View Full Version : Lighting for an all white "void"

10-23-2013, 09:29 PM
Hey all. So I've searched around dvxuser and the like and this has been a pretty popular question over the past couple years. I have to light a 50' white wall to look as though my character is in a white void. I understand I have to blow out the background by 2-3 stops and all that, but I was wondering if I could get some input on how to go about it based on the units I have at my disposal (and I have a lighting grid, btw). But I have 5 1k babies, 5 650s, 2 5k baby seniors, 4 diva 400s, 2 6-light mole-fay's, and 2 2k spacelights.

The only problem I'm forseeing is that there will be shots of him running in the white space, and so ideally I'd like to light the entire wall evenly. What do you think is the best way to go about this? I was thinking of hanging all the 1k's just to light the wall, using divas to provide a kicker for separation, and hanging the spacelights in front in order to give some frontal fill (the rest of the soundstage is pretty big and mostly black). Or I guess I could use some combo of 5k's and mole-fays to hit the wall and use the 1k's as kickers. Are the spacelights in front a good idea? I'm also playing with the idea of using a booklight in order to give a little more definition.

Thanks everyone, I'm a film student and I really want to get this one right! Shooting blackmagic, btw

10-24-2013, 04:29 AM
Do you have access to an incident light meter? Big help for getting even illumination on the background and for controlling lighting ratios for the actor It depends on whether you want a hard separation of your actor from the background. Unless you diffuse them the fays are hard to get an even pattern with. I would use the 5k's and 1k's for the wall as the fresnels are easier to control for even overlap, the fays from the sides for hard keys. Hard side key lighting is a common technique for dance lighting to separate and define the performers from background, Spacelights overhead to the front, and fill in with the 650's at 45 degrees. Divas will throw off your color temp.
You don't want to clip the camera, controlling blowout can be done in post.
Study this video for lighting angles, I think they did a pretty good job of getting the look and the lighting effect changes throughout the video so you can see some of the patterns and angles. But you don't want to make it too flat on your actor, there needs to be enough highlight to shadow ratio to provide some modelling and shape.


10-24-2013, 10:14 AM
I would advise against the kicker on white, it will not create separation it reduce it.

Willian Aleman
10-24-2013, 02:22 PM
Below is an example of our experience shooting against a similar white screen size. We used 2, Arri 2000 watts at 45 and -45 degrees, in addition to 6, 1000watts Lowel Omni to cover the center gag between the two Arri.
We used a similar aperture difference between the front and background as you are planning to use and a combination of 1000 and 500watts for the sides and back light of the subjects.

The first step is to make sure that the background is really blowing. For that, we use the GH2 in camera feature called Highlight, which shows in black everything that is beyond the limits of the highlight, and for the difference in light ratios, we used the Sekonic L-758 DR light meter in incident mode. The second steps is to light the foreground, making sure that we have enough distance between the subject and the white screen, (our subjects were about 12 to 15 feet away from the background) to avoid light spilling from the reflection of the light and hitting the white screen.

However, shooting products in the smallest screen size, I found out that having a transparent screen and lighting from behind give us a lot better control over the light ratios without having to deal with blocking the light reflection coming out of the screen onto the subject. Also, it results in an easier and cleanier lighting procedure for both, the fore and background.

It wasn't our interest to go with the white floor, which for sure would require a more complicated lighting set up. BTW, all footage in the epk were shot with GH2 in a multicamera set up, three to be exact. No color correction has been applied yet to the footage. I hope this help.


10-24-2013, 05:00 PM
I've done this before but all with Kinos and a few small LEDs for fill and hairlights on the subjects. I know nobody was running around but it looked great. All shot on GH2s. Not sure if it helps.

Excuse the horrible sound. We lost some of our audio that day and had to capture what we could with the equipment that didn't go down. Fun times.