We have been presenting like this for almost 2 years, so I think it’s time to break down the setup.
Let’s start with the space we shoot in and the floor plan of our studio.
To give us as much control over the lighting in the room, we start by blocking out all of the light coming through the window. Since the window is nearly 3 meters high, we use a large blackout curtain which we clip to the window.
Then we use a large fold-out backdrop and wedge it between a tripod head and the ceiling.
We didn’t say this was going to be pretty.
Next, we hook up a frosted shower curtain to the ceiling which is 1 meter away from where we present. Then we place a light behind it to create a large soft source.
The light we use is this NiceFoto 330W LED light set to 5600K at 10% brightness and is 2 meters away from the shower curtain.
We have a video review all about the NiceFoto light if you would like to check it out here.
Before we got this light, we used one of our softboxes and placed right next to the shower curtain. We’ve had these softboxes for about 5 years now and they have a green tint to them, so we were always correcting the colour in the white balance setting on the camera and in the edit. More on colour correction later on.
Here is a side by side comparison of the colour difference between the two lights.
Next, we add a background and a hair light by using a household bulb which is attached to our bookcase via our can lights. On the front of the can light is DIY diffusion paper to make the light softer, and also a cardboard flag to stop the light from spilling too much on to the presenter.
We have a video on DIY diffusion here.
Finally, we tape a DIY cardboard flag to stop the light from hitting the background as it is shiny photo paper, and we use this practical light which is a light up clapperboard on the shelf.
Links to all of the equipment will be linked in the description below.
To shoot the presenting we use a Sony a7s mark 1 which is about 1 meter away. We use a Canon 50mm lens set to F2.8, shutter 1/50, and an ISO of 160.
We present right in front of Richard’s desk which we raise to standing height. We do this as we do not have a teleprompter, so we can read the script for the episode off the screen.
When it comes to presenting parts like this one where we are looking at the camera we just have to memorise the lines, but we don’t always get it on the first go.
For sound, we boom a Rode NTG3 on a C-Stand just out of shot above us. We use a smart rig which converts the XLR cable into a 3.5mm cable and provides phantom power to the microphone so we can feed the signal directly into the camera.
When recording the parts in the script where we are not presenting directly to the camera, we still roll video. We do this to keep the audio consistent throughout the whole recording.
Also, it would be a faff setting up another audio recorder just for this setup.
The time it takes to shoot the presenting for each episode depends on the length of the script, but having the same setup helps us save time.
In the edit, we cut it all together with the other footage from the episode and then we colour correct and grade the shot. The standard profile which we shoot with on the Sony A7s has a flat look to it, so we add contrast and bring up the highlights to help make the image pop.
And that is it. The setup is a bit makeshift and DIY, but it works for us.
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