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holymexicobatman
04-07-2011, 07:20 PM
Greetings everyone!

I just signed on to be the media director for a non-profit organization based here in Kansas City, MO and my first assignment is quite a handful. We will be taping a 30-60 minute theological/spiritual teaching session every week as a regular webcast. This ministry is just starting out as a branch from a larger one and we will be setting up shop in an un-finished basement of the ministry leader's home. The space has exposed wooden/steel overhead beams, 2x4 wall studs around a concrete block outer wall and a smooth concrete floor. The total available floor space is about 10ft x 20ft with only about 7 feet of vertical clearance.

The good news is I already have alot of experience with video, editing, lighting, sound, etc. But I have absolutely no experience with designing a set! Are there any resources or places of inspiration for a n00b set designer? My boss want's a news-like setup so we can have a professional looking and consistent background to each teaching. <-- basically him sitting at a small desk with 3-point lighting and a nice light-colored trendy/modern backdrop. Considering we are shooting with 1/3 sensors from only about 8-10 feet away, trying to create depth with such limited space is going to be difficult but necessary. I don't mean to try and get anyone to design it for me, but I really just don't know where to begin.

Do I build wooden flats? try and utilize fabric? gobos? I just don't really even know where to begin. And of course, we're a non-profit so budget is a huge obstacle. I don't think my boss is wanting to spend more than a few hundred bucks on set materials...if that. =(

Any leads would be greatly appreciated!

RyanT
04-07-2011, 09:33 PM
Honestly I think the best way to make it look "expensive" is to lose the background all together. Just go with a white backdrop behind him and call it a day. I feel like anything you try and do will probably end up looking cheap.

I feel like this will probably be a tough sell, but give it some thought!

If you're looking for inspiration, look at other things that are similar. See what they do. It doesn't have to be a spiritual thing, just look for online web seminars or weekly educational podcasts and see what they do.

clang
04-07-2011, 09:44 PM
The classic plain black background is also very effective.

Hmm, if you have any greenscreen experience, a flat green background would also be worth considering - that way you can shove in any background you like. But greenscreen can be a can of worms.

The presenter will only be visible above a desk? Then a classic newsreader set will probably suit: plain desktop, neutral background, nothing to draw the eye away from the presenter. And if you shoot some scenes with the presenter to one side of the frame, you can add a fake 'tv screen' on the other side in post production, as used in many tv news shows. Watch as many different news shows as you can, see what you like and don't like.

I'd avoid a 'character' set, e.g. a fake comfortable lounge or den - it will look great for some things but get annoying/boring real fast, and be a pain to change.

holymexicobatman
04-08-2011, 10:29 AM
I'm thinking the classic black backdrop could be a good idea. I definately don't want to go with a greensceen for two reasons: 1) It could easily look really cheesy for this application, and 2) I want to do everything on-set/in-camera as much as possible so that our workflow has the least amount of post-production steps as possible. I doubt we'll use the image box floating next to his head since that really would be tv news-ish. Let me clarify, we don't want this to look like a tv news program--it's a teaching webcast. We just want it to look clean, coporate, and simplistic. I think also maybe the desktop and neutral backdrop color would be good too.

What about using a plain light solid color backdrop and then maybe throwing a single light on to it with a very soft and abstract patterns on it for some depth/texture? Something like out-of-focus circle clusters...Just thinking out loud here...

Brickhouse Media
04-10-2011, 10:29 AM
The lighting would be a simple and effective alternative to any type of compositing. From a budget standpoint it might make the most sense to start out with that methodology.

holymexicobatman
04-13-2011, 05:23 PM
The lighting would be a simple and effective alternative to any type of compositing. From a budget standpoint it might make the most sense to start out with that methodology.

Agreed!

RyanT
04-13-2011, 09:28 PM
I'm thinking the classic black backdrop could be a good idea. I definately don't want to go with a greensceen for two reasons: 1) It could easily look really cheesy for this application, and 2) I want to do everything on-set/in-camera as much as possible so that our workflow has the least amount of post-production steps as possible. I doubt we'll use the image box floating next to his head since that really would be tv news-ish. Let me clarify, we don't want this to look like a tv news program--it's a teaching webcast. We just want it to look clean, coporate, and simplistic. I think also maybe the desktop and neutral backdrop color would be good too.

What about using a plain light solid color backdrop and then maybe throwing a single light on to it with a very soft and abstract patterns on it for some depth/texture? Something like out-of-focus circle clusters...Just thinking out loud here...

I used to have this idea...but I found that every time I tried it, it ended up looking no good. I'd just go with a solid color, especially if you want it to look clean, corporate, and simplistic.

But yeah, I would just get a white seamless and test things out. You can always nix your background lighting if you don't like it.

David W. Jones
04-14-2011, 04:57 AM
Skip the set which will get boring after the second use and select a location each week somewhere in your community.

holymexicobatman
04-14-2011, 07:18 AM
Skip the set which will get boring after the second use and select a location each week somewhere in your community.

I'm afraid the time and energy to do that every single week for the next 2-5 years would prove itself impractical. We're planning on shooting, editing, and uploading all from the same room so as that we can keep our sanity. =)

holymexicobatman
04-14-2011, 07:24 AM
I used to have this idea...but I found that every time I tried it, it ended up looking no good. I'd just go with a solid color, especially if you want it to look clean, corporate, and simplistic.

But yeah, I would just get a white seamless and test things out. You can always nix your background lighting if you don't like it.

You know, you're probably right...It's just not as fun or impressive. =) But I may try the homemade cyc and play around and if it fails miserably--well, i tried. Also, I'll be posting pictures of the setup and maybe then it'll be easier to give specific pointers.

So at this point it look's like I'm still up in the air about which lights/fixtures to use. Considering we already have 4 or 5 clamp lights, I may just throw them up there first and see what it looks like and what we're dealing with considering the amount of light we need, control that we need, and color temp that works the best. I think once the set is built/assembled and I can see what crummy clamps look like then we'll make a decision from there.

Stay tuned, I'll be posting pictures probably sometime next week...

clang
04-14-2011, 12:43 PM
The other advantage of a white(ish) background is that you can put some colour filters on your lights to make the background change colour easily - but be careful not to let that light spill onto your foreground presenter too much.

morgan_moore
04-14-2011, 01:53 PM
You dont mention how many people

Just one?

I will throw something into the party

Depth of field

You want your subject distant from the background

The more tele your lens the smaller the BG needs to be

put the camera wirht at the back, then the subejct maybe 2/3

Your BG is hopefully now out of focus

this gets more complex if you are gong to try and liven the monontony by cutting to a second angle at any point

I think your Gobo concept (pattenr on the wall) is a good one

You could even have some sort of logo projected on the wall

with this telphoto set up it wil go nice and soft

Size and distance are king in studios to my experience

S

holymexicobatman
04-14-2011, 02:55 PM
You dont mention how many people

Just one?

I will throw something into the party

Depth of field

You want your subject distant from the background

The more tele your lens the smaller the BG needs to be

put the camera wirht at the back, then the subejct maybe 2/3

Your BG is hopefully now out of focus

this gets more complex if you are gong to try and liven the monontony by cutting to a second angle at any point

I think your Gobo concept (pattenr on the wall) is a good one

You could even have some sort of logo projected on the wall

with this telphoto set up it wil go nice and soft

Size and distance are king in studios to my experience

S

Definitely! I was actually already planning on putting the camera as far back as possible for that exact reason.

Here's a screen shot of the early stuff we've been doing prior building a set:
http://ploader.net/files/c739426e9289d874ce6585185db4160e.JPG
This is just using three clamp lights with the cheapest incandescent bulbs we could find and some diy in-line dimmers.

morgan_moore
04-14-2011, 03:32 PM
I think thats quite a nice Bacgkround!

If you got well away from it (blur) and got rid of the white book

16:9 is terrible for heads, Id close in a little on the subject

or pull out to see his hands

Or both

clang
04-15-2011, 04:15 PM
Yeah, if you don't want the audience paying attention to the background, and I'm guessing you don't, then get it out of focus. it will look perfectly natural, because our natural vision works by focusing at one particular distance and thus blurring everything else. As far as set design goes, it does unfortunately require a relatively 'deep' set (a fair distance between presenter and background), which is a pain if you're tight on space. i suggest doing some experiments with the space you'll be in and the camera you intend using.