View Full Version : Stage Backdrop for Music Video - Need Help

07-10-2011, 04:36 PM
Hey guys,

I'm shooting a music video soon, which features a couple dancers performing on an indoor stage (photos of the stage attached).


I'm trying to decide how to punch up the stage backdrop, which is drab to say the least, and features a staircase jutting out from the back wall. What I really would like to do is hang a black curtain across the entire back wall, but I don't think that is going to be feasible. So far, my thought is to add some led light bars along the back wall like these:

and perhaps line the forefront of the stage with led strips like these:

A few things to note:

- as shown in the photos, the back wall is being lit by a lighting rig which is located behind where I was shooting from
- the stairs lead up to a second floor foyer that allows people to watch the stage below. So we could place lights up there and point them down to the stage.
- stage size is approximately 20' x 15'

Does anyone have any recommendations on how to improve the overall aesthetic of this stage (I have about $500 to spend on stage dressings)?

David W. Jones
07-10-2011, 05:23 PM
My initial thought would be inexpensive green screen paper on the back wall. Thai way you could replace it with anything in post.

07-10-2011, 05:48 PM
Interesting thought, but I think green screen would really limit the kind of camera movements and angles I want to use.

David W. Jones
07-10-2011, 08:01 PM
Interesting thought, but I think green screen would really limit the kind of camera movements and angles I want to use. Why would it limit your movement or angles? Ever see the movie 300? It's not like you have unlimited options as it is. After all it's a stage without much depth.

07-11-2011, 12:44 PM
Hey David - well I think my concerns are a combination of production and post production complexities that a green screen introduces. Let's say hypothetically I hired a graphic designer to develop a backdrop similar to this one:


- Probably my biggest concern is more lighting than camera related: how to properly light the green screen given the venue we'll be shooting in. The right side of the stage is up against a brick wall (you can see in one of the photos above), so it's going to be hard to evenly light the green screen. If the green screen is not evenly lit, it could be difficult to key out in post, and that's my greatest fear. I don't think I would be able to use the lighting rig (behind me where I took the photos) that is lighting the performers, since that would create shadows on the green screen.

- I've never tried cutting from close ups to wide shots using a green screen. My goal would be for this backdrop to look organic to the set, which means in AE I'm going to need to proportionately scale the backdrop for each shot. Not sure how challenging that would be.

- I've also never tried dolly shots on a green screen. Again I would need to be able to properly scale the backdrop through the duration of the dolly so that it looks organic to the set.

Still, using a green screen is an interesting solution, as well as a cost effective one. I'd be interested in seeing examples of music videos that have incorporated a green screen technique to create a photo-realistic stage backdrop. I'm sure it's been done, but nothing comes to mind.

07-11-2011, 11:24 PM
Yeah, greenscreen is flexible but can cause a lot of problems, especially if you haven't done it before.

I'd maybe go for something really cheap and nondescript, just enough to give some visual texture. E.g. cardboard cartons covered in newspaper? Or the specific song or music style may suggest something?