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VM March 2008 issue has an article on this topic … here’s an excerpt:
“When you set your lights up, place them 60 degrees above your subject and make sure that no light spills on the background. This is called cameo lighting. Close the iris on your camera, so that the skin tones on your talent’s face are natural. Use an extra monitor to check your shot. You should end up with a well-lit face and nothing in the background but black. Even in a white walled room! To your eye, the room will seem bright, but, to the camera set to the right exposure for your talent’s skin tones, the background will disappear! Ahhh, the power of the f-stop.”
The two key pointshere are the f-stop setting and to make sure you are able to keep light from spilling onto the background – I use barn doors and have even set up pieces of cardboard, etc. for other erroneous lights sources that may be spilling.
I have used this technique with great results – and you do not need a background to pull this off. However, I do have the luxury of having ablack muslin – which I use – and itensures my background will be totally black. You don’t need the muslin for this to work …