Today we’re in Brisbane, CA with a lighting intervention for musician, actor and The Slanted Lens subscriber Jeff Taylor. I met Jeff when he auditioned for a shoot we were doing for Jay P. Morgan Pictures. He confessed he could use a little lighting help for the music videos he was producing, and I agreed to help him.
Jeff is a one man band and production crew. He stands in front of a green screen and records himself playing along with the track of a band. He uses two or three fairly inexpensive lights. They have old fashioned fluorescent bulbs which are cost effective. The softboxes have a silver lining, which creates a greater output but is also harder than a softbox with a white interior. He uses three high-definition cameras to record his videos. He’s wondering if he is using the correct number of lights and how best he should light the green screen.
To help Jeff out we first needed to get rid of anything that was not the same color balance as his lights, so we turned off anything that was not those three lights. I let him know he needed at least three lights, maybe even four. He needs one light each on the left and right sides, and a key light, which, when positioned correctly, will throw light on him and spill around onto the middle of the green screen as well. I encouraged Jeff to change out his red curtain for a black one in order to not throw a red cast onto him, and to help keep the light from reflecting off of it.
Jeff spends a lot of time in trial and error, trying to find where best to put place his cameras when he’s shooting. I encouraged him to invest in some quality tripods, like the Vanguards we use to enable him to get the cameras up high enough. He marks where he stands with a piece of tape, like we talked about in our 50 Ways to Use Gaff Tape. He tweaks the cameras as needed. Using the three cameras gives him variety in his video. I encouraged him to vary the height of the cameras to add even more. He was concerned about getting more than the green screen in frame, and I explained that he can simply back the cameras up and zoom in to overcome that.
We went over some different positions for his lights. I had him bring his key light up and tilt it down in order to give some different values to the lighting on his face. We turned his two side lights so that they were lighting his green screen background better. Lighting is a calculation of the distance of the light from the object being lit, in this case the background. To get the backdrop evenly lit we needed to put the lights at an equal distance away from it.
I told Jeff that he should add a reflector in addition to the lights. It will help to bounce back light and fill in where he needs it. Jeff realized that he should add two more lights in order to get the light more even on the background.
We talked about custom white balancing his footage. I walked him through how to do that on his camera. It’s important to do when you have different light temperatures. Jeff also wanted to add movement to his videos. I let him know there are several different options to add in a parallax move.
Jeff learned a lot about proper exposure and camera placement during our lighting intervention. I’m glad we were able to come help him out and get take his videos to the next level. If you’d like to be considered for a lighting intervention please email Judy at firstname.lastname@example.org. You must live in the greater Los Angeles area to be considered.
Thanks for watching, keep those cameras rollin’ and keep on clickin’.