top of page

Cyclorama or your own infinity

I was sitting on my laptop and tapping away the designs of my first web site when a producer turn to me on the right and said - " Radi if you are to light white infinity background what would you need. Write me a shopping list."

You go it buddy!

But before we do that we have to educate ourselfs. So I had to find out how other people have done it and what is to all that infinity business. And basicaly Apple started the whole trend with their infinity look to their "Get a MAC" commercials in the 2006 (wow that was 10 years ago).

It turns out that lighting one of those backgrounds if not that different than lighting a green screen (see I have done that) but a little more simple. See the key is that you want to have your background to have more light than your subject you are photographing than you just expose your camera for the subject and that will make your infinity look in the background.

I know that the client has 3 same softboxes and would love to put them in use on that setup so I had something to start from and by using what they already had I came up with something like this:

The reason of the kinoflow is because those lights give you soft light on a larger area thus killing the sharp contrast that you don't need for those corporate videos. And than - "Radi, why not the normal - key light with a fill on the other side of the face." Well, well educated friend because of the eyes. When you record a video like that is like taking away the hearing of someone - he will start noticing Everything! And when you put two lights like that even though might be really nice the eyes on the subjects might become something like this:

You can clearly see two light sources. I find that for very distracting and I stop listening to what is being said immediately.

But when I went in the studio to do some test on a white background sheet that I found just sitting there I found a few things that have to be taken in mind - exposure and color temperature.

The first test I did I used those old photo lights that we had laying around the studio - super mega hyper warm. And what I put on my face was a tungsten soft box. All that created problems because you want your white infinity to be ... well white so you set your white balance to your white backdrop. And by doing so I ended up with that image.

Bad! Just terrible. The face and the background are exposed almost the same amount also I look more like Mr. Freeze than an exited DP.

So things had to change. I pulled the two softboxes we had and set them up for the background to light the white sheet on both sides. Also I mounted a 2 bank 4ft florescent light on two stands for my talent light and pulled my camera away as possible. balanced the camera for florescent and fired a shot.

Now that is a 200x cropped picture that I cut out of the whole image, we are getting there. I can see it guys ... and I am not too worried - the background behind my legs is not white nor light. That is because getting those sweet full body shots in the white infinity are light with a huge overhead rig that gives you a bright light everywhere. I. I am trying to cheat the effect. But what that test give me is that by having a little less light on the subject that the background and than just exposing for the subject rather the background. That blows the background to more white and you are a happy DP.

So everything that I have learned so far - stay at mid shot for best results, try to keep color temps the same and over expose your background. With all that I made a few more tests of that setup before I wrote down my shopping list for that studio. Here is the lighting plan for the two following shots the only thing I changed is the distance of the the k-light from my face.

Now this post is to be continued but the list I came up with is as follows:

1. 4 bank Kinofflo

2. 2x C-stands + long arm;

3. A few extension drums;

4. Sandbangs - keep everything safe.

5. 1x soft box - this one is optional depending on the location (did I mentioned I haven't seen it yet)

So I will keep you posted with the build and what happens with that studio.

bottom of page