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Video on a big backdrop!

Now I did an interesting professional commercial marketing videography job last week with Handicare, an accessibility equipment company in the West Midlands. They produce essential equipment for the elderly and those in care – in the current coronavirus situation this is incredibly important because it potentially enables anyone hospitalised to get back home and be safely moved during their recovery period. See Handicare’s web site.

I often shoot video against a plain white or coloured backdrop, which is 9 feet wide, or against a green screen. However one of the products needed a double width backdrop (18 feet wide), which took some careful planning to achieve. The main problem was the weight of a paper roll – about 12kg. Put two of these onto a backdrop stand and it’s likely to collapse under the load! So I decided to hang two rolls overlapping, in the opposite direction, so instead of attaching the roll to the backdrop stand and pulling the paper down from the roll, I did the opposite. I clipped the paper to the cross beam of the background support, then unrolled it very carefully while gradually raising the height of the background supports. Yes there was a seam between the two rolls but some tape, very careful lighting and then masking in post production helped to remove them.

The amount of lighting needed was interesting. To keep the background sufficiently white needs a lot of power, so I had two 1kw lights either side of the backdrop and another overhead. The main purpose of these was to ensure good lighting behind the subjects – the edges can be fixed quickly by masking in post production. Then two front lights, 1k main (a Dedolight DLH1000 in a 7′ Panaura softbox)) and a 750w fill light. Another two lights just pointing down either side on the white backdrop to give some fill, and finally two Dedolight DLH4’s to pick out the features. Because I was working in controlled conditions all the lighting was tungsten.

The end result was fantastic. It’s always great to get footage back into post production and not have to pull it around to make up for errors during the shoot. All I had to do was some masking (to remove the seam) and make some adjustments to the white levels.

The basic setup. The key and fill front lights and the footlights are out of frame

If you’re looking for commercial video work on site, whatever the size of the product we can provide high quality videos which really do help to showcase products and services. See details of our commercial photography and our photography and videography prices.

Final footage ready for colour grading.