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3. Lighting & Layout

Lighting is from 1800 watts of fluorescent tubes and CFLs of high color temperature (6500K). Below is the overall layout of my studio, showing the fluorescent wattages I am using. The key and fill lights are positioned far enough to the left and right so that their reflection in the glass board is not visible to the camera.

In retrospect, I bought more lighting than necessary. More recently I've turned off half the tubes in the key and fill fixtures.The 4x45W lights on the sides may not be needed at all.

Below is what it looks like when sitting on the floor in front of the videocamera, looking toward the lightboard.

The backlight is mounted flat against the back wall. The videocamera can't see the backlight, but you can see it in the picture below, because I took the picture from floor level.

Below you can also see left and right sidelights on the presenter's side of the glass, each four 45W CFLs in a reflective hood.

Below is the videocamera's view, although I've zoomed way out so you can see the whole room. The curtain above the lightboard blocks almost all of the light from the back lights.

The photo below is taken while standing behind the lightboard, where the presenter stands. You can see the fill and key lights hanging to the left and right. On the right I have eight 54W tubes (key light) shining through the glass at me. On the left I have four 54W tubes (fill light) shining through the glass. The key and fill lights are positioned far enough to the sides that their reflection in the glass is not visible to the videocamera.

Behind and above me I put eight 95W tubes, mounted flush against the wall, and a mylar reflector sticking out perpendicular to the wall, just above them (photo below.) This provides backlight without spill onto the black backdrop. The backdrop is black muslin. Look carefully at the photo which is confusing because of the reflection in the mylar. The fluorescent fixture is mounted flush to the wall.

Front lights + back lights = good video image.

The back light contributes edge definition against the black background. The image of me on the left below shows what the camera sees if I am illuminated only by the front lights. I look "flat" and not clearly delineated from the black background. The backlight adds highlights on my periphery as shown in the middle image. Combining the two gives a more live or dimensional appearance, as shown in the right image.

We also have a well lit table and overhead videocamera (Canon HD M50) for closeup and macro work.

Michael Peshkin,
Feb 11, 2014, 12:46 PM