overexposed faces

Anonymous (not verified)

I have shot our first inhouse corporate video and the faces are way overexposed. There is not enough detail in the image to color correct it properly, plus with the amount of videos we need to produce in such a short period of time, I'd like to minimize the amount of color correction we have to do in post. So, how should I be lighting the subjects to avoid overexposed faces? I have 4 lights, and can put up to a max of 500 watt bulbs on two of them, and a max of 150 watts on the other 2. Our studio is 12 ft wide and I have the lights as far as they can go on either side of the subject against the wall.

EarlC's picture
Last seen: 4 years 2 days ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am

Avoid strong back light or reflective (white) background.

Use the same temperature lights in all fixtures and manually white balance to minimize color correction in post.

Use the settings on your camera to brighten, or darken ... iris, aperture, shutter speed, exposure settings.

If you "know" 3-point, 4-point lighting then wattage, distance and angle should be included in that knowledge. However, to avoid shadows, hair light, rim light, framing light should be high and 45 degrees angle to avoid Frankenstein shadows. Diffusion should be used to soften lights.

When the apparent lighting is even and smooth, or diffused the way your eyes tell you is acceptable for what you want to achieve, then use camera settings, white balance and a monitor to fine-adjust for recording.

I've used 500 watts or less in 3 or 4 units, and I've used 1,800 watts with my NRG stage lighting 3-light system and using diffusion, bounce and other techniques have successfully achieved the effect I desire by visually (eyeballing) adjusting for even lighting, flat lighting, spotlighting or whatever. If what you see "looks" right to your eyes, then the rest can be obtained with camera settings.

If hot spots on the subjects faces is noticeable to your naked eye, and/or your production monitor, then THAT light needs diffusion, distance, less wattage in order to balance with the other lighting.

Chuck Peters's picture
Last seen: 3 years 10 months ago
Joined: 05/12/2011 - 7:06pm
Plus Member

Lighting for video is more of an art than a science, so wattages and positions by the numbers alone can't make your video look good. -- I've lit high end productions with halogen work lamps and 2k softboxes... ultimately if you position your lights artistically, no one will know the difference.Remember, your camera sees the world differently than your eye does, so something could look great in person and bad in the edit suite.The best way to make sure you're going to have good results is to use an external monitor on the setshowing the output of your camera as you light. Even a simple TV will work fine for this. Although you don't want to shoot with your camera in "auto" mode, it's fine to switch it to auto for a moment so it can adjust the exposure for you, then switch back to manual so it doesn't shift as you shoot. Another good rule to lice by is to always expose for the face! No one will care if your background is blown out, but faces have to come first. -- Once you've got that monitor hooked up, trust it! If it looks good there, it will look good everywhere else. -- Hope this helps!


Chuck Peters's picture
Last seen: 3 years 10 months ago
Joined: 05/12/2011 - 7:06pm
Plus Member

Hey Bruce! Wassup man? I didn't know you were active here at VM. Cool bumping into you. :)

birdcat's picture
Last seen: 5 years 7 months ago
Joined: 10/21/2005 - 10:09am


Wassup? All sorts of stuff - I'll send off a PM.

Ladies & Gent's - May I introduce to the very talented Chuck Peters - He did a whole slew of stuff for Digital Juice including some of the best video training I have ever seen (arguably #1) "Field Of View", still available free on DJ's website: http://www.digitaljuice.com/djtv/default.aspx#sb=0&fl=2.331.

I have learned more about video in general from watching these (I have them on DVD) than any other source. Chuck makes me say "why didn't I think of that?" every time I watch and presents all this in easy to understand (I need that) ways.

Plus he's a really cool guy!

Glad to see you here!

Bruce Paul 7Squared Productions http://www.7squared.com

Chuck Peters's picture
Last seen: 3 years 10 months ago
Joined: 05/12/2011 - 7:06pm
Plus Member

Thanks Bruce. =) If anyone is interested, I have direct links to Field of View (and other work I've done) on my personal website at www.chuck-peters.com -- For lighting, I recommend Field of view Episode 9, and Take 5 Episode 5. -- Did you know that I worked at VM for 7 years before going to DJ? So, I have a great fondness for Videomaker and I'm thrilled to find such an active community here at Videomaker.com. FWIW, if you look close you can find me (with hair) along with Perry, and Eric, in many of VM's early training videos. =)

grinner's picture
Last seen: 8 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 12/29/2007 - 2:56am

your lighting is not what over exposes images... your iris and gain is.

Charles Schultz's picture
Last seen: 4 years 12 months ago
Joined: 10/25/2010 - 10:38pm

Chuck, I went to your site and when I clicked to watch Field of View it was not there. All that shows up it the dreaded 404 Error.

Chuck Peters's picture
Last seen: 3 years 10 months ago
Joined: 05/12/2011 - 7:06pm
Plus Member

It's working now Charles! Thanks for the 411 on the 404! =)
The direct link to the lighting episode of FOV is here:http://www.digitaljuice.com/djtv/detail.aspx?sid=125


vid-e-o-man's picture
Last seen: 1 month 2 weeks ago
Joined: 02/06/2010 - 4:20am
Plus Member

I second the vote for the video training on DJ's site (especially Chuck's entries).The archived stuff about basic video techniques isworth searching through and watching for refresher or new ideas. I've watched almost all of the non-product oriented tutorials.

iamnathanleejohnson's picture
Last seen: 4 years 1 month ago
Joined: 12/07/2011 - 8:46pm

To the OP, not the hijackers :)...

Never underestimate the power of some good translucent powder make-up. Cures most shiny faces! Get a few shades just in case.

Using your camera's "zebra stripes" function will alert you to the blown-out areas before you shoot.