I have gotten rather tired of setting up and breaking down equipment with each set of tutorials that we record. So, this past week I have been wanting to setup an actual area in our studio for recording tutorials for slrlounge.com. Since most of our 3,000 square foot studio is already accounted for, my partners Justin and Chris laughed sarcastically as they said, “well, I guess that leaves you with the back garage door entrance for your little recording studio.”
So, with a very limited scene, and a budget of about $150 for lighting gear (which pretty much limits us to Home Depot or Lowes lighting), I began putting my scene together. This tutorial is the written version of the behind the scenes video on the SLR Lounge YouTube Channel. Enjoy!
Don’t Fight the Scene While Finding the Vision
Whenever I am setting up a new scene for a shoot, regardless of it being still shots or video, I am always doing the same thing. The first thing I look for are the existing strengths of the scene, or in other words what can I actually use in my shots. If I am shooting in a warehouse, but I need it to look like a garden, well, then I need to bring in a lot of extra props, lighting and gear to pull of that effect. The less I need to change, the easier my setup will be. So, I always try to use the existing scene rather than fight it.
I think an industrial warehouse background would work very well for these photography and shooting tutorials, so I am going to play to the scenes strengths. I love the fact that I have daylight coming through that window right above the door. I plan on using it as a rim light on my subject, as well as using the daylight to create a nice color graduation from the other tungsten lights. The goal is to create a controlled mixed temperature environment to enhance the drab colors of the scene which you see below.
1. Setting Up the Background
I felt like the old palettes sitting against the right wall would make a great addition to spicing up my background, which is going to be the garage door. So I moved six of them into place, 3 sitting on top of each other on the right, and 3 leaning against the garage door to the left.
2. Placing the Subject’s Chair
To allow me to build the lights for the scene, I needed to know where my subject would be positioned. So, I placed the subjects chair in the scene where I approximately wanted him/her.
3. Adding a Background Light
For our first light, I am placing a 500 Watt Workforce Halogen Work Light ($15 at Home Depot) right behind the palettes pointing directly up to back light the palettes as well as create a nice bit of directional light on the background.
4. Adding the Left Side Tungsten Rim Light
For my second light, I am hanging a 250 Watt Workforce Halogen Work Light ($10 at Home Depot) right on the chain hanging to the left of the palettes. These lights come equipped with clamps, making them quite easy to hang on their own. I am going to use this light as a rim light on the subjects left side.
5. Adding the Key or Main Light
For my key light, I am using a modeling light as a place holder light. When I created this tutorial, I ran out of work lights and didn’t want to make another trip to Home Depot. So, I used a modeling light as a place holder. However, for the final in camear image that you see, I did actually go get another 500 Watt Workforce Halogen light to replace the modeling light.
In front of that light, I placed a scrim simply to act as a soft box. Without the scrim, the light was a little hard causing the subject’s skin to appear more oily.
6. Adding the Right Side Rim Light
As previously mentioned, I want that daylight coming through the right side to add a nice mixed temperature look to our scene. It is going to help in adding color into this rather boring scene. So, this time I picked up a Husky Daylight Balanced Work Light ($50 at Home Depot) to add to the strength of that window light.
Normally, I would just open the door to add additional window light. However, because there are trucks and cars outside of our warehouse area, it would have been too loud to record with the door open. In addition, the Husky work lights will allow us to continue recording regardless of time of day, we would just need to add one extra Husky to get the exact same effect during a night time shoot.
7. Finishing Touches
To make sure the back left tungsten rim light doesn’t move, I taped the chain to the wall. In addition, I purchased a little Duct Connector ($10 at Home Depot) to act as a little snoot in directing the light more towards the subject and away from the walls.
8. Room Lights Off, Ready to Record
I now turned off the warehouses fleurescent ambient lights, and here is our final setup. Our lighting gear including the scrim cost less than $125 in total (remember, the model light was replaced with another 500 watt work light). We are now ready to record.
9. Final Shot in Camera
Here is a frame from our final video showing what our scene looks like in camera. Notice how the daylight rim light on the right of the subject, as well as the daylight colors hitting the back right of the background add a really nice color mixture to a scene that otherwise would have just been pure tungsten.
Not bad considering what we had to work with, and considering the fact we used Home Depot work lights for everything. Hope you guys enjoyed!
To watch this full behind the scenes video, please go to SLR Lounge.