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Thread: Shooting with a pure white background?

  1. #1

    Default Shooting with a pure white background?

    Shooting subject with a pure white background.


    I'm hoping to make some videos of a person in front of a pure white background. This is pretty much the exact effect that I'm looking for:
    onBeing -

    Can anyone advise on how I can create this effect on a budget?

    At the moment I have a consumer grade DV camera (no manual controls) and no lights whatsoever.

    From the research I've done, it seem thats using a green screen to key out the background and replace it with white would be the cheapest way to achieve a similar effect. Using a few 'work lights' to evenly light the green screen and then 1 (high temp?) light to illuminate the subject (any suggestions of this light appreciated).

    Would this work? Or will I simply not get a reasonable look with this setup?

    I've looked at using a white background - sheet/roll of paper, then over exposing the background but the lighting for such a setup looks more difficult (and expensive) not to mention the fact that my 'auto' camcorder will probably try and correctly expose the brighter background rather than the foreground subject.

    Any help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks!

  2. #2


    Work lights might do the trick for lighting the green screen but for the subject you will need a good, clean white light - you can usually pick up pretty good studio lights second hand on eBay that are ideal for this kind of thing.

    I picked up a basic pair of Interfit studio lights with stands, brollys and barn doors for about 100 last year to run along with my more expensive lights when I need a few more; you could maybe pick up a few half decent lights for less than a pair of work lights (unless you already have the work lights).

    Steer well clear of the dealers selling cheap, crap lights as studio lights on eBay though - buy good ones used!

    You won't need a massive green screen for this either; you could get one of the small pop up portable ones and it'd do fine.

  3. #3


    Thanks for the info, I've been looking at what's on ebay.

    I don't have work lights, so I guess it would be worth looking at some photographic lights instead if I can get them for a reasonable price.

    For a a clean white light for the subject, how powerful a light do you think I need and what type? (Florescent?, how many watts). The vast majority of shots will be waist up shots, so I don't need to light the whole body.

    I've searched interfit on ebay, what other cheap-ish brands should I be looking at?

    Big thanks for your help

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Bristol uk
    Blog Entries


    If all you want is LIGHT ( and heat) try builders site lights - totally a pain to use cos they are hot hot hot but dam cheap.

  5. #5


    Shoot from as far away from the subject as possible, then zoom in on the subject, this will create a small depth of field, hopefully small enough that the subject is in focus while the background won't be in focus, this will help to hide any flaws in the background, ie creases or overlaps, that sort of thing.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Western Europe


    I'm 99.9% certain those people where shot in front of a greenscreen, the background was keyed out and a white bitmapped image inserted into the BG plate. So no worries about lighting or exposure.

  7. #7


    Thanks for all the info guys.

    So it looks like I'm going to be going with the green screen option, either with builders/work lights or some 'clamp lights' with florescent bulbs as in this tutorial. - Lighting Infinite White

    How do you feel about his ultra cheap lighting? For the three point lighting he uses household lamps with 5300k fluorescents. I don't have a 5 fitting lamp I can use, nor a diffused one - so I'm going to have to buy either that or a 'proper' light(s).

    I only need this for one project, in one location (my dining room) so spending a lot time getting everything balanced isn't too much of an issue. I'm not seeing much on ebay (certainly not used) but following the suggestion of the Interfit brand I've found:

    5 lamp: Buy Interfit INT116 Super Cool-lite 5 Continuous at The Digital Camera Shop, UK Online Digital Camera Dealers
    3 lamp: Buy Interfit INT103 3 Lamp Cool Light Head with 3 Bulbs at The Digital Camera Shop, UK Online Digital Camera Dealers

    I'm wondering if these are comparable 'proper' lights to what he has created in the video?

    To buy those is going to be around 200 pounds/$400 so I'm thinking of going the cheap route, since I can't see any of these lights for sale 2nd hand. Seeing as this will be a one off, semi temporary installtion would going 'homemade' suffice, or is the advice to stretch to the Interfits (or comparable models - any suggestions?).

    Thanks again for the advice!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    tamworth , england, uk ,earth, solar system


    simply use a green screen, then remove it using chromakey and simply put a white background in.

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