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tim ottowitz

Backdrop lighting

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Hi everyone,


i am a doc camera operator and normally don't have any studio work. Now a client wants to get some interviews done and only has a small room without windows, around 6x8 meters in size and ugly wall colors.


I could create a nice picture with a solid paper backdrop in let's say a darker blue or red and big soft light source and neg fill for the talking but i feel for doing something different. I am thinking about printing a big backdrop of an open industrial space with lot's of light and placing the person in front of it but i never tried to use a photo background. Is it even possible to make them look real? I think about using space lights to evenly light the background and then use the same setup as mentioned above fo the talking head. Daylight, joker 800 book light on the talking head having chest and head in the shot, centered. I am just afraid that the background will look articifical. Can someone let me know about specifics of making this setup appear like a real location?


Style of the interviews will be similar to this:


Just that this is a very low key look while i have to go for a more high key (hence the industrial daylight background).


Thanks a ton for any help!

Edited by tim ottowitz

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having the backdrop far back enough to throw it a touch out of focus would be a start to making it believable, but even better would be that your print comes from an already out of focus shot... If your subject were actually in the space you would be throwing the background out I assume, so the backdrop should copy this fall-off. The worst is seeing a backdrop with everything in focus.


Follow this with really even lighting across it, with no funny reflections. definitely a matte print.


The quality of the light in the industrial space needs to be somewhat re-created for your subject; similar key source etc.


Thats my ten cents. Hope it helps

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It could work, but if the picture you chose had hot windows in it, like the one in the link, you would naturally expect them to be the brightest part of the frame, which might be a problem when you're trying to balance foreground and background exposure.

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