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Author Topic: Lighting for a webinar  (Read 5486 times)

Mike Sokol

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Lighting for a webinar
« on: February 02, 2014, 04:07:49 pm »

Hi guys... It's Mike Sokol from the AC Power & Grounding forum. I'm looking for a little newbie advice about selecting the proper lights and configuring them for some possible future desktop webinars on audio production. Of course when I Google "lighting a webinar", I get links to all kinds of webinars about lighting technologies. What I want to know is how to light my own webinar. Here's the basics.

I already have two HD PTZ video cameras, one of which I plan to mount directly overhead pointing down at the desktop in front of me, and the other camera pointed directly at my face horizontally above a computer monitor/teleprompter. That's so I can do talking-head shot, then transition to an overhead gear shot showing my hands twisting knobs on the desk in front of me. I'll also put a green screen directly behind me so I can electronically key-in different backgrounds as needed. This would run sort of like a cooking show, transitioning between a face shot to an overhead shot of soup being stirred.

So where do I begin with this? I'm a live sound guy who's used to throwing a LOT of light at a stage. But now I realize that really doesn't work well for video, and also I don't want to light everything completely flat, so some beauty/shadow component would help. I'm also pretty sure I want to use LED lighting simply because my small studio would certainly overheat during a 90-minute webinar video shoot using tungsten lighting.

I'm guessing that 3 panels of 512 LEDs (two front for L/R and one overhead) would get me in the ballpark, especially if I can dim them. But getting even lighting on the green screen will probably be an issue. Or do I need to ditch the green screen idea and get my artistic wife to paint me a backdrop?

Any ideas where to begin? Can you recommend any books, papers, videos, webinars or whatever on how to successfully light a desktop for webinar video? I think that most of the webinars I've watched have pretty terrible lighting, so I don't want to be one of "those" guys.

Thanks for any input or direction you can provide.

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Lee Douglas

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Re: Lighting for a webinar
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2014, 04:40:05 pm »

Google "lighting a cooking show" for some ideas.  Unfortunately no personal experience, just the first thought I had when you mentioned the format.  I would be concerned about how well specific LED lighting translates to video.
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Brook Hovland

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Re: Lighting for a webinar
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2014, 05:08:47 pm »

Here is a how not to light example....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FimnTYw3q1E


Sounds like you are on the right track.

A little hair light is always nice on video (bring on the jokes for those who know me) Even a small fixture from above and behind will give nice depth to the speaker.
 
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Lighting for a webinar
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2014, 06:23:07 pm »

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Mike Sokol
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Lighting for a webinar
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2014, 06:34:20 pm »

Google "lighting a cooking show" for some ideas.

Hmmm.... That's a good idea. Here's one I found that's pretty interesting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvN8H0w8t60

I'll keep looking around, but perhaps I'm on the right track.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2014, 06:37:26 pm by Mike Sokol »
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Glenn James

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Re: Lighting for a webinar
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2014, 07:35:28 pm »

At least with video you have an opportunity to experiment.
I would light the green background separately from behind you and try not to cast any shadows on it. An overhead light near your high camera angle and one either side of yourself, trying not to directly point at the green screen behind should hopefully give you a good depth of field and clear vision of what you are working on.
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Josh Daws

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Re: Lighting for a webinar
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2014, 07:41:04 pm »

i would just get a couple of small led par cans that you can color mix on...and then gel it with some diffusion and you are good to go....just keep the angles even either side, and everything will look great...
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Lighting for a webinar
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2014, 07:53:13 pm »

At least with video you have an opportunity to experiment.
I would light the green background separately from behind you and try not to cast any shadows on it. An overhead light near your high camera angle and one either side of yourself, trying not to directly point at the green screen behind should hopefully give you a good depth of field and clear vision of what you are working on.

How about using a Diva Ring light around the top video camera pointing straight down? That way I can get a nice flat light on the surface of the mixing board or whatever I'm spinning knobs on. It can be positioned slightly behind my head as I tend to set my top camera slightly over my shoulder. Then I can front light my face traditionally with an LED panel or some kind of diffused Lightbox one one side and a more focused light on the other side. Then instead of trying to do a perfect green screen, I could use a floor light straight with some sort of patterned diffuser?

Please excuse me if I'm not using all the correct terminology. I've done audio on a lot of video and film shoots and saw what the LD was doing, but I'm not sure of exactly what they were looking for in terms of intensity, contrast, shadows, etc... All I know is that when done properly, it was a beautiful thing to see on a spokesmodel. I just clipped the microphone in their cleavage and set the audio levels.  ::)

One of my photog buddies a long time ago told me that cameras were dumb, and the real art was in the lighting. He said if the set was lit properly, even a trained ape could push the button on the camera and get a decent shot. And I believe that made a lot of sense.
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Jerome Malsack

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Re: Lighting for a webinar
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2014, 10:01:43 am »

With the photography your getting very close on the lighting.  and using a 3 point lighting will help to get you into the pictures like your cooking demo.  Using the LED is good because it will give you a good balance in the colors.  If you use some incandescent lights you want to use the daylight and not the soft white.   Some of the lights will be off yellow on video from the lighting so the leds with the RGB mix will work better and cooler to the skin.  My halogen lamps can warm up a performer and get a good sweat going.   They are 30 watt with a 5 degree beam.   Some of the small par 38 LED have a narrow beam.   The Par 64 will have a choice for wide and narrow.  Take the wide if you can get them.   The diffusers will  help but you will loose some of the lumen  20 to 30 percent. 

If you watch the cooking show carefully you can look for the shadows around the hands and the cooking they were hard to find and very light.   Good lighting on that show. 
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Lighting for a webinar
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2014, 11:23:45 am »

If you watch the cooking show carefully you can look for the shadows around the hands and the cooking they were hard to find and very light.   Good lighting on that show.

One of the things I've just thought about is how to place something like a compressor on my table-top for making adjustments. I'm considering building a desk with a 19" rack opening that can be blocked off or opened up to insert the processor of choice with its faceplate at desktop level. That way I'm looking straight down at the compressor or graphic equalizer which would be lit and viewed by my overhead camera. When I don't need to show knobs and buttons on video, I can just drop in a wood block finished to match the table top. Table color is also important to think about. For instance, during my live seminars I like a white surface to display items such as microphones for the overhead camera. Since so much audio gear is flat-black, everything disappears on a black surface. So perhaps a matt-finished off-white desktop would be the best for these webinars.

Here's how I do the sky-cam thing right now using a PTZ camera on a custom mount with a tall mic-boom. This works great for anything I can thrown down on the table in front of me. So perhaps I just need to tweak that concept by adding a talking-head camera with teleprompter in front of me instead of a live audience.

I've also found in my limited experiments that having a video monitor of what the camera sees is important. That way I can view how my hands are being seen on-camera. In my live seminars I'm often looking right at the big video projection. And even the few times I've had a camera operator help me they couldn't give me immediate feedback of where to move my hands to stop casting shadows or whatever.

Fortunately the audio part of this is easy for me since that's the sort of thing I do for a living. It's the lighting and video camera part that's got me confused. I appreciate all the help and suggestions so far.   
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Mike Sokol
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Lighting for a webinar
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2014, 01:25:28 pm »

Here's what I just drew up to get my ideas down on paper. The rear/hair light and backdrop floor light are optional, but now I can see the proper way to mount the overhead camera and top light is by installing a pipe at ceiling height so I can experiment moving them forwards and backwards. Also, I'm thinking since this will be a one-man show that I need little tables to the left and right of me for video switcher and computer keyboard/mouse access. Plus I'm terrible at memorizing scripts, so tucking a teleprompter under the talking-head camera would save me a lot of grief. 

Any suggestions, or am I beginning to understand this?
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Jerome Malsack

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Re: Lighting for a webinar
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2014, 11:23:11 am »

You might want to look into the light stands 9 ft and a 10 foot truss. 

You might find them on used list around 80.  That would support the top light and camera well.
it would also work well for doing one or two backdrop lights from above and to the sides.

Teleprompter. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5_B8yksQmo

> http://www.firstsurfacemirrors.com/acrylicfirstsurfacemirrors.htm
>
> http://www.freetelepromptersoftware.com/speechteleprompter.htm
>
> with a 12 x 12  being 28 dollars  not a bad price.  one mic stand I have. 

Another one would be to use a thrift store monitor and allow an assistant to track and keep the monitor rolling.
I use html coded script and run the IE with 200 percent increase on fonts that are 16 and 14. 
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Jerome Malsack

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Re: Lighting for a webinar
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2014, 11:42:57 am »

One other consideration would be two T stand light poles with the top bar removed and replaced with a long pipe between.

Leave the T connect on the top to help with the pipe between.  The truss would be the safest way because you will
have the loading and weight allowed. 

« Last Edit: February 05, 2014, 12:01:05 pm by Jerome Malsack »
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Lighting for a webinar
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2014, 08:17:53 pm »

Teleprompter. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5_B8yksQmo

> http://www.firstsurfacemirrors.com/acrylicfirstsurfacemirrors.htm
>
> http://www.freetelepromptersoftware.com/speechteleprompter.htm
>
> with a 12 x 12  being 28 dollars  not a bad price.  one mic stand I have. 

The DIY teleprompter stuff looks pretty cool. Thanks...
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Mike Sokol
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Re: Lighting for a webinar
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2014, 08:17:53 pm »


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