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Studio Lighting Problem

BruceMol's picture
Last seen: 1 day 24 min ago
Joined: 03/11/2008 - 10:35pm

Once a week I shoot in a small studio set in the corner of a customers office.
It's a 3 camera interview style show with host and guest. After a few episodes we changed our chairs, after a few more we changed how we shoot the show (more planning) and now we are going to replace the donated tungsten work lights with some studio lights.
We have a few problems to overcome, one is that our chairs are almost against the wall, which creates shadows and prevents us also from getting behind for a good back light. Our set is so small there are lighting hot spots on the sides of heads - and literal heat too. We have parchment paper over the light to diffuse them but one of them scorched so, for safety sake, we can't use that any longer in a building of 50 people.
Right now I have four halogens, two on the ceiling aiming down which gives us a good hair glow but face shadows - no shadows on the wall from them. Then I have a light aimed at the host to fill his face and also backlight the gust to a small degree - but we get shadows. The other light does the same for the front of the guest and back of the host.

In my own home studio I've never had to light 2 people conversing so my three point flouresent system works great. I can also get people 5 feet from my green screen or backdrop so I don't get shadows. So I'm looking for both suggestions for working in shallow sets and/or and opinions about cooler/safer lights for the conditions I am working in.


Charles Schultz's picture
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: 10/25/2010 - 10:38pm

How about putting a light or two on the floor pointing behind the interviewees and see if that helps with the shadow on the wall. I could be a Florescent single bulb fixture with an extension cord. Might be worth a try as it should be small enough to emit light behind the chairs.


Rocky M's picture
Last seen: 3 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 03/12/2010 - 5:53am

A light dimmer knob/switchfittedto a small seperate AC power lead providing the AC power to each of your existing halogen lamps can act to adjust the wattage output of each lamp (if they do not already have individual lamp adjustments). A small PAG lamp or 50 LED lampfitted to the hot shoe of the camera shouldremove the face shadows.Any remaining wall shadows could be disguised with the use offloor lights fitted with light cookies. Where ever there's a problem there's a solution, just a matter of finding the best solution, good luck.


composite1's picture
Last seen: 5 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

Bruce,

I've used Vellum (parchment) over lights both for halogen worklights and Lowel Tota lights for years with no mishaps. Main thing is to keep the safety cage on the worklight and the scrim on the Tota. When you are not recording, save the lights by turning them off. Parchment is mighty tough and can last for years, but it can't stand up to the heat of halogen bulbs for hours on end.

As for you lighting issue, if you can safely rig your lights overhead then you'll push the shadows to the floor. Use bounce cards to give a soft fill to the talent's faces if can only put the lights straight over (which I don't recommend.) Hanging from the ceiling and pointing downward at an angle will drive down the shadows.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com



BruceMol's picture
Last seen: 1 day 24 min ago
Joined: 03/11/2008 - 10:35pm

Thanks for the great suggestions - they gave me a few ideas about what to try next.


D0n
D0n's picture
Last seen: 3 months 1 week ago
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 5:28pm

set your lights up high so the shadows are thrown down behind the talent, and use reflectors to fill in shadows... (think Rembrant lighting or butterfly lighting).

and also remember the physics of lighting... the further your light is from the subject the less fall off there will be... but the harder the light...(this is how you get rid of hot spots). so you need to back your lights up a bit, and bounce off or shoot through something to make your lightsources seem bigger, and therfore softer.. lasty... cross your lighting.... have two equal powered lights at 45 deg angles (and up high aiming down) from each subject BUT have each light aimed at the subject furthest from the light... this way each light acts as a main light for one of your subjects, and as the fill light on the other subject...


Rick Crampton's picture
Last seen: 2 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 08/20/2009 - 1:08pm

Use spun fiberglass in place of the parchment or vellum. It's available in various densities. More powerful lights, greater diffusion, greater distance . . . . and some ingenious way to rig a " wall wash ".

Rick Crampton


Rick Crampton's picture
Last seen: 2 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 08/20/2009 - 1:08pm

The latest TV Technology magazine has an article on lighting a cyclorama with LED strip lights which you might find useful.

Rick Crampton


BruceMol's picture
Last seen: 1 day 24 min ago
Joined: 03/11/2008 - 10:35pm

Indeed! ...and thanks for adding to my vocabulary, I had to look that one up. I usually ignore words that end in 'rama.'


D0n
D0n's picture
Last seen: 3 months 1 week ago
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 5:28pm

for those who have not tried this one, here's an easy and cheap background lighting tip...
take ordinary halogern work light... bounce the light off a mirror (keep safe distance for heat) now take electrical or gaffers tape and tape lines/patterns/objects/gels onto mirror.... aim the mirror to put light on your backdrop... turns ANY wall/surface into an intersting backdrop.


composite1's picture
Last seen: 5 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

Yes, 'Tough Spun' (fiberglass diffusion) is an industry standard and is great if you can get your hands on it. Vellum is the 'poor man's tough spun'. Be advised that tough spun just like vellum will burn as well when subjected to long hours on end under hot lights. CFL's are very good, but you'll need more of them to get the equivalent wattage output as you get with tungsten bulbs. Also, off the shelf CFL's work well but aren't color balanced like pro cfl bulbs are. The also don't cost as much! When you start getting into the bigger CLF equivalent bulbs (150w and larger) you'll have to make sure your lighting fixture is properly supported. Those bulbs get pretty unwieldly and front end heavy which will cause your fixture to fall over destroying your bulbs and releasing that toxic gas and glass fragments.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


saltlakestudio's picture
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 05/28/2012 - 5:38am

I agree with Charles idea,putting a light or two on the floor in order to avoid shadows on the wall.


carlover's picture
Last seen: 2 years 2 months ago
Joined: 07/05/2012 - 7:05pm

after reading this, i learned a lots of thing... so many many thanks for this post...