Lighting and Cameras

I am trying to make the lighting on live video productions better with a small budget (at this time, all i can give to this project is $1000). Mostly, this applies for presentations/speakers. Is there a soft enough color that i can fill in with and not make it extremely noticable to the live audience? Are there any other tricks to make it seem less flat and bland on a video? I also dont want it to look like I'm trying too hard for a different look.

the setup: a very small theatre with about 10 source fours

Chaos is Born

Active Member
Backlight will help, you can even use a dark color in your backlight so that its not as noticeable from the audience but your video will have a lot more depth in it.


Active Member
A few thoughts:

- Do you make sure that you white balance the camera with the lighting set before you begin taping?

- What kind of camera do you have? If it is a 1-chip camera, that will be your problem. They tend to become overloaded with standard stage lighting.

After we know what kind of camera you are using, we should be able to help more.


Well-Known Member
Assuming your color comes into play in the background, you want to do your white balance using your white card in the speaker’s location before you turn on any color, otherwise the camera will try to compensate for the color, and your flesh tones will be off. Back in the days I used to do video work the cameras were a lot less tolerant of this kind of stuff so I used a vectorscope and waveform monitor to assist in the WB operation. On the WF monitor, look for the flat line that generated by the reflection of the white card and try to get it as thin as possible. If you have manual white balance controls, you will almost always find you can do a better job manual than using the auto feature.


Active Member
All three of those are good cameras. I have used the GL1 and XL1 to film speakers on stage before. Have you tried using a warm card or white balancing on something off-white?


Active Member
Just one simple thing you can do to punch up the shot. Is to always think about what is behind the heads that you will be filming. If they are standing in front of a black drape then in a medium shot all you will see is a head and black.

It usually a good idea for interviews and for speakers to have some sort of breakup pattern on the back wall to give some sort of texture behind the "talking head". This pattern should be extremely abstract and thrown out of focus.

You will want your light to be diffuse do create less shadows. If you can get some Lowell lights with soft boxes that may be all you need instead of the S4’s.

You need to focus light so that you have a front light, a rim light, and a fill light for every shot. This will keep the image from looking flat.

Your biggest issue with using S4’s will be getting a even enough focus. So if you cant get the lowel’s on stands then try to get some fresnels with some diffusion.



Active Member
It would also help to put diffusion material in the S4's you have already.

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