First time in a studio – how do I light it properly?

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    • #69015
      Hi everyone,
      I'm filming for the first time in a studio for a few corporate talking heads videos, and I'm after some advice on how to light it properly.
      We have 3 x 800W Tungsten Redhead lights (3200 Kelvin) that we are going to use in a 3-point setup (as key, fill and back lights). The studio does not have a ceiling lighting rig, so the lights will be on floor stands. Is there anything special I need to know about how to light it properly? Anything different I should do compared to when I'm filming in any other normal room? The studio will have an "infinity" white backdrop. Here's a photo of it. Another quick question – I assume it's really bad practice to "mix" colour temperatures from different lights? In other words, I assume I should turn off all other studio lights when filming, and only have the 3 Redhead lights turned on? So the "stage" will be lit up but the rest of the studio will be dark? So then I can just dial in the white balance on the camera as 3200K, and it will then be balanced correctly for the Redhead lights? Sorry if that sounds like a stupid question…
      I hope someone can help.
      Many thanks,
    • #208300

      One of the best articles on lighting interviews I've ever read is at

      Pay attention ot what Bill says about the background as plain white gets boring very quickly, especially of it's a long interview.

      Your assumption about 3200K is correct. I always leavemy camera set to the 3200 preset for things like this as all my lights are this temp.



    • #208306
      AvatarDaniel Bruns

      Hi puremotion,


      When it comes to lighting a white "infinite" background style talking head, I usually forego the backlight entirely since it tends to make the outer edge of your subject appear to blend in with the background. This gives the edge of your subject a "soft" or glowing effect that is best avoided. However, if the backlight is dim enough, you may be able to still get away with giving your subject a bit of light on the shoulders and hair. The best tip is to try it first and see what you think. You never know what you're missing until you've given it a shot.


      Also, if you're doing a full body shot, I would definitely light your subject with a soft-box or heavily diffused lights (through a scrim or bounced off of a white object). This way you won't see any noticeable shadows at your subject's feet or a background shadow from their body, allowing you to fool the audience into thinking that it's a true "infinite" white background πŸ™‚


      Hopefully that helps a bit! I'm sure others will have plenty of great tips as well!


      Dan Bruns

    • #208311

      Yes, keep all lights at the same color temp; ie, if the practical lighting in the studio space is ( most likely ) fluroescent, turn them off when shooting . . . .  OR gel your Redheads so that they more closely resemble the color temp of the practical lights. Frankly, I'd prefer to use 4×4 softboxes with CFL head and shoulder kickers in cheap aluminum, clip-on reflector fixtures.

    • #208314

      If at all possible, do some experimenting before the talent arrives to get it dialed in to how you like it. Maybe get a few friends or family as stand-ins.


      It will make you look way more professional if all the talent has to do is come in, sit down, mic up and start shooting. I hate killing a half hour or more getting the light just right while cast and crew sits around twiddling their thumbs.

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