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-   -   Round table discussion - lighting question (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/techniques-independent-production/486549-round-table-discussion-lighting-question.html)

Mark Chafe October 24th, 2010 08:48 AM

Round table discussion - lighting question

I have done some indoor/outdoor sports webcasts in the past, however we are currently looking at a local sports discussion show. We would like to do it in my living room (in a basement apartment) with a green screen, however I do not know anything about lighting at all. I have read and seen tutorials online, however most of them are for just 1 person sitting or standing in front of a green screen for a solo shot, however I would like to have 3 - 4 for a round table discussion or at a desk with the green screen behind them.

I was visting tubetape.com looking at their cool-flo flourscent lights. I have 2 PD-170 cameras I will be using to shoot this. I will either have 1 host, with 2 or 3 guests depending on who is available. Wondering first if there are ok lights to use or should i look for a different type? How many lights should i use? Economical and not too hot woudl be nice. I have a few sets of work lights now. This will be mainly for webcast, but we would hope to air this on a local cable access channel at some time in the future once its becomes polished enough if it ever does heh.

Any help or info would be great.


Bill Ward October 24th, 2010 01:30 PM

For a one light fits all round table idea, you might want to look at the "China Globe" style lights.

Lanterns | CHIMERA Lighting

You can also sometimes find them in home lighting stores for use with incandescent bulbs. Just be careful not to over-bulb the limits of the paper fixture, if you go that route. You'll also have to rig a way to hang the light directly over the table, while keeping the wires and fixture out of the frame. But it's a good way to get light directly into everyone's face.

Bob Krieger October 25th, 2010 12:38 PM

A china ball over the table sounds like a decent idea to me, but you'll need some sort of backlighting to separate the talent from the background. If you go greenscreen, try using flourescents to illuminate the screen and backlight the talent with a bit of gold or yellow to make the key easy enough. Though with DV as your format, keying will be hard enough as it it!

I'd actually suggest building a simple backdrop behind your talent and light that and forgo the greenscreen and all it's problems. Keep away from incandescent lighting as much as possible to reduce the heat signature in a confined space like your living room.

Arnie Schlissel October 25th, 2010 06:59 PM


Originally Posted by Bob Krieger (Post 1582055)
If you go greenscreen, try using flourescents to illuminate the screen

You need to be very careful when using fluorescents with video or film. If you use the wrong shutter speeds you'll get flicker, which can be very difficult & expensive to fix. If you do want to use fluorescents, use Kino-Flos or something like them.


Originally Posted by Bob Krieger (Post 1582055)
I'd actually suggest building a simple backdrop behind your talent and light that and forgo the greenscreen and all it's problems.

That's what I was going to suggest. Maybe there's a good reason why you want to use a greenscreen, but you're really asking for a world of pain. Especially if you're going to be on tight deadlines.

If you really do want to use greenscreen backgrounds, then you must enforce a strict dress code (no yellows or greens, no stripes or plaids), and none of your onscreen talent can have blonde hair.

Mark Chafe October 29th, 2010 06:57 PM

The type of look i'm going for would be that of the Charlie Rose show, and similar where they just have a black background and simple lighting. It looks simple, but don't know how simple it is. I only have my rec room to work with so I don't know if there would be enough room. Just have some black curtains or black some black boards and 2 or 3 guests around a table. I was thinking about going with a green screen but for the times i tried, I couldn't really get great results, plus I havent found any backgrounds that i really like.

Jonathan Palfrey January 1st, 2011 03:56 PM

I presume this is what your trying to do, similar set up to Zacuto's FilmFellas. Seems like a pretty simple set up, just one large light with softbox above the table then black cloth hanging off it to stop any spill of light. I'm sure it could be fairly easily recreated even on a low budget. Only issue you might have is the size/height of your room.

Tim Paynter March 2nd, 2015 12:22 AM

Re: Round table discussion - lighting question
Nothing about this seems simple to me, or perhaps better said, inexpensive which to many means "simple".

Oren Arieli March 2nd, 2015 12:57 PM

Re: Round table discussion - lighting question
It would help to know the size of the room, height of the ceiling, and your budget. Is heat an issue? How about power? Can you hang lights from the ceiling? Do you have any current lights in your kit? Once you have the dimensions down, it helps to draw a lighting diagram (online tools are a great help) Creator / Home - Online Lighting Diagram Creator - Tools for photographers

Adrian Tan April 5th, 2015 02:40 PM

Re: Round table discussion - lighting question
Hey Mark, quick thoughts:

-- Distance is one issue. Ideally, the people should be far enough away from the screen that there's no green bouncing back at them, and the more in front you put the person, the bigger the screen you'll need. "Basement" sounds cramped to me. From this point of view, backdrop is the smarter way to go, so you're spared green screen woes.
-- If you want to use a green screen, it doesn't have to be a fabric screen -- you can paint the wall to be a permanent green instead. There's special paint available for this purpose.
-- It's possible to use your work lights on the screen, but they're not ideal, for a couple of reasons. To see what I mean, shine those worklights on a wall and wave your hand in front of them. You'll see that the light isn't very even (there will be a bright spot in the middle, and maybe a couple of circles of different intensity), and your hand will cast multiple shadows. So when you point that thing at a green screen, you'll also find that you get hot spots and unevenness, the hard light will make every crease and bump on your screen more obvious, they might be too powerful, unless you can dim them, and, obviously, they'll heat up a basement a lot.
-- If you have to use the work lights, experiment with bouncing them onto the screen rather than shining directly. For instance, see if you can bounce them off a ceiling or wall, or off a board (as big as you can manage) wrapped in aluminium foil.
-- Soft lights, like the fluorescents you mention, are better than work lights. In an ideal world, maybe you'd have something like kinoflos hanging from the ceiling with green-coloured tubes (kinoflo do sell special green and blue screen tubes).
-- I know when I first started, I looked at four-bank kinoflos, saw "$1500" written next to them, and thought, "Eff that", especially as worklights are more like $50. But I guess the truth is that, if you stick with video, a kinoflo will never be a purchase you regret.
-- It's easier to light a screen with two lights, but doable with one. For the sake of budget, try with one first.
-- For lighting more than one person -- have one big source positioned in such a way that the people aren't going to cast shadows on each other. That china ball idea seems awesome to me.

Tim Paynter April 5th, 2015 05:42 PM

Re: Round table discussion - lighting question
From personal experience, paint the wall green which you want to use for your green screen. This avoids the wrinkles of fabric and torn paper if you use paper. They call it "chroma" green at home depot.

Be sure you have plenty of distance between your green screen and the subjects. You are essentially lighting twice, once for the screen with NO shadows, and then for your subjects. I like the overhead Chimera light and a black background except for your green screen wall.

You will also want to make a sound plan so you can edit (usually up or down) each voice.

I love the idea. You can play highlights (assuming you can get permission) of the game on the green screen, or float other video.

Here is a basic lighting plan for a green screen.

Best of luck. I shoot with a PD 170, too and it is an amazing, though vintage, camera!

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