Thursday, April 14, 2016

04/14/2016: Storytime Pup - How We Light Up The Pup

     When I first began to shoot some test videos, they looked terrible.  They were dark and grainy.  I was shooting in 720p which made up for some of that.  I ordered a new Nikon HD 1080p video camera.  I shot some new video.  It looked better but just didn't have that crisp clear quality.  Why?  It was the lighting.
     I shot some green screen tests and the backgrounds were grainy and I was getting a "ghosting" effect in some areas.  I figured this was also a factor of lighting.  Actually I "hoped" it was a lighting factor.  If I couldn't get quality video with good green screen chroma-key, I would have to scrap the project.
     I had ordered a light kit which had not yet arrived.  Once it arrived, I set things up.  I used 3 45w 120v Photo Lights with umbrella reflectors.  I then shot some new test video.  What a huge difference.  The lighting was so important.  The images and colors were now so crisp and clear.  I set-up the green screen and shot some more.  I imported the video and some backgrounds into Sony Vegas.  I applied the green screen effects and the backgrounds looked good.  But, I was still getting that "ghosting" effect in some areas.  My son Colin actually discovered it was from the shadows that I was creating against the green screen which was resulting in areas that were a bit darker and were therefor not keying out correctly.
     I did a bit of research and found some articles on this.  What I needed was some additional lighting on the green screen itself.  So, I headed down to home depot and bought two 150 watt incandescent clamp lights and two 60 watt equivalent daylight spiral CFL bulbs.  I clamped the lights above the subject and pointed them at the green screen.  Bingo, the shadows disappeared. I shot some new video, imported into Sony Vegas and applied the chromakey to the green screen background again.  The backgrounds were now perfect.  It looked like I was reading a book at the beach on a sunny day.  I was very happy because I knew I had what I needed to shoot great video.
    Even though you may have uploaded 1080p video, some people may still be watching at lower quality.  That makes sound quality the next most important piece.

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(Next - Crystal Clear Sound)

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