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lighting possible to get a dark background with diffuse light?

Hi guys, I'm not very experienced in video things... I'm a musician who shoots his own videos (most of the time).

Since covid we've been doing live stream shows from our small home studio, and I'd like to improve the looks slightly. Have done a few different lighting schemes, but in general all lights (and the camera too) are hung from the ceiling to save precious floorspace in the our small home studio.

I've been mainly using tungsten colored LED bulbs inside home depot style work lights with paper towels clipped on the front for some diffusion. It works well enough and it's cheap. The camera is a sony A6500.

What I'd like is to get a lighting set up that helps the back wall of the studio appear a little darker. It's kind of busy background with guitars hanging on the wall and keyboards and stuff. So lighting the subjects while decreasing the light going to the background would help the look quite a bit i think.

So....is it possible to get narrower beams of diffused light from my work lights? or is a narrow beam of diffused light just an oxymoron? We've lit ourselves for other videos with some harder PAR style lights, but I don't think it's as flattering, though it does tend to minimize the background since the subject is lit so much brighter.

Any ideas? thanks in advance!

Geoff

PS - below is a quick sketch of the setup - performing towards the back of the room, with the camera roughly in the middle, and a (usually) 2 or 3 point lighting setup with the aforementioned renegade home depot lights. The room itself is about 10' x 14'

View attachment 1623
 
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sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
Research flags, snoot box, negative fill.
There are some kind of grid on aputure brand lights too that are diffuse but still prevent spread.
 
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Yes, you can keep light off the back wall by using "flags", which in your case can be pieces of cardboard hung from the ceiling about two feet in front of your lights. Move the cardboard higher or lower to block the light from hitting the back wall, yet still lighting the people.
 
Tips: Hang the lights as close to the ceiling as possible. The cardboard can hang from string. Your cardboard "flags" are used to cast a shadow on the back wall, so you will have to move the cardboard up, down, and sideways to get the shadow where you want it. You will probably need to have the cardboard about 2 feet from the light, otherwise your people will not be lit. When you are testing where to place the cardboard, turn out all of the lights except for the one LED light that you are working with. This will enable you to see exactly where the shadow is on the wall. Bring the shadow down to the base of the wall, but not on the floor. Your cardboard should be about 3 feet wide and about 18 inches high. You will need flags for every LED light that you are using. Also, while you are filming, turn off all of the room lights except for the LEDs...use ONLY the lights that are flagged.

Another method of lighting the room is to light the room from the SIDES rather than from the back. But you will still need flags to keep light off of the back wall. Have fun...
 
Tips: Hang the lights as close to the ceiling as possible. The cardboard can hang from string. Your cardboard "flags" are used to cast a shadow on the back wall, so you will have to move the cardboard up, down, and sideways to get the shadow where you want it. You will probably need to have the cardboard about 2 feet from the light, otherwise your people will not be lit. When you are testing where to place the cardboard, turn out all of the lights except for the one LED light that you are working with. This will enable you to see exactly where the shadow is on the wall. Bring the shadow down to the base of the wall, but not on the floor. Your cardboard should be about 3 feet wide and about 18 inches high. You will need flags for every LED light that you are using. Also, while you are filming, turn off all of the room lights except for the LEDs...use ONLY the lights that are flagged.

Another method of lighting the room is to light the room from the SIDES rather than from the back. But you will still need flags to keep light off of the back wall. Have fun...
Thanks! I've got my lights hanging from the ceiling already, but I can definitely get them higher, like right up against it. I can see how that would make the geometry easier... Can try and get them closer to the sides for the same reason!
 
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