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Thread: First time in a studio - how should I light it?

  1. #1

    Default First time in a studio - how should I light it?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm filming for the first time in a studio for a few corporate talking heads videos, and I'm after some advice on how to light it properly. We have 3 x 800W Tungsten Redhead lights (3200 Kelvin) that we are going to use in a 3-point setup (as key, fill and back lights). The studio does not have a ceiling lighting rig, so the lights will be on floor stands. Is there anything special I need to know about how to light it properly? Anything different I should do compared to when I'm filming in any other normal room? The studio will have an "infinity" white backdrop. Here's a photo of it:

    Another quick question - I assume it's really bad practice to "mix" colour temperatures from different lights? In other words, I assume I should turn off all other studio lights when filming, and only have the 3 Redhead lights turned on? So the "stage" will be lit up but the rest of the studio will be dark? So then I can just dial in the white balance on the camera as 3200K, and it will then be balanced correctly for the Redhead lights? Sorry if that sounds like a stupid question...

    I hope someone can help.

    Many thanks,


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Blog Entries


    Yes Josh, you've got it sussed.
    (But no, it isn't always bad "form" to mix different colours, it just depends how you do it and what effect you want).

    Personally I would put some sort of colour on the backlight, but that's a taste thing and I would have the fill as a soft source.

    Actually no. In your situation I would probably have a soft key, blue tint on the kicker and then use the third light to project something onto the background to give it a bit of depth. You can always use a reflector to push a bit back into the subject if the soft key doesn't "wrap around" enough.

  3. #3


    As Rob said it all depend on the look you are going for. You could light the background with a directional desk lamp (few quide from B&Q) and shine it through a cookie.

    Like in THIS VIDEO.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    London, England


    Don't attempt anything too arty, at least until you've got the Customer's pics "in the Bag" -= and that may take all the time available.
    Try a basic set-up and stick with it unless you are asked to change it . . . but this whole idea is a bit worrying . . or is this "Studio session" part of a course you are on?
    Try to keep the camera at eye level and get the focus correct. Expose for the brightest areas, unless there is a VERY good reason to change this. You can also try some fine mesh (etc) as a means of diffusing the light.
    You could use one of those Reflectors "Lastolite" to soften any facial shadows (esp for females), hereas older men may "improve" by increasing the shadows (slightly) as this adds "character".

    I suggest you KIS = Keep it Simple

    The subject should be sharp, without a distracting background. If you can you could experiment with a Green-screen, but frankly for a first-session this is too much of a distraction. Concentrate on producing some good stuff, with clear audio, pref using a mic just out of sight ( e.g. clipped to the clothing- but listen out for clothing noise).

    It's also worth taking some secondary gear, just in case of a Malfunction (it happens!), otherwise you will have some explaining to do . . .

    As others have said the Mixing of colours is largely the effect you want. If it's deliberate (eg a coloured gel) then it won't look particulalrly odd (depends on colour!). But if you mix different sources then the mis-match will show and look llike a fault . . . that's the difference. Some colour in the background can introduce "interest, without making it sharp. which is likely to be distracting.
    Last edited by vidmanners; 07-21-2013 at 10:25 PM.

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