How To Light Green Screen Series: Lighting With Just Two Lights

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How To Light Green Screen Series: Lighting With Just Two Lights

When lighting a 12’x20’ or smaller green screen you want to keep it simple. Going with a 2 light setup can save time, space and manpower on scenarios with limited budgets. With there being so many different types lights out there it really comes down to what you can get your hands on.

Always moving 136 mph, Shane scans the set and evaluates the lights

Whether it be an open face, fresnel, fluorescent or LED light, you’ve got to understand that they each have their own characteristics and react differently in each situation. Learning their pros and cons is the first step in the process of getting the most out of your green screen.

Cineo HS2s with Green Phosphor Panels rigged onto the Rock’N’Roll Truss

Now if you have the budget and space for some extra tools on set, you’ll absolutely want to try for the rock’n’roll truss as support for your lights. The ideal situation would be to have one (1) piece of rock’n’roll truss supported on two (2) material lifts. This will free up space on the floor and give you the most lighting control. From there you can start rigging your lights from above.

The Cineo HS2 fell in beautifully with a 58% blast onto the green screen

When it comes to quick and cost effective situations, my gaffer and I always go for Cineo HS2s. We place two of these on the truss and they do absolute wonders. With their DMX capabilities and full control on the light levels, they help us save time from having to flick switches on the ballast and reorienting to get the most out of them. 

Kino Flo 4’ 4Bank vs. Openface Arri 750Ws vs. Mole Richardson Fresnel 407

With the Cineo HS2s, you get an amazing spread that is even and consistent on the green screen, something that you won’t get when working with the Kino-Flo 4ft 4Banks, Arrilite 750w Plus or the Mole-Richardson 407 1K Fresnels. Those lights will need some extra finessing and lighting control to get them into the pocket. Nevertheless, these are the best alternatives when going down the endless ladder of lights. So, understand how they work to get the job done.

This concludes Part 4 of our green screen lighting demonstration. Let’s go over what we’ve learned.

  • Working with smaller 12×20 swath of green screen  
    • Quicker and easier
    • Try to light from higher up to get into the cove of the green screen
  • Lighting with Kino Flos
    • Make sure your lights are equidistant from the center to ensure they are evenly spread
    • We measure them out to 12’ 6” away from the screen
      • If one light is moved in even just a foot closer than the other, the light will be uneven
    • They are unable to light the cove correctly
      • Need elevated lights for it to work
    • With just two Kinos you are unable to keep the lights balanced without the light falling off the edges
  • Lighting with Open Face 750 Lights
    • 12 feet away from the screen with open barn doors at full flood
    • The lighting is too uneven and inconsistent
    • Fans out across the bottom in a V
    • Creates crisscrosses that are extremely difficult to deal with
    • Only solution that can counteract the crisscrosses is rigging a light from above
  • Lighting with Fresnel 407 Lights
    • In the past I have moved these back further than I had the Open Face 750s
      • So they don’t flood out
    • Lighting with hard sources increases your limitations
    • It’s difficult to get the correct angle on the Fresnels to create the half single vibe
    • The middle looks nice but the left and right edges are hot
    • If I back it up enough, I then use a half single scrim to even out the sides
    • Even through moving the light back we would still get the crisscross effect
      • Wouldn’t be able to shoot Monette from head to toe because of inconsistent lighting
  • Lighting with Cineo Lights
    • The best option of our lighting sources for an even light
    • A beautiful, even spread
    • If we wanted to, we could run the Cineos with Tungsten and still get the same consistency

See you next time,

-Shane Hurlbut, ASC

All videos were edited on HP Z840 workstations using HP Z24x DreamColor monitors.



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