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How would you improve this "Infinite White" or "High Key" video?
  • I saw this video featured on Olivia Tech. It is a video made by one of her readers after she posted a tutorial about how to produce a "Infinite White" (high key backround) video.

    I don't mean to be overly critical but something looks weird to me. Here are my guesses about what may have happened:

    • Key lights positioned too low
    • Light spill from background lights falling on the talent's left side (Maybe this was intentional?)
    • Actor may have been positioned too close to the white background
    • The two key lights look to have been set at equal intensity. Maybe lower the brightness of one of the key lights slightly.

    What do you think? How could the lighting be improved.

  • 12 Replies sorted by
  • All of that is possible but mainly: The CAMERA is too low. He's selling his services to my scalp. Hand movement below the frame is also distracting.

  • Here's a link to the tutorial

    I noticed that in her tutorial they start with a closeup of her and then pull back as the video goes on. The video featuring Shah just keeps it at a medium distance (or zoom) the whole way through and it looks kind of static. Good point about the hands. If the videographer ran out of space and couldn't pull back any further maybe he could have had the talent speak holding his hands at about upper stomach level either clasping them or gesturing with them so they are in the frame.

  • I just noticed that they boom the microphone from below in the Olivia video. Wonder why they do that?

  • Can't say I was expecting a high bar from Olivia, but could she have set her sights any lower than this? Those "fairly inexpensive" fixtures she's promoting are bottom-feeder Chinese knockoffs that have attracted some hilariously scathing reviews on Amazon:

    "...the adapters that are used to put the lights on the stands are horrible. Very soft, cheap plastic that broke the very first time I attached the light to the stand and slightly tightened down the thumb screw. This is such an easy issue to resolve. Too bad ePhoto can't get it together. "


    "...some times when you're assembling a really poorly constructed product you get the vague feeling that it was sold to you by people who secretly have contempt for you? Yeah. I get the feeling with this thing. I'll update this review if I ever get a chance to turn it on. Both lights, both stands, all had nuts and bolts missing. And the thumb tighteners included in this package just crumble in your hands."


    Step 1 - Got the light kit. Step 2 - Set it up. Step 3 - Was happy. Step 4 - Had a photoshoot Step 5 - One of the lights totally stopped working half way through the shoot. Step 6 - Confusion Step 7 - Bad review

  • @LPowell

    It is not topic to bash cheap light sets, we have ones about them and many owners on this forum. And never read Amazon reviews before taking food :-)

  • @DanPV, most likely to prevent shadow by putting it above her, while still getting it close enough to the source for good audio, as well as so it's not in the camera.

  • camera too low, indeed.. and the shadow smack right in the middle of his face is rather unpleasant.

  • To be fair to Olivia though, she's said a couple times in various comments that the stands suck and that you should get better lights if you have to break them down frequently.

    I just purchased some Linco Flora's. The stands seem pretty nice and the design of the umbrella is WAY better. Down side is that you only have two power levels to choose from - high and low. Of course you can unscrew a bulb but it is a pain.

  • I do have a question. I have three CFL softbox style lights (Linco Fora's) so I can use them as the key lights for a high key shot but I really don't want to purchase any more CFL lights to illuminate the background. I was planning to use some halogen shop lights. Do you think I will need to gel them? I am guessing that since the background will be blown out anyway that the color temperature won't really matter unless I get some light spill on to the talent.

  • Reframing by cropping is kind of annoying if it's in a middle of a sentence from the same pov, if I'm working with a one camera setup then I'll have the talent go through the script again and reframe to a close up from a different pov, few degrees to the right or left then it looks more fluid when you do a jump cut during a sentence to a different pov rathern then a reframed shot from the same pov.

  • He's "up lit"--lit from too low so it gives him a "satanic" look. And of course, the bad eyeline.

  • Here's the last shoot I was on using this technique:

    We do this all the time. All you need is a white wall and plenty of light.

    The goal is to light the wall far brighter than the subject in front. You want it so that when the subject is properly exposed, the wall behind them is vastly overexposed/blown out, thus losing any details/texture on the wall.

    It helps to keep the subject at a distance from the backdrop.

    Sean Blake

    P.S. The quebecois accent of the talent in this shoot drives me nuts - I'd take her to dinner and keep her talking about anything for hours while I'd just smile, nod and say thinks like, "you don't say!" and "really?"