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  • Lighting a room for green screen

    Posted by Alan Balch on July 13, 2018 at 9:16 pm

    I’m in the process of trying to figure out how to best light a room for green screen. The room I’m trying to light is 10′ wide, 20′ long and 10′ high.
    My main question is whether or not I should try to mount lights from the ceiling for my subjects and the screen or if I should go with light stands.


    Alan Balch
    • • • • • • •
    Videographer/Carle Foundation Hosptial

    Bob Cole replied 4 years, 11 months ago 5 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • Todd Terry

    July 13, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    Normally I light a greenscreen (or any other flat background) from both the sides and the ceiling. I’ll usually put vertical 4′ flos on stands at the sides, and have horizontal 4′ flos in the grid to wash from the ceiling as well (in rare instances I’ve lit from below, too… but I’d say that’s not usual practice with me).

    BUT… you have a pretty small space and not that much area to try to light. You might be able to (probably can) get away with lighting from the sides only. It would definitely be worth running a test before you go to the expense and trouble of lighting from above if there is not already a grid there.

    Then again, the opposite might be true… since the space is small you might prefer not to give up any of your floor real estate to stands and lighting instruments, and lighting from the ceiling only is a better idea.

    I’d try it from the sides first, though, and see how that goes.


    Todd Terry
    Creative Director
    Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

  • Bill Davis

    July 28, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    And just to add a note to what Todd says…

    Remember, you don’t always need to light the entire greenscreen for EVERY use instance.

    If you have a spokesperson sitting at a desk, for example – you can just light an area around the subject and just crop the shot before you use it.

    Lighting an entire large green screen area is most appropriate when there is more movement including people entering and exiting the scene – then a full frame keyable field is smart.

    Just something to consider.

    Creator of XinTwo –
    The shortest path to FCP X mastery.

  • Mark Suszko

    September 5, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    I’m assuming you mean you’re lighting one wall in that room, not the entire room. I get very good base lighting on my green/blue screens with a couple of big Lowel Rifa softlights. At home, I get the same thing with 20-dollar LightDow softlights equipped with BonLux “corncob” LED bulbs. (on Amazon)

    If you need to avoid stands, and keep the room clear as possible, my favorite option for those is a Matthews auto-pole, basically an industrial version of the expanding shower curtain rod, but meant for hanging lights from.

    But Todd’s fluorescent troughs will also work for this. When you light a chromakey set with just two sources, they need to be super-soft and aimed to overlap, or you’ll get hotspots on the sides and a darker spot in the center. That’s where his third fixture, hanging from above, helps to fill-in the center. The auto-pole could handle hanging one of his DIY fixtures just fine.

    Use your camera’s zebra bars and manual iris to explore and confirm that the coverage is as even as you can get it. You don’t need it super-bright, or even super-saturated. You mostly need it *even*, and wrinkle-free as possible… and I like the peaks on the chroma screen at around 80 IRE units so the talent can go brighter than that on highlights and not be blown-out.

  • Bob Cole

    October 23, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    [Mark Suszko] ” I like the peaks on the chroma screen at around 80 IRE units “

    I wonder what you mean by that, Mark.

    Peaks? I thought it was all supposed to be even. 80IRE? I thought the chroma screen was supposed to be one stop lower than the light on the subject.

    I must be “not getting something” here.

    Bob C

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