? What is your budget? I'm only assuming from your post that you're fairly new to this, otherwise you would already have a kit, or ready access to lights. I'm happy to help, but I need to know specifics.
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