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Inexpensive Kit for Talking Heads


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#1 Will Montgomery

Will Montgomery
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Posted 08 January 2010 - 03:39 PM

Looking for an basic a 2 or 3 light kit, possibly florescent, for lighting talking heads on white or green screen background. Should be easily portable. Would like to have the option of daylight or tungsten but not a deal breaker.

Any good values out there for under $1000?
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#2 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 04:31 PM

Looking for an basic a 2 or 3 light kit, possibly florescent, for lighting talking heads on white or green screen background. Should be easily portable. Would like to have the option of daylight or tungsten but not a deal breaker.

Any good values out there for under $1000?


Okay, so do the math.

To simply light the talent who is against the green screen takes at minimum, two lights. The key will likely be a 1K or 650w fresnel with a Chimera. The backlight will be in the 300w to 150w range placed out of the shot, on an extended C-stand arm.

Then you have to light the green screen EVENLY. I've seen some guys try to do this quickly and cheaply with a single TOTA from behind the Talent's chair. What you wind up with is a really hot spot that falls off quickly toward the edges of your frame.

So, the alternative on a budget is AT LEAST two 650w fresnels, with or without diffusion, placed appropriately to create an even light across a 9' wide by 6' tall green backdrop. You could also use something like two four foot four bank KINOs on either side of the talent.

The point is that you need at least two lights of adequate wattage to light the talent (plus hardware to mount them) and additional lights (generally two will do it from both sides of the talent) to light the green screen evenly. (Plus solids or blackwrap to keep those lights from potentially spilling onto your talent).


What you need in the end, at minimum, is: (working from back to front)

- a backdrop stand
- a backdrop (preferably a 9' wide x Y tall) greenscreen
- a C-stand and a sandbag
- place a 300w (with dimmer) or a 150w fresnel unit on the end of an outstretched C-stand arm
- the talent's chair placed at least 6' from the greenscreen to prevent green kickback on their hair and shoulders
- the key light (1K or 650w with Chimera) placed five to six feet from the talent
- camera about 6 feet from talent (which is about 12 feet from the green)

Plus an incident light meter and/or a waveform monitor (if shooting video) so that you use readings to see if you've lit the green evenly.



Summary: Four lights, three light stands, one C-stand, one backdrop stand, one green screen, blackwrap, Potentially an additional C-stand with Solid Flag in front of the backlight in case of balding Talent OR a larger solid cutting some of the KEY light off from the green which is roughly twelve feet away.
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