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Old June 8th, 2011, 11:09 AM   #1
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Help Lighting Whiteboard Presentation

I'm trying to set up lighting to record whiteboard video presentations. There will be no audience. It will be for web and DVD. The lighting equipment I was going to use:

1 - LED Coollight 600 Spot with softbox (not using egg crate)
2 - LED Coollight 600 floods
2 - LED Coollight 256 spots
1 - 43" Reflector

What's the best way to place these lights in order to get the best results? At first I was thinking green screen type lighting with lights on the whiteboard and 3 point on speaker but that wont work since the speaker will be very close to the whiteboard, making contact with the whiteboard, etc... There doesn't seem to be a way to even have a back light...

I'm not sure if I should have the 600 spot with softbox as a key then spread the two 600 floods with diffusers out further at a wider angle? Basically having all 3 firing at the whiteboard/speaker. However, the floods seem to be a lot brighter than the spot even when diffused...

I also thought of using 1/4 stop or diffusers on the 256 spots to soften them and fire them straight down on top of the speaker. However the speaker will be moving back and forth in front of the board and not stationary. The board itself is 6ft wide and 4ft tall so the speaker will not be moving too far back and forth (i hope!).

Will I need to turn the 256 spots overhead down lower to dim them?

I'm also using minus green since these lights tend to have a green tint to them...

The camera will be zoomed in with the outline of the board not visible. (I'm not sure if that's a good idea)

Also, what markers should be used? Will the board be blown out and unreadable?


Last edited by Michael LaHatte; June 8th, 2011 at 11:12 AM. Reason: grammer... ;)
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Old June 9th, 2011, 05:41 PM   #2
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Re: Help Lighting Whiteboard Presentation

You'll need to watch the angles carefully. Most whiteboards are glossy, and the reflections of the lights will play havoc with exposure. If it was me, I'd use several small reflector floods placed down low, shooting up on the board.

Aside from the possible reflections, your biggest issue will be OVER-LIGHTING the board. The tendency is to throw every light you've got against the board. You actually don't need that much -- the board's white, so it will pick up any light sources in the room. Perversely, if there are windows in the room, you might find yourself having to cut down on the light going to the board.

What you need to do is determine correct exposure for the speaker, then adjust the amount of light going to the board so the speaker doesn't end up a black silhouette against the white board. Depending on the ambient light levels, you might have to start throwing MORE light on the speaker to balance out levels so the whiteboard doesn't blow out. If the board is overexposed, then you'll lose the relatively thin marker lines on the whiteboard.

Wide, dark(er) markers should work best. Light colors such as blues and yellows will probably not show up well. This is something you'll need to test on location.

Just as a gut feeling, not knowing the exact conditions you're shooting under, I'd say you'll spend more time lighting the speaker(s) than the whiteboard. Just remember that the board doesn't have to glow. Setting exposure for fairly light grey tone on the board should work quite well.

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Old June 11th, 2011, 12:06 AM   #3
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Re: Help Lighting Whiteboard Presentation

Martin's right - less is more here.

I'd start with ONE 600 flood and the reflector. I'd put them both well back from the white board surface and point the light AWAY from the talent so that it fills the reflector and bounces the largest possible soft light reflection on the whole camera scene. Then expose properly and see if that's all you need.

You're essentially just presenting a light wash from the front - perhaps a bit off angle to keep from really flattening everything. Opening up the presenters features and filling in facial shadows is all you really need to do for this kind of thing.

Next write some stuff on the white board, look at the monitor and decide whether or not you need to set up a large cutter to FLAG some of that bounce off the white board so the writing will show up clearly.

That's where I'd start. Then and ONLY then would I maybe consider whether to set up an area rim so that when the presenter is standing BESIDE the white board they have good separation from the background. When he or she is in front of the white board there's no need for a backlight - the entire white board will provide plenty of shape for the presenter.

Finally, I'd have the presenter dress primarily in light colors to minimize the contrast between them and the white board so they don't need any more key than necessary - no dark suits or the like.

Thats where I'd start. Then look at the scene

What you want is a wide open, evenly lit scene to minimize the contrast between the white board and everything else. Any strong lights pointed directly at anything in the scene will KILL you with this kind of massive white object dominating the frame.

My 2 cents not being able to see it and having to light it "in theory" rather in the actual space.

Good luck.
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Old June 13th, 2011, 04:42 PM   #4
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Re: Help Lighting Whiteboard Presentation

Thanks for the input!

I've attached a simple drawing of what you guys suggest.

Should the camera be at a slight angle like I have it? (since the speaker is right handed) or should i just leave the camera straight on?

Also, should the main light (LED 600) be at a wider angle than I have it?

And what about the position of the reflector?

Also, could I use another LED 600 instead of reflector since it has a knob to turn it down? or will that have a tendency to throw the color off even if it is an LED?

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