Camera & Lighting

Client Work – Rocky Horror

On of our tasks for camera and lighting was to record the performing arts student singing a song from the ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’. The concept was to record them singing and then just record their lips singing so we could edit out everything except their lips for a music video just like in the original video for the show. There were nine students in total to film so we positioned each of them in front of the camera individually so we could centre them perfectly to make it easier to edit and colour grade in After Effects. Me and Bradley were in charge of filming the student using the JVC camera, so we had to speak to everybody individually and ensure they stayed in shot. The JVC camera records straight to tape so after we finished filming we converted the files to MT2 format. For the recording of the audio, we plugged in the microphone to an M box that was hooked up to the Mac and we used Pro Tools to record the singing.

After everybody was filmed and recorded, the next task was to mask around the singers lips in After Effects. This proved to be very difficult because the masking had to be done frame by frame so took a long time, but Richard and Joey did well to mask out the lips by changing the channel to green to bring out the strongest colours, like we do with a green screen.

Rocky Horror Edit

The filming and recording of the students went very well, the only difficulty on this project was the keying and post production, although Joey took charge of this and managed to deliver a good final product as shown below:

Finished Project by Richard Holmes

Finished Project by Joey Lever

I enjoyed this project because the entire group got a chance to work closely together. Joey and Richard did especially well for the post production work and delivering a final product that we were all pleased with.

Client Work – Studio Photoshoot

On Friday May 17th we were asked to set up and photograph a shoot for the hair and make-up department using the green screen.

I arrived at college just before 9.30 and met a few other people in the studio. Our first port of call was to collect and set up the equipment. So we assigned a small group of people to fetch the lighting and gels from C19 whilst others went and retrieved the camera and tripods that we had booked out from the staff room. We chose to use two Canon 550D’s as opposed to the 7D so we could get close ups and mid shots simultaneously.

After all the equipment was in the studio, we began the set up. (Evidenced below) To light the set, we decided to use two flow lights at the back of the studio pointing toward the green screen, with two 300w and two 650w lights pointing at the screen to avoid shadowing on the subject.

After the lighting was set up, I then began to set up the camera and tripod with Joey, experimenting with ISO and aperture settings in order to obtain the best results ready for the shoot. By the time we had set up all the equipment, the hair and makeup department (and their models) where ready for the shoot. One by one, the models came through and were positioned by ourselves and the makeup department.  Myself (pictured above) and Joey took charge of the morning shoot, taking the photographs and ensuring we had the best pictures for post production. The pictures below showcase the models and their costumes.

My camera and point of view:



Below is a selection of the photographs we took on the day.

A Guide on the Canon 550D

The dial of the 550d:

Canon 550d

After turning the camera on, using the switch pictured above, choose what mode you would like to set the camera to by using the wheel (above). The functions for each mode are as follows:

A-DEP – This is Automatic Depth of Field, usually used for taking pictures of landscape, groups of people and items at different distances from the camera. The camera uses an autofocus system that measures the distance of objects, it then tries to get as much as possible in focus by using automatically controlled aperture and shutter speed.

M – This setting is Manual. This allows the user to have complete and full control over ll aspects of the camera, including aperture, shutter speed and ISO. This is difficult to perfect but when used well, can provide the perfect effects and lighting for the user.

AV – Aperture Priority (Aperture Value), this mode allows the user to control lens aperture, whilst the camera chooses the most suitable shutter speed for the setting. Using this setting allows you to obtain a blurry background or to have a sharp focus. For example:


Note: How the raindrops are in focus, whereas the background is blurred.

TV – Shutter Priority (Time Value), this setting is basically the opposite of the AV setting, allowing the user to control shutter speed, whilst the camera selects the most suitable aperture. The difference in shutter speed can be seen below:


Note: When the aperture is set at 1/160 the water is clear and focused, whereas at 1/3 there is motion blur.

P – Program. This setting allows the camera to set the aperture and shutter speed to obtain a good exposure of the subject. This setting is best used for shooting in casual environments, where you can make quick adjustments to ISO and white balance corrections.

CA – Creative Auto mode enables you to easily alter the cameras brightness, depth of field and colour settings. The camera does most of the work here, the default settings are identical to the full automatic mode so this mode is best for making slight alterations to the basic shooting mode.

Fully Automatic mode is the most basic setting. The camera takes care of all the settings allowing the user to simply point and shoot. All the AF points (below) will be in focus. Whilst this setting is easiest to use, you may not receive the full quality you want without making slight alterations.

AF points

No Flash – This setting is essentially the same as the fully automatic setting, except it disables the flash. This is best used in environments where flash photography is prohibited, or when capturing dark settings with ambient lighting. For example, candlelit settings:

candlelit photo


Portrait Mode – This setting is quite self-explanatory, best used for photographing human subjects, this setting blurs out the background to make the person in shot stand out in sharp focus. This setting also uses numerous settings to make flesh tones and hair look softer.

Landscape Mode – Again, a self explanatory mode that is best used for shooting wide scenery and night scenes. This setting gives out vibrant blues and greens, sharper than with the fully automatic setting. This mode also gives sharper focus to everything from near to far. Example below:


Close up mode. This is ideal for close up shots where detail is vital, or for shooting small objects such as flowers. This is the best setting for capturing detail as the camera will blur out the background, causing the close up object to appear much sharper and clearer than would be shown in the fully automatic mode.

Moving Subject (Sports Mode)- This setting is used for capturing moving subjects such as cars or people moving. The camera controls the shutter speed, ISO and white balance. The lighting optimiser and picture style are also set to standard.

Night Portrait Mode – This setting is best for shooting subjects at night time to obtain a natural looking background. The flash combined with a longer exposure makes for a brighter looking shot whilst the camera takes control of the ISO and white balance. See below for example:

night photography

Movie Recording – This mode is used for filming. Press the button with the red dot next to it to begin and stop recording, and use the lens’ manual zoom and focus to obtain the shot you want.

Equipment & Procedures


Main type of head on a tripod: – Pan and tilt head, can be locked (Do NOT move when locked down)

Do NOT over tighten the drag control            *Drag control adjusts tension

Most basic wheel mount – Dolly

Always be sure to check that the clip is on the head of the tripod, and always attach it to the head when you have finished filming.

Trip hazards are the most common health and safety risk to occur on production sites. Always be aware of exposed wires and/or lighting hazards. Be sure to highlight any wires that may be hazardous.

I (current) =Watts divided by Volts       e.g. 1000w/250v=4amps

3 lamps can be used per socket as a wall socket runs on 13 amps

When working in industrial environments, be aware of 3 phase power.  2 phases in an environment must be kept far away from another when using the power. Look for the safety tested sticker and find out when it was last checked, also be sure to locate all the fire assembly points before setting up.

Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety; however the Director is the key member in charge of risk assessments and the paperwork linked with it, unless otherwise specified.

Always wear helmets and heat proof gloves when rigging lights and keep all tapes in their boxes and NOT in the camera, this will avoid accidental loss of data.

In each camera case there should be;  the camera, a fire wire cable, a charger with mains cable, a battery and the camera must have the appropriate lens attached to it.

Depth of Field & Quantum Optics

DOF- Depth of field

Depth of field (DOF) is defined as the amount of the Mise en Scene in focus.

There are three main factors that are used to control depth of field.

1)      Aperture

2)      Focal Length

3)      Distance


Put simply, the smaller the aperture, the more extensive the depth-of-field. So if you want to draw attention to one particular aspect in your scene, a large aperture will allow you to have a sharp focus on a person or object whilst throwing the background out of focus. The aperture you set will depend on the lens you are using, but on a typical 50mm standard lens it will usually be f/1.7, f/1.8 or f/2.

Similarly, if you want to keep as much of your scenes in focus as possible, you should choose as small an aperture as possible depending on your lens – preferably f/16, or, if your lens allows it f/22.

Focal length

Using a wide angle lens will allow you to keep everything in focus and benefit from an extensive depth of field. The wider view you can get from your lens, the greater the depth of field.


This refers to the distance between the camera and the subject you are filming. The closer you get to your subject, the more limited the depth of field becomes. When shooting close-up subjects, your depth of field can extend to just a few millimetres in front of and behind your subject.

Shutter speed affects blur-motion. The longer time it is open, the more blur you leave.

Light grade chip then set luminescence to 50% will give aperture setting (e.g. F4) after that use light metre to find at ISO by fixing shutter and aperture. Use higher shutter speeds for fast moving objects.

1) 18% grey chip-> check new reflectors

2) Portable light

3) Scopes


As the electron drops down it produces a photon (Light particle), the faster the electron falls the greater the intensity (power) and the higher the frequency the difference in colour (depending on how fast the electron falls depends on the colour).

If material resonates at a lower or higher frequency-photons will travel through the material. If material resonates at the same frequency the photons will be absorbed. If electrons are held loosely the photons will reflect (Bounce off).


Image sensors convert photons to electrical energy

Quantum Optics - 1 Quantum Optics - 2

One, Two & Three Point Lighting

One/Two/Three Point Lighting Techniques


Single Point Lighting involves just one light. This would be illustrated as the key light.

The way in which we would utilise this light effectively would be to use a soft box in order to convert the light into a powerful diffusion light source.

Reflect the light off a white poly-board at a 45 degree angle adjacent to the talent in position.

Environment will enable: Reflective lighting techniques.

Black wrap- Black foil, used to wrap around a light to stop light spill dispersion.

Alternatively you could bounce the soft box directly off a light frame diffuser or another reflector to create a soft lighting effect and hence produce as much light as possible onto your subject.

A key light is the main light source that has the most influence on the subjects’ illumination; it also defines the visible lighting and shadows. This light is also the key factor in three point lighting techniques and normally has the strongest intensity out of all the three lights in the set up.

Set up behind the camera and out of frame; place the camera at a 45 degree angle in relation to the subject, the direct light will create a highlight on the side of the face. It may need diffusion or scrim to apply a soft lighting effect or to concentrate the light into a localised area of the subject within the frame. Key light intensity (approx 650/800W)


Two lighting techniques


Two Point Lighting set up: Used for interviews or presenting directly to the camera. This is called the cross lighting techniques and provides maximum effect in terms of light intensity. It produces a very flat look to the scene and to the subject. Consider highlights in the eyes and some light and shadow. The absence of contrast on the subjects face does not convey a natural or authentic look to the scene.

Secondary source of light: Fill light – used to eliminate shadows that are created by the key light, it will soften contrasts and make more of the subject visible by extending the illumination that the key light provides. Should be placed directly opposite the key light and can be raised to the height of the subject but should never be lower than the subjects’ shoulders.

Ambient lighting: This refers to overhead lighting present in most rooms, the primary way that a room is lit and provides good illumination. There are many examples of ambient lighting such as; a chandelier, ceiling mounted fixtures and the light on a ceiling fan.



Lighting Types:

Fresnel: – Mainstay of film work (Interior) power increased by stepped lens

Flood: – Basis of most background lighting, usually softened by use of a diffuser (CYC lights)

Pebble convex: – Same as a Fresnel but without stepped lens, causing a lower light output

Open face reflector (Redhead or blonde):- Portable lighting (500w Redheads and 2kw blondes) must be used with a scrim.

Spot light (Harmony light):- Mostly theatre, can be used in conjunction with gobo’s

HMI: – High powered portable light, special power supplies (10,000w, or 10kw)

Par can: – Mainstay of rock concerts, mostly used for background in TV

Flags: – Things placed in front of a light lens (i.e. twigs or cardboard with cut outs) hard to focus flags (Low budget make shift gobo’s)

Chiaroscuro: – (Light/dark) started with German expressionism.

Green Screen Set-Up

Camera and Lighting set up – April 11-12th


On the morning of April 11th, we were told that we had to set up and shoot a green screen shot for a showcase. We were not given individual jobs; instead, we worked as one group, with a few people setting up the lights whilst others set up and prepared the track, jib and camera. I helped to set up the track and jib in the studio whilst other members of the group went to collect lighting from C19. On return, I helped them to set up the lighting around the green screen. We arranged the flood lights evenly around the studio so that the green screen was evenly lit, we then put diffusers and daylight coloured gels on the lights to help create an even light on Craig (our subject) and the green screen.
Green Screen set up

After the lighting and track were set up, we attached the 7D to the pan head, with a shoulder mount containing a long life battery. Our working environment was good, we had music playing and communication between everybody was making it easy for us to set up relatively quickly. We took some test shots of Craig and the green screen and at first glance things seemed to look good, so we proceeded to pack away with the thought of finishing the filming and packing away the next morning. However upon the next morning we encountered a couple of problems, the camera didn’t have an SD card to film on and the lens we were using was now being used elsewhere. After group discussions, we found a lens that gave us a nice, similar image to the one we used prior. We also found a card to capture on so we continued the filming and finished the shoot, slightly later than expected but still in good time considering the circumstances.  At the end of the shoot we all got on with dismantling the equipment and packing away the track, camera and green screen. We locked away all the equipment in the appropriate places and finished for the day.


Click here to view a video of the filming of the green screen