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Top Down Infinite Black Lighting

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Hi lighting experts!


Thanks for always being so generous with your knowledge and experience on this forum and I've learnt so much from all of you.


I have a shoot coming up for which I would like to get your help in reviewing my lighting plan.


The concept is to have atheletes in motion against an infinite black background as in the first couple attached images (IMG 7502 and IMG 7504)


I've only ever done infinite black shoots in a blackout studio but due to production constraints this will have to be done on location - a multi sports hall and a air rifle range (IMG 7500 is the hall, I couldn't upload the image of the range but it will be windowless so that's easier for me)


The athlete in the hall will be a table tennis player and as you can see, while the hall is fairly large, there are windows above head all around and the shoot will have to be done during day time. My plan to combat this is to shoot from one corner of the hall and have 3 black background drapes (those typically used in photo shoots) form a cove around the subject. I was then planning to boom a 4' Kino Tegra (any practical ideas how to do this? We don't have access to a proper c boom) slightly behind the subject and bounce light back into the subject using a polyform core placed below camera or on the table where the shot size allows. I'm also looking to accent the subject with some colored backlights and was thinking of another Tegra back left/right with Lee steel blue / bright pink, flagging off spill using 2 floppies and/or the honeycomb.


Do you guys think this would work or do you have any suggestions on better ways to approach this situation? Thanks so much as always!




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You'll need to keep the black backdrop far from the subject and key light, otherwise they will expose on camera. Of course, that can be corrected by crushing the shadows in post, but that'll also crush the shadows on your subject.


Furthermore, you'll want to "snoot" or "skirt" the key light. I also recommend using the "eggcrate" or "louver" on the Kino to make the soft light directional. Combing the skirting and eggcrate should help reduce light spillage, but keeping the black back drops at a distance will also help.


I could see a potential problem with those windows your location; the light spillage from the sun may actually appear on your set (in the form of soft sunlight bouncing from the ceiling). If possible, I recommend a further 20'x20' solid to go overhead your entire set. 2x Highrollers and at least six sandbags should get the frame high enough. If you can't afford the additional solid, then I recommend getting a far brighter key light (which opens up a whole other can of worms)


As for rigging your key, it sounds like you'll need to do a menace arm set-up. The Tegra is rather heavy, so you'll need to properly rig the menace arm; I'm sure a search of the forms or google search and show you how to safely do it.

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