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Satirical news show in a tight space

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    Satirical news show in a tight space

    Hi everyone,

    I'm currently working on a satirical news show where we'll be filming in a fairly tight space. I'm converting a small room in a house into the studio we'll use to film the show in.

    I want to keep things fairly simple. The focus should be on the actor hosting the show. It will consist mostly of him talking to camera in a fairly tight shot and regularly cutting to narrated VT. I don't expect I'll be able to afford or pull off wide shots seeing as the space is limited, so I'm looking for some inspiration/ideas about how best to pull this off.

    Ideally I'd like the look to somehow exaggerate the 'drama' and somber tone news programmes tend portray.

    The Day Today is one of the inspirations for the show:

    If you jump to around the 2.29 mark you'll see the type of shot we are likely to mostly film in.

    I'm wondering what type of backdrop/lighting effects (or perhaps green screen) we could use to make this look like its 'news'?

    That old video is holding up good content wise...
    News usually means wrinkle-free flat high-key lighting, so for a small set two large soft lights and a hard backlight might suffice.
    Depending on how small your room really is (and how high), you will have to try to get shadows casted by the anchorperson off the background.
    If budget allows you could create sth in Photoshop, blur it slightly and have it large-format plottet.
    You already mentioned green screen, probably part of most news sets these days, there's enough on youtube to cover your bases.
    (And probably cheaper/more versatile in the end than building or printing a background set.)
    Don't forget sound, if you are in a small room with nothing much inside, bring some sound blankets and maybe a thick carpet.
    Lastly: Use a camera known to deliver high-res images and shoot in 50/60p.
    Last edited by Spartacus; 03-13-2020, 02:46 AM.


      Thanks for the advice.

      I think green screen may be the way to go. But also wondering if a dark solid color backdrop would work with a light/s and GOBO shot at it would look good? I'm not sure what sort of material I would need to do that, or whether I should just do it with green screen.


        I thought that these days most real news shows just stuck a huge flat screen monitor behind their hosts and fed it pre-built video, as there's less to go wrong than green-screening - that may also be true for filming a fake news show. Although admittedly, green screen does make it easier to change your mind about a background in post.


          Not enough in the budget for a huge video wall. I'm veering towards using a real set - a printed backdrop of some sort.

          Let's say I wanted a background with a world map on it (like this: - probably darker than this, but similar colours. What material would be best to print this on so I can light from the front?


            Newsroom backdrops are available. Search for 'newsroom backdrop' - here's an example

            Also search 'photography backdrops'. Get one custom made.
            Last edited by Paul F; 03-15-2020, 09:56 AM.
            Awarded Best Clear Com Chatter, 2001, PBS Television



              Will be getting something custom made I think. Is a vinyl backdrop the way to go?


                Talk to your supplier. We've used vinyl. Of course, the more matte it is, the less issue you will have with your lights, which can be quite a problem, especially when you have the backdrop so close to the talent. You can count on having problems if you don't sort it out in advance. Set the lights, cameras, talent, and backdrop in 3D software. You will be able to see what your lighting looks like on your talent and what reflections you have off the backdrop. Your lights are going to bounce off the background. There's no avoiding it. It's just a matter of how matte the backdrop is.

                Better yet, test it in the room with what you have. Set up whatever light you have now (even a house light) and put a sheet of the least glossy poster board you can find behind the talent. It doesn't have to be full size. You can move it around. Set up the camera and move the light around to see how it interplays with the reflections on the background. You can get an idea of how flat the finish needs to be to get the results you want. This way you will understand the lighting and background issues without spending a lot of money and guessing.
                Awarded Best Clear Com Chatter, 2001, PBS Television