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Forums Lighting Design Requirements for chroma key lighting

  • Requirements for chroma key lighting

     Samuel Zer updated 5 years, 11 months ago 2 Members · 3 Posts
  • Samuel Zer

    May 4, 2015 at 1:32 pm


    I need inexpensive lighting for a chroma key for my podcast.

    It is only going to be for lighting the shoulder and head of a single person in a small space setup, where the green background is at about half a meter/ one meter behind the person.

    After days looking for gear and trying to understand what it’s all about, I feel really lost. I have found these at low cost but have no idea if it’s suitable for my needs :

    Also, they are these but so much expensive for my budget :
    Would these led panels be enough and if yes how many of them would I require ?

    Any other option ?

    Please note that sofboxes are not that much a solution because of the so small space I do have to place the lights.

    Thank you in advance for your answers.


  • Mark Suszko

    May 4, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    You have two separate lighting tasks: the backdrop, and the subject. Trying to have one set of lights do both is possible, but more tricky, with more chance you’ll regret the results.

    For the backdrop, you need soft light; the cheapest thing that will work for your tight space and budget here would be fluorescent tube shop lights, oriented vertically, and washing across the backdrop. It’s better if you use tubes with a high CRI rating, but not critical for just lighting the green screen. You can kludge together a mounting system to put these on stands, using for example those spring-loaded clamps used to hold a broom or mop up against the wall.

    For lighting the face/head, a soft white LED bulb in a plain reflector housing like this:

    with some proper diffusion gel (Roscolux, “tough opal” or “tough frost” available by the sheet from places like Markertek and ebay)

    and “barn doors” made of black cinefoil (Markertek again, or amazon)

    …will get you striking results on a pauper’s budget. Make three: two for the key and fill, one for a backlight, without the diffusion.

    A variation on those lights would be to use halogen, dimmable bulbs for the key and fill, and attach “squeezers” or dimmers to them, to control their output a bit. I use Router motor speed controls from Harbor Freight as my “squeezers”, because they’re cheap, rugged, and already assembled into a usable form.

  • Samuel Zer

    May 5, 2015 at 7:20 am


    Thank you very much for your appreciated and so usefull answer. I know now what to do.

    Warmest regards and again, thank you for your time.


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