I believe that what he meant was, if you shoot in 3200K and white balance properly, then change to 5500K and white balance properly again, the two images should be identical.
Your job is to tell the camera what color the light is, or set it to auto and let it figure it out for itself. I prefer to tell the camera only after I see the auto it came up with. The problem is that cameras can easily become confused in mixed lighting.
It really should not matter what color your light is (within reason) if your camera is good at adjusting for the color of the light.
So, why does the color of the light matter? It matters when you are mixing any combination of practicals (on set lamps, etc), studio lights, and natural light. You want to make sure that all of your light is the same color whenever possible. Professionals use gels to accomplish this task when they must.
If there is the slightest chance that you are going to take your lights outside, then daylight balanced lamps make the most sense. That is why almost everything out there is set that way.
Having said all of that, there are times to break the rules. Just be sure you know which rules you are breaking and have a valid reason to do so.
Ah, so on my Panasonic HVX-200p, if I set the color temperature to 3200K using only 5500K lamps and then white balance, I'll get 3200K "studio color", correct?
Also, if I let the camera auto-detect the color with only 5500K lamps, it should register 5500K, right?
Finally, what about when it comes to lighting the green screen with 5500K lamps? Do I wait until I light the subject as well, set my color temp on the camera, and then white balance?
Much appreciated, Steven.
if I set the color temperature to 3200K using only 5500K lamps and then white balance, I'll get 3200K "studio color", correct?
No, you'll get colors that are too red. If you use 5500K lights, then you need to set the white balance to 5500K.
Personally, I'd rather just avoid the problem and buy lights that are properly indoor balanced.
Even if your lights are properly balance you still need to manually white balance for every shoot.
I won't argue with that.
Thanks, Jim. I agree, but now I'm confused again.
As Steven corroborated, most of what's out there is in the 5100K+ range, and they appear to be cheaper than indoor balanced lamps.
So I guess I'm still not sure how to get an indoor color with outdoor lamps by white balancing (going back to my pro friends statement).
Ann: Right. I always do that. Thx.
I'm still not sure how to get an indoor color with outdoor lamps
You don't. You're not looking to get an 'indoor color', you're only looking to get a proper white balance. If all of your lighting is 5500K and you white balance to that, colors will look right.
But there are plenty of lights out there that are indoor balanced. The preponderance of outdoor balance primarily applies to LED lighting. (Not sure why though, since 3200K has been the standard for a very long time and 99% of the time you need a light, you're indoors.)
In other words,
If all of your lighting is 5500K and you white balance to that, colors will look right.
but they will look bright, like outdoors, right? If not, why not?
Very grateful for you jumping in here repeatedly.
but they will look bright, like outdoors, right?
Not at all. They will just look correct. Brightness is a function of exposure, not white balance.
Okay. Thanks, Jim. Now it's starting to make sense.
However, if you put a subject next to a window with natural light coming thru, I'm guessing you probably want to use outdoor balanced lighting indoors as well. So then, in this case, if brightness is a function of exposure, the white balance "evaluates" the shot and balances accordingly.
Did I get it?
Everything Jim has told you is %100 spot on, the fundemental is that white balance is just color temperature.
When setting white balance, or auto setting, you are telling the camera exactly what the "true" white color is, then it will adjust and all colours within the spectrum will be correct. The best way to use the auto function is to get a subject to hold a clean piece of white paper in the position that you will be shooting the subject under the lights and adjust the white balance from that, You will get a much more accurate colour this way.
The temperature of studio to outdoor lights should not really effect you too much from what you are trying to achieve so do what is more cost effective for yourself, a mid range 3000-3400 will be the most versatile . Just make sure to adjust the white balance in the way i mentioned, or manually to the temp of the lights and you'll be fine.
This should help you a little with the visualization, if you want to achieve a more natural daylight look, you adjust to have a "bluer" image, indoors traditionally (before led's & halogens) is much more orange.
And yes, if you had a subject next to a window i would be going for a outdoor 5000+ lighting, or even just using light blue jels over your lights to achieve closer to that temp.
Hope this helps
Oh one more thing to be mindfull off, fluro's have a tendancy to flicker quite a bit, especially at higher frame rates, I personally avoid them totally if possible , led's are cheap now and can provide the same temp's without the terrible pulsing that fluro's can.
you are telling the camera exactly what the "true" white color is, then it will adjust and all colours within the spectrum will be correct.
Excellent explanation, Troy. Thank you.
However, in the US, can you direct me to where LED's are cheap? I need 3-point subject lighting and separate green screen lighting.
P.S. One thing I have been doing correctly is using a white card and doing a manual white balance every time. That helped this amatuer considerably, even with fluorescents as 720p/60 fps. If I can't get me hands on LED's, I'll drop it down to 30fps.
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Your welcome Paul.
I probably should have said cheaper , i looked at the example you had above and those a very cheap lights, led's for 3 point do start to rack up the $$ quick.
Here are some LED's
or if you are in that below $500 range, these would be much better than the ones you posted above.
I actually have a few similar soft boxes but a little more powerful and they are really versatile, they light can be quite bright but still nice and soft for indoor\studio use.
I don't know what sort of budget your working on, it could always pay off to have a look around for some second hand redheads and cheap jels too for keying, I usually use 4-5 points for green keying.
You're going above and beyond the call of duty—this is great.
I've made up my mind. I've got to get real equipment. I'm losing days and my mind because of this.
We're a non-profit, so I'm going to ask donors for money to get a kit(s) for both subject and green screen.
I don't know what they'll give, but for what I want, do your 3 links cover all the lights I should consider? There are just soooo many.
I'm attaching my green (wall) screen. The viewing area is +/- 5 feet x 5 feet, although shooting in 16:9.
Don't laugh too hard.
Extremely appreciative of your expertise and guidance.
Glad to see you are getting good advice. These folks know their stuff.
Looking at that green screen it looks badly lit, even though you have all of those lights. I believe that if you used a diffusion material in front of the lights, to soften and spread the light around, it would have less hot spots and be easier to key, with fewer lights. The scoops (the metal shell around the lights) are there to help focus the light. You need to counter than by making it as soft as you can, but still bright.
By now you know why I said that if you take your lights outside, you want daylight balanced lamps. Or, shooting by a window.
Keep in mind that when you shoot in front of a green screen, you will want to aim the key and fill lights in such a way as to mimic the light on the background you are going to key into. Make sure you can put your key and fill up high, down low, on the right, on the left, etc.
Other than a badly lit screen, the easiest way to mess up is to have one kind of lighting on the background, and another on the subject. The exercise is to fool the viewer's eyes, and even though the viewer may not know what is wrong exactly, they will know that something is off and will not be inclined to believe the image you created.
Actually, those lights are diffused, and I've tried every conceivable number and combination of them. I just haven't adjusted them in this pic; hence, the really bad hotspots.
Also, I moved them in too close, only about 2-1/2 feet from the wall, in an attempt to move the subject a little closer to the wall to expand the field of view. Obviously, it didn't turn out very well.
I've had very good success with keying it in AE in the past. Kinda lucked into that with key and fill lights matching directionally. Once I get a soft & bright, evenly lit background, I'll be in business.
There are other issues, of course. For example, notice the white walls. That = reflection.
I'm just fed up with the hours and even days of trying to make hardware store stuff work when I could be taking maybe an hour and be ready to roll. Got a ways to go to get more professional with the equipment, but I'm on my way, thanks to you and the generous contributions of the others in this thread.
Thanks for weighing in again.
I am about to outfit my new garage with the same deal. I hope to mount some lights on arms that can swing out from the wall, and more lights up above, to include one that I can use for a hair light. Another to light the back of the subject to separate it from the wall and to reduce spill.
I intend almost all of these to be in softboxes.
That just leaves me with a Key light and a Fill light on light stands. Hopefully in soft boxes.
The rest of the lights stay put. If the arms work out right.
I am going to have a few 2 inch by 4 foot by 8 foot foam boards mounted to stand straight up using two by fours. One side white to act as a reflector, and the other side painted black to block some of that reflected light from the walls. I am not inclined to paint the garage black, even if it would be a better greenscreen studio that way. But black fabric hanging from the ceiling like shower curtains may save the day.
I will be picking up a couple (at least) of those white/silver/gold/diffuser reflector setups that fold up small. Great for portraits.
I have always wondered if it would be possible to light a greenscreen from behind to get a soft glow, and kill the spill with backlights. That sure would make it easier to light, wouldn't it?
As it is, I am picturing lights from the top and both sides in softboxes, but with flags to keep the light off of the subject and keep it only on the screen. If the flags are actually made out of wood, and painted flat black, I could possibly mount the backlights to the flags. Maybe. We'll see.
I am not sure what will work and won't work, but I figure I have to try this stuff out once we close on the house. I have four nieces coming for Thanksgiving and I want to be ready to make them work for their supper by posing for me while their aunt cooks their favorite dishes.
One of them is starting film school in the Fall, so at least she ought to be willing.
A trap that many fall into is ....overlighting a green screen (and especially in small studios.)
2 stops under the subject key exposure is a general good working practice.
BUT...different screens (and chroma colors) have different reflectance.
eg.Digital Green reflects 2 stops+ ..more light than chroma green.
Blue chroma reflects more light than Chroma greenand less than Digital green
The camera waveform is the most ideal way to see where the screen is exposing in relation to the subject.
The line should be thin and horizontal and 20%ish below the subject (grayscale).
Using light meters gets a little more tricky and one can use both spot meter ands incident meters in combination. (Its important to read reflectance off the screen and relate that to subject exposure)
Lighting a BG (screen) is basically a copy lighting set up. Lights at 45 degrees from the sides.
If using point sources...pull them way back so the "light spread"... evens out. A little diffusion on lights as in the grab does not do much. Source remains small.(unspread)
A proper reflector has better spread and dispersion qualitys than hardware store units.
Flat even lighting is essential to pulling a decent key.
Proper distance of subject from screen is essential. Further away the better.
LEDs are not the way to light Chroma Screens (orf anything else in my opinion). Be careful with them.
That gets me to thinking.
If I pointed strong lights at a large reflector, such as the 4 foot by 8 foot white foam boards I discussed above. one board on each side of the screen and well out of the shot, I wonder if instead of lighting the screen, I lit the reflectors instead, would that make for a better greenscreen lighting technique?
Hmm. The angle of the light and the board might be difficult. I think it is something worth playing with. It might mean two or four really strong lights instead of a lot of smaller lights trying to even out the light through a diffuser. Hmmm. I already have those kinds of lights and I will be mounting the big white boards anyway, so it won't cost anything to play with the idea.
I will report back on the idea in a few weeks.
Absolutely..Yes ..that can be done and I have done so myself. Including ceiling bounce.
I just thought of something else.
The color of the light on the greenscreen doesn't really have to match the color of the light on the subject, does it? If the green is a little off, it will still key out.
Hmmm. So maybe cheap worklights to light the screen, and decent lights for the talent. Although having all decent lights would be better, I might be able to reuse those worklights even after getting properly balanced lighting.
Balance lights properly because you want the screen to be a pure key color. ie no other color , hue or cast.
Your layout look nice and neat, I'd say your main trouble is the lights your using are far to directional or spots. If you examine the green screen there are light spots and the dark spots and varied gradients in between. You really want a nice clean matte colour for keying. I think you need stronger lights, and also you want a backing light, or two, behind the subject. This separates the subject from the background and makes keying easier also.
Bouncing those lights would spread and diffuse a bit and help with the spots, but it will decrease brightness also.
Ill take a look further when I get home
Sent from my iPhone
I don't know about you, but I'm out of the work lamp and mounting business. Been working with them for 3 years and the headaches the accompany them are simply not worth it anymore.
They use cheap clamps, and they slide and are easily moved by brushing up against them or sometimes even if something close to them or attached to them is moved. If you put work lamps on arms from the wall, especially if there is more than one lamp per arm, adjusting one will inevitably throw off any others. So it's constant frustration with readjusting. I forced back to the waveform using OnLocation CS4 in an attempt to get that tight, thin horizontal line.
Then there's the issue of placement. Subject is standing, sometimes sitting--on a chair--on a stool. Interview format means readjusting the lights to the other guy sitting at the opposite angle (if using one camera and shooting the two subjects separately), etc., etc.
All this just means lost hours and even days--at least it has for me. The ability to have real background lights and 3-point lighting on stands (all with softboxes or otherwise sufficiently diffused) quickly and easily reposition them, knowing I don't have to mess around with making homemade flags and snoots using Black Foil or some other impractical contraption, even bounce cards, are just another way of not doing it right (although, bounce is certainly a legitimate and commonly used technique). Plus, I can go on location with real lights and set up quickly and easily.
And the list goes on . . . for every project or even scene change. Blues, despair, anguish. Ugh!
Those fold-up-small reflectors are cool. My friend has them. He likes them a lot.
Thanks for joining the conversation.
- overlighting a green screen ✔ I am aware of that and am going for the Flat even lighting you mention. Had it only once before with the work lamps, but those days are over.
- If using point sources...pull them way back ✔ That's what is frustrating me now. I moved them back so I could move the subject back in order to gain a higher field of view. Not sure if my HVX-200p can do something to compensate for that. But yeah, they're too close and last time, when I had them way back and it worked quite well in the key, I didn't even have them diffused.
- What if I'm using lighting: like these? Do you think 4-point lighting of the green screen would be best? If so, how does this affect your statement that 2 stops under the subject key exposure is recommended?
- Proper distance of subject from screen is essential. ✔ Right. See #3. I had 5-6 feet previously and that keyed well.
- LEDs are not the way to light Chroma Screens (or anything else in my opinion). ✔ LED's are off the list.
- there are light spots and the dark spots ✔ I know. I don't have them positioned yet, but even if I did, they are too close and don't disperse sufficiently.
- I think you need stronger lights ✔ Investigating now which real lights to buy.
- you want a backing light, or two, behind the subject. ✔Always do that.
- So far, I'm liking the lights in this link, mostly for the brightness and softness I'm after, for both the subject (3-point) and green screen. However, I'm still open to further suggestions.
Sincere thanks to everyone. This has been a great thread.
What if I'm using lighting: like these? Do you think 4-point lighting of the green screen would be best? If so, how does this affect your statement that 2 stops under the subject key exposure is recommended?
Those would do the task fine I suspect. Minor issue is you are stuck in a daylight color temp because of the lamp units. That means your subject light units need to be daylight as well.
That exposure recommendation doesnt change. Its the fundamental "right way" because it minimises bounce and it maximises chroma content.
Just info FWIW:
I use 4 foot Kino flos to light my chroma screen (a cloth Chroma Green - not Digital green).
4 foot Kinos have 3 fluro tubes in each unit.
I can use daylight or tungsten tubes in these and I have the added versatilty of using Green Fluoro tubes. These are high out put very efficient green tubes designed for chroma green work. A twelve x foot (vertical bg) can be lit with 2 kinos with only 2 green tubes in each.
Really nice Kino's, shooternz. I'm going to dream about those tonight.
I have to get subject lamps, too (for a good laugh, see my homemade keylight photo below and you'll know why). So, I'll likely get 3-4 for the background and 3 for the subject, all with the same color temp, which I now understand isn't a concern that they are all daylight temp if I white balance, as I always do.
Thanks so much for helping guys like me. Why guys like you do that in this forum is truly a blessling.
You do realize that those are in a completely different price range, right?
Trying to get the green screen lit properly is a challenge, which is why I am hoping I can bounce light them. Trying to justify a light set that costs a half of a month's takehome pay is just not going to work. I can slip almost anything past my wife for a few hundred dollars here, and a few hundred there. But I have to be careful not to wear out my methods.
Also, bouncing the light might make it easier to get closer to the screen and therefore allow the talent a little more room to stand before the camera is too close.
I have solved the problem with clamp lights by buying a large supply of relatively large clamps similar to these but purchased for a lot less money at Harbor Freight Tools. In fact, I have so many of these I don't think I will ever need any more than I already have. Ever. I have enough smaller ones to put them every 3 inches along a stand to grip the greenscreen if need be, and large ones to hold gobos of all types and shapes and sizes. But still, I would rather ditch the worklights if possible. To keep a clamp light in place, grip it from the other side of the pole with one or two clamps. It is also solving my issue with the screen I put in front of my Rode Podcaster microphone. Says in place perfectly now.
I have been assuming that I will be setting up using a total of 20 feet across the garage. If the screen is a few inches from the wall, and the camera is 3 feet from the far wall, if I put the subject six feet or so from the screen, and that is still pretty close, I will be OK for head shots but I will have trouble with full length shots unless I use a pretty wide angle lens. Which means I should probably put the screen up against the closest wall to the house (actually hanging in front of what will be the laundry area) and back the camera all the up and out into the driveway when I need to Then I can put the talent 10 feet from the screen, solve my spill problems, and still use the longer focal length that I prefer for portraits. There are a lot of people in the world with sharp, angular faces, and long noses, that benefit from a long focal length.
To do this I may need to get one of those portable tent structures to keep the camera in the shade, and out of the weather. Although we all know it never rains in California, right? I can just see the neighbor kids watching me shoot and looking at the HDMI connected monitor that I will be using to check focus, pointing and laughing.
Fortunately, the sun will never shine into the garage. It just faces the wrong way for that. All sun is on the back and side of the house, never the North facing front of the house.
As I was driving today and saw some of the job search billboard ads, I wondered if there was a market in shooting LinkedIn headshots, or professional looking Facebook pictures to help job seekers. Keep it reasonably inexpensive and make it up on quantity?
I could offer the first 100 for free to get the practice I need and to acquire a portfolio. I'll bet that I could find some Pro Bono clients at a job fair. Hmmm. Maybe I should make sure my lighting setup is portable after all. I don't want jobless people to see my setup at home! Not unless I have a pretty decent alarm system that is obvious even to the casual observer.
You do realize that those are in a completely different price range, right?
I did realise that and only pointed them out to Paul as an example of what really works well at all levels including versatility and flexibilty.
I think Paul may be working towards having a budget though and thats the area he could look into.
As for yourself..I understand ...but do wonder why one would focus "attention and effort" into something a little limited in scope or kind of task specific... like chroma key work / shooting.
A great set of lights can do everything.
Looking forward to the results.
AMEN!, shooternz. That's exactly my point and objective. Unfortunately, had to learn the hard way.
Another way to light small bgs in tiny spaces as you and Steven are wanting to do is by use of cyc lights or mini broad lights.
These are small open face bins with a special reflector (not parabolic).Usually they have a tungsten tube inthem (3200k).
They are usually suspended on a lighting bar from the top of the BG and spread across ways.
Two would easily cover your BG Paul .
The reflector in these is cleverly designed so the light falls down evenly from top to bottom.
Then ..bonus...you also have a lighting bar in exactly the right place to rig/hang a top backlight.
These lights can be cheap-ish and often found in theatrical lighting "supplies".
Scroll down to the small units
Then spend money on decent lights for subjects.
Just an idea for you both.
Then spend money on decent lights for subjects.
That was what I was thinking. Go cheap to light the screen and go mid range to light the subject. I would love to shoot headshots with four Kinoflos (2 X 4 foot and 2 X 2 foot) like Peter Hurley but the price for a hobbyist is prohibitive, and if I was going to go pro it would mean a real studio space, not a garage, and that would change things as well, because it would be tax deductible and I would really go all out to get business.
So, a three light kit and extra lights for the screen is where I will start. I may just go for it and rent the lights for a weekend to see if they are what I want. It isn't cheap but in the long run should pay for itself by saving me from getting the wrong thing.
I live close enough to the BorrowLenses main facility that I don't have to worry about shipping issues.
Their light kits are fairly extensive. For example, there are these that I am sure Craig would not approve of, and maybe three of these which I can't justify the price of. But there might be something in the middle like these.
I think that $1500 might be as far as I can stretch without pushing things too far. Of course, for light stands and other misc stuff there are the constant flea markets in this area that have some old, heavy stuff. Which, for the "studio" would be fine.
Like I said, something in the middle.
Thanks for the confirmation Craig.
Have you seen these?
I have a friend locally who uses two of them to light his [usually white] BG. He says they are soft and even, and they come with barn doors.
shooternz, not sure which ones are the "smaller" ones in your link. Would those be the "borderlights"? This is interesting because if the lights falls down evenly from top to bottom, I'm very interested. This is very cool. How close to the wall should they be?
I did notice, however, that they do not come with bulbs and some don't even come with power cords.
I don't see a way to sort the lights on the site. Maybe you can point out a couple if that won't consume too much of your time?
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Here ya go.
Read the descriptions
They usually have a diagram as to mounting positions away form the wall.
Its closer than you might think possible.