6 Replies Latest reply on Sep 4, 2014 8:43 AM by reindeer4

    Questions regarding green screen home studio

    reindeer4 Level 1

      I'm in the process of having an addition put on my home.  The bottom level, contiguous with a walkout basement, is a 16' x 22' audio/video studio (the walls are brick and cinderblock so inner dimensions 14' x 21' x 8' 6" high).  Primarily, I'm going to be shooting a weekly show, likely with the Panasonic GH4 and Atomos Ninja 2 , with the camera at one end, one or two people sitting at a desk talking, and a green screen wall in the background - with keying and final production done in Adobe Master Suite CS6, with After Effects for keying..


      I'm trying to figure out what to do for lighting.  Have been planning on using 3 floor lights (side, fill, and hair) for the talent and two separate lights for the green screen,  I'm happy to follow some DIY videos and make my own soft boxes to keep costs down.


      I'm doing a de-coupled ceiling to minimize sound leakage from and to our sun-room which will sit above the studio.  Trying to minimize any intrusions into the ceiling.  Someone from the soundproofing company had mentioned LED lights, which is how I happened upon lppenergy (had never heard of the site or the company before this.  The rep I spoke to recommended four of these LED lights for the ceiling (72 Watts) - each panel is about $365.   http://lppenergy.com/led-low-bay/54-led-low-bay-apollo


      Would welcome any suggestions on lighting (both for free-standing lights and ceiling lights) weekly or more frequent hour long interviews against green screen as primary use.  Also welcome advice on camera and external recording devices.  All of this is pretty new to me.



        • 1. Re: Questions regarding green screen home studio
          Dave LaRonde Level 6

          Glad to hear that about that Ninja: you can record in 4:2:2 color resolution, which will make keying a LOT easier.  Make sure you have a lot of storage to accommodate the big file sizes dictated by a high-quality recording codec like ProRes 422.


          For ease of keying and speed in production, common green screen wisdom includes the following:

          • Make sure the background is featureless -- no wrinkles or seams on a fabric background, and no cracks or seams on a solid background.
          • Light the background  FLAT -- no hot spots or dark areas.  Use whatever instruments necessary to accomplish this.  The low ceiling is guaranteed to give you lighting fits. There's a reason why studios have high ceilings -- to accommodate lights.
          • Light subject and background separately.   Pay close attention to the lights' color temperatures -- keep them the same for every instrument, both subject and background.
          • Put a minimum of 6 feet between subject and background to minimize green spill.  More distance if you can.


          Specific to Keylight, the effect likes the background a bit on the dark side.  If the brightest part of the subject comes in at 100 IRE, the background shouldn't be above 65-75 IRE.


          It sounds like you're setting this up with just one shot in mind: a 2-shot of people at a desk.  If you plan to get other angles, you'll need a much bigger chroma key background than just a flat wall behind them.  You may need to think about a chroma key wall with curved corners to extend the wall on either side of the subjects.  I once had it out with an art director who thought a 12-foot-wide green screen was adequate to get a 120-degree arc shot on a single subject.  He insisted we do it.  The shot never saw the light of day because he couldn't do anything with it: the background behind the subject ran out.

          • 2. Re: Questions regarding green screen home studio
            Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            I checked out the LED you plan to use. The CRI is only 70. That's pretty lousy. I would look for lighting instruments with the CRI of 90 or more. CRI is critical for color correction. For example, if there's no Orange in the shot at all because there's a hole in the spectrum, you will have a very hard time naturally putting it back into the faces.


            The most important thing in all keying is to keep the green screen luminance level below the highlight value of any stray details like blonde hair. General rule, flat lighting for your talent and just enough light on the green screen to make it look green. About half the luminance value of a Caucasian face.

            • 3. Re: Questions regarding green screen home studio
              reindeer4 Level 1

              Thanks Dave and Rick -


              I'd started to reply but Firefox crashed.  Will write more later.


              But do either of you know if VideoLighting.com is a reputable site/store?

              Discussing 1000watt flourescent panels on floor stands (roughly $250 a piece) - one for Key Light, another for Fill.

              Then perhaps 2 more of those or 2 x 500 watt flourescent lights for the green screen and another for Hair Light. (think the 500 watt were between $150-200 each)


              Rep also mentioned possibility of using green bulbs to light the green screen - anyone familiar with that?  Will I have to worry about green spill if my talent is 8-10 feet from the screen?


              Would it make sense to do all the lighting from floor stands instead of overhead panels?



              • 4. Re: Questions regarding green screen home studio
                Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                You are probably not talking Fluorescent at 1000 and 500 watts. That's HUGE.


                With modern cameras, if heat is not a problem, I'd buy tungsten fixtures and deal with it. Lowell is a relatively inexpensive professional system. DIY lighting setups using tungsten bulbs are also a less expensive option. Here's a lowell kit that would probably do you just fine if you bought a couple of pieces of foam core to use as reflectors and a C stand or two. Lowel GO All Pro Kit, LB-30 Soft Case P1-93ULBZ B&H Photo Video | B&H Photo Video.


                The first rule of lighting is Key the short side of the face and keep it simple. Do you know what that means? When someone is not looking at you straight on the side of the face that exposes the ear is the long side. The side without the ear visible is the short side. If you key, put your brightest source on the short side at about a 40º angle and then just place a reflector on the other side to bounce a little back to the face from a 40º angle you'll be half way there to lighting your talent. A little back light to separate from the background, mostly from the short side, but for a different effect, from the long side and the talent is lit.


                Now a couple of tungsten work lights from Home Depot with 3200K bulbs shining on some some reflectors at the back of the set to light the green screen and you're done. The bigger the source (shine a light on a 4 X 4 piece of foam core or even some of the aluminized insulation (http://insulfoam.com/images/stories/docs/6012_RT_Insulation.pdf) board you can get at any home improvement store works great as reflectors. Shine a cheapie fixture at a 4 X 4 sheet of this and you've got the same quality of light you would get by spending thousands on a professional solution.


                LED's with a good CRI and Fluorescents are cool running but for every watt you save in heat you spend 20 to 50 dollars. DIY solutions are less expensive but it's very hard to get good color. If you must build your own Fluorescent fixtures or you buy some you have to spend the money for OSRAM Studio Line bulbs in order to get a good CRI. These are the same bulbs that Professional fixtures use. A high speed electronic ballast is required. Just dropping Studio Line bulbs in a shop lights fixture won't cut it.


                If you're really on a budget then you can experiment with LED shop lights and other options using color correction filters on the lighting units. LEE Technical Lighting Filters - Daylight, Tungsten and Fluorescent Conversion. It all costs money. Professional solutions cost more cash up front but save time, which is money, on the back end.

                • 5. Re: Questions regarding green screen home studio
                  reindeer4 Level 1

                  Sorry - I think they said 'equivalent' to 1000W or 500W of conventional lighting.


                  Thanks so much for the detailed reply - I'll check out the links you provided.


                  One other option is that someone is selling Kino Flo Foto Flo 400 Light Fixtures and tubes on Craigslist in my town for $699 (includes 8 bulbs, 4 at 5600K, 4 at 2900K).

                  Three sets are available and he'd be willing to make a better deal for all 3.


                  That's more than I was hoping to spend, but not necessarily out of the question depending on the price of 3. 


                  If that's all on the up and up, would it be a great bargain I should consider?

                  I do want to have relatively professional end results, and if it's likely I'd want to upgrade in a year, I'd probably rather just do it now.


                  If the bulbs turn on and light looks bright and the seller seems to be on the up and up, are these a reasonably safe item to get second hand?  Anything in particular I'd want to check?


                  I think this model has been discontinued - am I better off looking at newer stuff, perhaps not brand name.


                  Thanks for any suggestions on these.

                  • 6. Re: Questions regarding green screen home studio
                    reindeer4 Level 1

                    Any thoughts on the used Kino Foto Flo 400 lights for roughly $700 each.


                    Also spoke with a rep from B&H who suggested:

                    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/537464-REG/Impact_VA902_2KI_VA902_Fluorescent_Cool_L ight.html

                    to light the greenscreen,

                    and for the talent, either



                    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=gesps500bq&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma&Top+Nav-S earch=


                    Also waiting to hear back frm someone at VideoLighting.com (anyone know if they're reputable?)

                    They suggested some LED panels with CRI 95 or so.


                    Finally, I need a few simple lights just for walking around in the studio or doing other work in there.  These could be shut during filming if they'd interfere with the 5600K lights.

                    Was thinking about having these mounted on the walls so I wouldn't have to violate the sound proofing of the ceiling at all (plus hard to mount on ceiling since suspended on clips and not directly abutting the joists).

                    May just get some cheap LED lights from Home Depot or Lowes for these.


                    Also, any suggestions regarding how I have this room wired up by the electrician?

                    I know some lighting requires a lot of power; though I'm hoping to go with fluorescent or LED which avoid that problem I believe,


                    Not sure what the future holds and much easier to wire in extra now.


                    Didn't know if I should have him wire three separate 20amp circuits into the studio?  Any point in higher than 20 on a given circuit?  Does that sound sufficient?  Will have 1 camera initially, possible a second in the future (or an additional consumer grade camcorder to start); lights; a monitor on the wall; possibly a computer though I think I'd have that off during shoots to minimize noise.


                    Electrician is coming on Monday, so I need to have things sorted out by then.  Appreciate any suggestions or point I may wish to consider.  Thanks.