1 Reply Latest reply on Mar 30, 2015 5:15 PM by Dave LaRonde

    "Decent" Amount of Light Greenscreen Stage?

    Marc Trzepla

      Work put in a new greenscreen stage and I think the lighting could be better. Fully cranked to 11, the lights mean I'm stuck at the widest aperture and a fairly low shutter speed resulting in lots of motion blur, and the grain isn't something to write home about either.  I'm tired of spending more time fixing lackluster, grainy, underexposed, smeary footage than creating the shot.


      Full disclosure - I have no training in photography other than my gut and "that looks like it turned out right..."


      I know different needs and variables such as desired frame rates, shutter speeds, f-stops and ISOs can turn up a thousand different answers, but can anyone suggest an "amount" of light on a greenscreen stage?  For example, my gut says a single 60 watt bulb is not a good amount of light.


      So when a photographer sticks a light meter into a scene measuring, what - candelas? lux? something? - what number are they looking for?   I know light meters are more about, "this is the light you gave me and here's my suggestion on what to set your camera to.." but wondered if some other zero-to-a-million number comes out too.


      I'm old enough to have books from ILM showing the making of films from before digital compositing and read about having so much light that the models needed internal cooling.   Sure, that was before LEDs and yeah they need small apertures to simulate size on scale models, but still - they had an abundance of light with room to spare.


      I'd like to get a light meter, return to the dept. that put the room together and say, look - it should be around "here" and instead it's "here".   Objective values.


      Sorry for my lack of knowledge.  Thank you to anyone who has set up their own in-house green screen stage and can offer a word or two of advice.


      Thank you,



        • 1. Re: "Decent" Amount of Light Greenscreen Stage?
          Dave LaRonde Level 6

          With a light meter, think foot candles.

          With lighting for chroma key, think about the ratio of light on the subject as opposed to the amount of light falling on the chroma key background.  If the subject is properly lit, the amount of light on the background should be about 70-75% of that falling on the subject.


          So how do you control that?  You light subject and background separately.    This means a good deal of separation between subject and background.  Flat lighting on the background is de rigeur.


          It also sounds like you need a much better light kit.