# Building and rigging the best YouTube set

#### Vivilama

##### Member
Hello folks,
Not sure if a complete noob (I myself), am welcome to start a thread like this on here.

My name is Vito (41). Italien born in Germany now living in Japan. I am a CG animator and compositing tutor on YouTube. With the birth of my daughter somehow I felt the urge to do something more meaningful with my life. That’s why I have started delving into many topics which had either scared me or which I found to hard ( too technical) to understand.
One of those Endeavors is to teach on YouTube but in a way that is absolutely me. I had decided to give my channel a new spin by teaching using a pirate theme. But that means i needed a proper set. A pirateship’s quarters.

If I am allowed I would like to share my progress here and hopefully by the point I set out to light this thing, your experience will proof invaluable, I have no doubt. Speaking of lighting, I have recently read the book “Set Lighting Technician’s Handbook. It is such a profound book but proofs that experience in most cases is everything. Experience which I don’t have in this area.
But hopefully I can learn enough to bring my vision to life. So a few months ago I started to build my set. I live in a rental place so that makes things a bit more complicated.

Here a few photos:

A typical Japanese room.

Unfortunately I am not allowed to drill holes into the walls. Walls which are really thin and would need soundproofing. For a reason I don’t know I skipped that part and I know I will regret it later. Writing this while listening to the sound of the Japanese cicada

The gaps in the floor panels were supposed to give access to cables underneath. I was gonna align them perpendicular to the camera which due to the angle wouldn’t be visible. Good thought but not well thought through ( slap in my face) design-wise I decided to align them pointing towards the camera which was a big time failure. So later I closed the gaps again.

The basic frame with the original Japanese windows ( Shoji).

Pirate ship windows at the rear of the ship are angled. So I was looking for a way to take the original windows ( without damaging them) and angle them. It wasn’t that hard to do, but soon I realized they just don’t look medieval.

Cardboard to get a feeling of how arcs would look.

yap, definitely arcs. But wait! Isn’t that gonna be a hell of a lot of work? I had no experience in wood work etc.but I knew bending woods isn’t gonna be easy and involves something like a pressure chamber. Yeah right! After doing a lot of research and looking at my budget I decided to go with a simple and cheesy solution. Hey I am courageous but I ain’t crazy!

Proprietary wood press

I used the same stencil I cut the arc front with to actually press wet thin plywood. Worked like a charm. Did I say wet? Yes I did. My fiancé wasn’t happy to share the bathtub with the plywoods. Me thought it surly had a nice scent.

clamp madness.

I mean sometimes more has got to be better!

One finished window frame.

You know that feeling when you look at it and you are super happy, although you have no clue how you did, but you actually did it. And then you realize, there are 3 more to go.
A carpenter can just laugh at this I know. But I am surprised what one, without experience, can achieve if he/she puts the mind into something ( best with exit door locked or welded shut)
For me, if there is a lesson to learn from all this, then it is that.

To be continued....

#### Crisp image

##### Well-Known Member
Welcome aboard me hearty to the world of control booth. You will have may question and we will have many answers. There are some things we cant tell you about due to safety reasons and the need to be qualified to work on Electrical and rigging stuff but the rest is good.
You have made a great start to your set and I look forward to seeing it progress and be finished.

Regards
Geoff

#### Vivilama

##### Member
Welcome aboard me hearty to the world of control booth. You will have may question and we will have many answers. There are some things we cant tell you about due to safety reasons and the need to be qualified to work on Electrical and rigging stuff but the rest is good.
You have made a great start to your set and I look forward to seeing it progress and be finished.

Regards
Geoff

Thanks a bunch Geoff. Ye words appreciated!
I have been working in front of the PC all my life but I feel that within I am someone who likes to use his hands to create tangible things. So this journey is like a fresh breeze of air.

I completely understand about the safety issues, no problem there. I won’t be asking how to use an carbon arc light in a house made of wood and paper

May the Rum be with ye me matey!

Vito

#### Vivilama

##### Member
Ahoy there,
Started adding some details!

I found these curtain rail holder at an antique shop which is very rare in Japan. They were so cheap ( about 15$each) that I couldn’t resist even though I have no clue where to put them. I add some gold paint to it and voila... liking it. They also had a beautiful treasure chest for a whooping 350$....

to be continued....

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#### Van

##### CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Welcome Aboard!
As it just so Happens my Wife is a 'Special Needs Educator' and her whole teaching scheme is based on "Pirates". the kids love it and she get's to wear silly hats once in a while.
Your set looks beautiful!

#### Vivilama

##### Member
Ahoy,
Just some quick shots!
I am planing to go with a chiaroscuro lighting and this leads me to think that the dark brown wood is going to be too dark, almost black.

After doing some research and studying I came across a few interesting images I’d like to keep in the back of my head as references/inspiration.

Although I like the contrast ratio. I feel the faces are to hot. The main light would probably be something like a torch or candles on the right side of desk with sunlight coming in from the window’s left side.

Looks like fire from a fireplace?

I am loving everything about the scene below. Contrast ratio, light direction and layout, bounce from the desk to the skin ( although it could be the candlelight) , haze and color scheme. This make me wonder if I should avoid dark brown wood and make paint it brighter so I can use a low exposure with a lot of light and still capture some of the background details.

I also think that I need to remove the Japanese paper from the windows as to let in more light ( artificial light). I was thinking on using mirrors to direct the sunlight into the room but since I have never done this, I worry that it won’t be very reliable to count on nature.
Still doing some research on how to simulate sunlight on a low budget. I have a feeling I will need a power generator
I was given 3 stage lights, 2x500W and 1x1000W. I measured the lux of the 500W combined and got about 30000-50000 lux measured at close range set to spot. Unfortunately the throw isn’t that great. But again I am not experienced. I will post on this subject later.

To be continued....

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#### Vivilama

##### Member
Welcome Aboard!
As it just so Happens my Wife is a 'Special Needs Educator' and her whole teaching scheme is based on "Pirates". the kids love it and she get's to wear silly hats once in a while.
Your set looks beautiful!
Thanks Van,
I am sure the kids love it Although far from the truth, Pirates are synonymous for adventure, exploration, treasure ( knowledge) hunt, courage and much more. I felt it suits a learning channel perfectly ( or in your wife’s case, teaching) . Learning means to conquer new territories, to sail the seven seas

#### Ben Stiegler

##### Well-Known Member
Ahoy,
Just some quick shots!
I am planing to go with a chiaroscuro lighting and this leads me to think that the dark brown wood is going to be too dark, almost black.View attachment 20508
View attachment 20514 After doing some research and studying I came across a few interesting images I’d like to keep in the back of my head as references/inspiration.
View attachment 20511
Although I like the contrast ratio. I feel the faces are to hot. The main light would probably be something like a torch or candles on the right side of desk with sunlight coming in from the window’s left side.
View attachment 20510
Looks like fire from a fireplace?

I am loving everything about the scene below. Contrast ratio, light direction and layout, bounce from the desk to the skin ( although it could be the candlelight) , haze and color scheme. This make me wonder if I should avoid dark brown wood and make paint it brighter so I can use a low exposure with a lot of light and still capture some of the background details.
View attachment 20512
I also think that I need to remove the Japanese paper from the windows as to let in more light ( artificial light). I was thinking on using mirrors to direct the sunlight into the room but since I have never done this, I worry that it won’t be very reliable to count on nature.
Still doing some research on how to simulate sunlight on a low budget. I have a feeling I will need a power generator
I was given 3 stage lights, 2x500W and 1x1000W. I measured the lux of the 500W combined and got about 30000-50000 lux measured at close range set to spot. Unfortunately the throw isn’t that great. But again I am not experienced. I will post on this subject later.

To be continued....
I wouldn't get attached to those lights ... think lower end LED and get rid of the hot, power hungry lights and the whole generator line of thinking.

#### Vivilama

##### Member
I wouldn't get attached to those lights ... think lower end LED and get rid of the hot, power hungry lights and the whole generator line of thinking.

Hey Ben,
Which LED would you recommend? With lower-end LED I worry about flicker in camera weird color bleeding plus weird shadows.
As far as I understood they need to be 50/60Hz so I can shoot with 24Fps and 180shutter. Are there affordable super bright LEDs?
Will they be adequate for simulating sunlight ( to some extent) ?

I would be happy if I could avoid those power hungry lights indeed.

Budget wise I could get an Apurture C300d.
But I wonder if its better used as a key light.
Not sure if this light is over hyped or not.

#### macsound

##### Well-Known Member
When working with lighting, it's all about the comparison between the lights that makes something perceived as brighter.
You could have a 1w, 3w, and 7w LED flashlight and obviously the 7w would seem the brightest and could be setup as the "sun" through a window. Just maybe a small window.

With video, you're going to have to deal with the camera and lens's abilities.
So figure out with a couple of cheap floodlights you already own and your light meter to see how the minimum and maximum amount light you need to make your camera happy. Then you'll understand your camera's dynamic range.
No matter how much money you're spending or what creative choices you're making, you'll need to get the lighting of your set and subjects to live within that dynamic range.

Also, if you find a cool light, stick it in front of your camera and see how it looks. Don't stick yourself in the corner of needing "pro" gear because christmas will come and you'll want to put some christmas lights up but will never find a box that says "flicker free guaranteed for video"

#### Ben Stiegler

##### Well-Known Member
Mac sound said it pretty well there!

#### Vivilama

##### Member
When working with lighting, it's all about the comparison between the lights that makes something perceived as brighter.
You could have a 1w, 3w, and 7w LED flashlight and obviously the 7w would seem the brightest and could be setup as the "sun" through a window. Just maybe a small window.

With video, you're going to have to deal with the camera and lens's abilities.
So figure out with a couple of cheap floodlights you already own and your light meter to see how the minimum and maximum amount light you need to make your camera happy. Then you'll understand your camera's dynamic range.
No matter how much money you're spending or what creative choices you're making, you'll need to get the lighting of your set and subjects to live within that dynamic range.

Also, if you find a cool light, stick it in front of your camera and see how it looks. Don't stick yourself in the corner of needing "pro" gear because christmas will come and you'll want to put some christmas lights up but will never find a box that says "flicker free guaranteed for video"

could you elaborate on the dynamic range topic a bit more? How would I go about doing this?
I own a Blackmagic Pocket 4k and 6k Camera. The 6k features 13 stops of dynamic range. Not sure how to connect this data to what you described. How can I make my camera happy?

#### Vivilama

##### Member
Ahoy,
I got a little sidetracked after I discovered the work of Jimmy Lawlor.
http://www.lawlordesign.com/theatre-1

After reading an article where Jimmy mentioned that the set was painted almost white so he could color it with light, I got carried away and tried the same.

Then I discovered another image! Incidentally, I ordered a curtain that looks almost identical!

But there the wood is brown, and now I am torn between the two color schemes.
What’s your guys opinion?

#### macsound

##### Well-Known Member
Getting into specifics may cloud the general principle here which is: figure out how lighting of your set and people look through your camera at your desired settings.

When I walk into a 40x40 theatre with a 32' trim I know that 26 and 19 degree source fours with 575w lamps will be punchy enough for my frontlight. R83 downlights will need a 2k fresnel. Etc.
When you're lighting a "bedroom set" there's no general preconceptions about how much light you will need and there's no point in buying a $1000 XYZ light if you're going to operate it at 12% the whole time. This is like how you know, in your mind, based on past perceptions, that the lamp in your office helps you read when it has a 100w light bulb. The bathroom light has three 60w light bulbs but when you upgraded to the 5 light fixture, it was "too bright" so you replaced with 40w bulbs. In order to figure out how much light you need in your particular space with your particular equipment, you'll have to use, gasp, trial and error. Descriptive tangent: I've been filming a bunch of kids educational videos in my apartment. My main lighting is 1 source four with a 375w lamp and a 50degree barrel bounced off the ceiling. But for my hair light I'm using a Sorra 11w LED with a 36 degree lens. With the blinds shut this makes for perfect exposure at 30fps, 1/120s shutter, F2, 200ISO. But I couldn't or shouldn't use 2 source fours because my hair light would be immensely shuttered off and dimmed down so incredibly far, and my solution is using no dimmers, just plugged into wifi controlled plugs. Also, I figured out that a 575w was too bright, because too much light on the face made the backlight too dim or I had to increase my shutter speed, blah blah etc. So I bought the 375w and it was perfect #### kicknargel ##### Well-Known Member Premium Member Macsound is right: camera tests are the thing. I like your approach of researching for ideas. I think the two reference photos you shared can help you decide for yourself. In the first ("Fences", no doubt) the houses look like white painted houses in colorful sunset light. In the second the wood looks liked dark stained wood. It an artistic choice: more naturalism or more color flexibility. You'll never light the white to look like natural stained wood. Also consider: for the white approach, you'll need dedicated lights to put the color on the set, and to careful keep spill from others lights off it to avoid washing it out. Also also consider: you could go with a medium-toned natural wood look and still be able to put some color on it with light when desired. #### TimMc ##### Well-Known Member Premium Member One of the Bulgarian opera drop painters I've worked with used unsaturated colors. Hanging on the paint frame they looked drab. Under light they were things of beauty - good LX color choices made them come alive. Took a lot of light to do that and as Nick says, keeping spill off the drops was critical to the illusion being created. #### Vivilama ##### Member Getting into specifics may cloud the general principle here which is: figure out how lighting of your set and people look through your camera at your desired settings. When I walk into a 40x40 theatre with a 32' trim I know that 26 and 19 degree source fours with 575w lamps will be punchy enough for my frontlight. R83 downlights will need a 2k fresnel. Etc. When you're lighting a "bedroom set" there's no general preconceptions about how much light you will need and there's no point in buying a$1000 XYZ light if you're going to operate it at 12% the whole time.

This is like how you know, in your mind, based on past perceptions, that the lamp in your office helps you read when it has a 100w light bulb. The bathroom light has three 60w light bulbs but when you upgraded to the 5 light fixture, it was "too bright" so you replaced with 40w bulbs.

In order to figure out how much light you need in your particular space with your particular equipment, you'll have to use, gasp, trial and error.

Descriptive tangent:
I've been filming a bunch of kids educational videos in my apartment. My main lighting is 1 source four with a 375w lamp and a 50degree barrel bounced off the ceiling.
But for my hair light I'm using a Sorra 11w LED with a 36 degree lens.
With the blinds shut this makes for perfect exposure at 30fps, 1/120s shutter, F2, 200ISO.

But I couldn't or shouldn't use 2 source fours because my hair light would be immensely shuttered off and dimmed down so incredibly far, and my solution is using no dimmers, just plugged into wifi controlled plugs.
Also, I figured out that a 575w was too bright, because too much light on the face made the backlight too dim or I had to increase my shutter speed, blah blah etc. So I bought the 375w and it was perfect

As many of you mentioned the spill challenge I decided against this approach.This means I am going to make the wood brown again.

I found this video.

Beside him using the same camera ( different lens) he is using expensive ARRI HMIs and I was wondering what a low-budget alternative would be? Do you still recommend a source four for this kind of lighting?

Thanks for all your help!

vivi

#### macsound

##### Well-Known Member
Here's an example of something this cinematic guy did that I would recommend against for 2 reasons.
1. It only looks good for the one shot and like everything else in "hollywood" you'll have another dozen hours to setup for the next shot.
2. It's ugly when you're not looking through the camera. Considering your set will be in your house, I assume you'll want space for your "studio audience" when you bring your friends over to look at your hard work.
Also 3. It takes up alot of space. Do you have room for flags and bounces out of frame all over the place?

You really need to experiment with lighting. This is about art, not about technology.

#### Vivilama

##### Member
Here's an example of something this cinematic guy did that I would recommend against for 2 reasons.
1. It only looks good for the one shot and like everything else in "hollywood" you'll have another dozen hours to setup for the next shot.
2. It's ugly when you're not looking through the camera. Considering your set will be in your house, I assume you'll want space for your "studio audience" when you bring your friends over to look at your hard work.
Also 3. It takes up alot of space. Do you have room for flags and bounces out of frame all over the place?

View attachment 20588

You really need to experiment with lighting. This is about art, not about technology.
Haha, I am busted! Good points of course. Although bringing friends over and have them being impressed is secondary to be honest.
I want to have two-three camera angles and because I knew they won’t look good with the same lighting I was considering switching light partially using DMX at some point.
it sounds crazy but actually I don’t mean to switch lighting to match the same lighting. That’s too much for now. I was thinking to change the light to something mysterious?
Let’s say I want to show the audience something on the PC, I walk over and it will be sort of like a voodoo corner. That way switching lighting should be more forgiving.
Some experiments:

( forgive me my ignorance)

I am just not experienced at all to actually think this through in a realistic way. In my head everything works, then once I try“ slap in my face” .

So I guess you guys helped me coming down to earth. I guess for this kind of setup up I have to keep it simple.
I do want the windows to be illuminated though and that’s where I looked at the Came-TV 1200w HMI. I am sure for the price it comes with it’s cons. Poor color rendering ? But for the windows it’s not that critical I am thinking.

something like this:

Edit: reading Set Lighting Technician’s book, I became aware of the UV issues. Since I don’t trust Chinese products I am gonna pass!

Last edited:

#### Vivilama

##### Member
I need your advice once again!
I was offered a demo Dedolight 400D from a Japanese authorized dealer for 3000$. New price would be about 7000$. It comes with bunch of scratches and would need anew halogen bulb. What do you guys think? Is it a good deal?

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