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Old July 11th, 2021, 09:31 PM   #1
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Lights for studio cyc?

Hi. I am planning to build a cyclorama and am budgeting for lights.
The room will be 40' deep by about 29.5' wide.
The U-shaped cyc will extend out about 20' on the floor.
Height about 16'.
So the cyc will be approx 29.5w x 20d x 16h.
I will likely paint it half white and half green because I cannot figure out any other way to do both. When I need a larger scene I'll paint it all green or white.

I want some ceiling mounted lights to light the cyc and backlights/hairlights and then I will use my existing lights for talent. Some type of space light looks to be a nice even soft solution but I have never used them or even know how many I would need? Or some 1x4 or 1x2 panels? Or ?
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Old July 12th, 2021, 03:20 AM   #2
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Re: Lights for studio cyc?

Might as well take a look at Anthem One https://anthemone.com/

Lighting is my weak spot, but these look just so nice.

Andrew
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Old July 13th, 2021, 10:25 AM   #3
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Re: Lights for studio cyc?

Anthem One do look nice, but don’t seem to have anything to do with cyc/screen lighting.

I’m assuming that one purpose is head to toe shots on white or green. Indeed, space lights have become the standard where ceiling height is sufficient. Few cycs are built in low-ceilinged rooms because the lighting becomes more complex.

Space lights are now available in LED, and there are a few knockoffs. I’ve only had experience with the older tungsten Mole-Richardson, but we’re about to set up some LED M-Rs.

I’m sure there is a way to compute coverage if you don’t have someone with experience to inform your design. You might reach out to manufacturers’ tech/sales support.

I’m also seeing people using Arri Light Panels, 1x1s, 1x2s, kinos, etc., lots of alternatives, some may need position/aim/focus to achieve what space lights do so easily.

Then you’re on to the classic methods to get easy and good keys: Keeping your subject well in front of the wall, lighting them independently of the screen lights, lighting them to match the background plate, having backlights available to wash out spill, and testing your keys as you go.

P.S. When you’re shooting white you’ll need to control illumination from the green wall - you don’t want that polluting skin tones!
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Old July 13th, 2021, 10:08 PM   #4
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Re: Lights for studio cyc?

Per this page (scroll down) https://anthemone.com/pages/technical-specifications, the Anthem One beam is 160° at source.

Again, I'm hardly a lighting expert. But these look super nice and seem to work very well with an even distribution of light and no hotspot. My only other suggestion is to look at the lighting setups of other facilities.

Andrew
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Old July 14th, 2021, 12:54 AM   #5
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Re: Lights for studio cyc?

The anthems are point source lights. To make them shadowless means diffuser, extra standoffs and loss of light. They’re lovely and expensive. Cyc lighting needs big source area and the total opposite of point source. Little creases vanish with big sources and point sources make tiny creases into huge ones.

Lighting falls into simple categories. Really hard sources, which means sharp shadows and shape projection. We then have Fresnel lenses fixtures that theatre people call soft and TV people call hard. The create shadows, but shadows with soft edges and Fresnels blend with others really well so they sort of cross fade when focussed properly. Then we have soft sources - the older tubular lamped fixtures with asymmetric reflectors that have big openings and have much gentler shadow creation at a distance, and the modern LED versions have similar properties. Lastly we have the very big light sources. Usually with space inside and a large diffusing surface that produce hardly any shadows. A number of these become space lights a shadowless very even result.

For Cycs and floors you want lights from this end of the range. Trying to soften fixtures at the other end is wasteful of light and is rarely successful.
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Old July 14th, 2021, 10:21 AM   #6
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Re: Lights for studio cyc?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Smith View Post
…Again, I'm hardly a lighting expert. But…
I suppose that I am a lighting expert in this area, having done hundreds of green screen setups in dozens of studios/locations, and having designed three studio buildouts to support green screen. I also created the initial curriculum for a college course on green screen shooting and compositing.

Paul J has the right of it in soft (large) sources for screen lighting. Although hard/point sources can be used to light the screen behind a head and shoulders shot, anything larger is easier and much better with large soft sources. Head to toe shots absolutely demand a lot (a lot!) of soft diffused light from multiple large sources.

Lighting design is absolutely key to later compositing.

The other key concepts are lighting subjects independently from the screen, and using distance from the subject to the screen to lessen green spill. Head to toe is especially challenging since part of your subject is in contact with the screen; the lighting has to be great, and you’ll still be doing more moving masks in post than you want! (I want to do zero moving masks.)

My own projects improved dramatically when testing keys became affordable on every studio shoot. I’m now working on developing real-time testing/compositing in game engines (Unity, Unreal Engine), which allow us to place people in 3D space - with a live camera feed. Here’s a great example (not my work), compositing took place live - this is one take with minimal or no post (link).

Space Lights are a studio standard for green screen and white limbo for good reason. You *will* see their signature barrel shape show up in behind-the-scenes pix and clips!
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Old July 15th, 2021, 12:19 AM   #7
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Re: Lights for studio cyc?

My studio space suffers from less than ideal height so the depth of space lights I can’t do. I have horizontal rows of panels and a foot from the cloth a finger pointing up can just be seen moving, so the cloth is even and bright. I have to be really careful with my keys because they can cast shadows, and I often end up using a second to fill in the shadow I created. If I had the height, I’d do it do much better!
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