Set Design Test Shoot

Todays shoot starting to assemble a vague outline of the set design. I took the opportunity to purely focus on light positioning rather than colours seeing as I had to head off prior to the acts arriving. Beth, Jordan and I brought in several wooden back boards and positioned them around the back of the band performance area. The band would then be positioned drummer (background), guitarist and bassist (mid-ground) and singer (foreground). Once this had been mapped out we realised the only available space for the acoustic acts so that we didn’t block any fire escapes, this also allowed enough room for the cameras to move between performance areas whilst either one set up.

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 15.51.51

The plan for the final set is to have letters and designs cut out of each back board so that I can shine lights through them with various colours. Beth wants to have each board painted white for lights to reflect off them, I worry that it will looks ‘tacky’, however the point of the shoot today is to see how the set looks whilst sound and camera can continue to practice.

I approached the lighting design providing strong back and side light for each individual (or the floor space they occupy), and then added subtle fill light to ensure their faces are illuminated sufficiently. I was able to move lights around on the rig to suit the positions I required them, however I have no idea how it looked when the act arrived, all I know was I hit my target points on the floor and fine tuned each light to ensure its beam matched the path I mapped on my design. Even though it’s a little confusing below is a plan of the design, every light used was a fresnel (either 650w or 1k).

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Green – Drummer
One strong backlight, two side lights, and one downlight suspended above the drum kit. General fill light will come from the other instrumentalists fill lights.

Yellow – Guitarist
Two back/side lights. One crosses across the frame so that each side is illuminated well. The fill light is across the frame so that it lights the inside of the subject.

Blue – Bassist
Two back/side lights. One crosses across the frame so that each side is illuminated well. The fill light is across the frame so that it lights the inside of the subject.

Red – Singer
Two close back/side lights for a stronger effect as they are the dominant subject matter. The fill light is located directly in front to illuminate the entire subject and draw focus amongst the entire band.

It will be interesting to see how this looked in the final footage. There is definitely enough light in shot, but the question arises whether they lit the subjects effectively, and if not was it due to light position or the subject themselves. In theory I love this rig design, it means every member has at least three lights focused on their position, and shifts the dominance to back and side light as opposed to front lighting. On top of this as the rig is directly above the subjects and all of the fresnel lights are manipulable I can easily make subtle amendments to the rig between acts.

As for the acoustic I continued to employ the setup that I established in last weeks shoot. To recap this was one back light, two side/back lights, a fill light (stage right), one down light, and two practical floor lights. The difficulty I found with this set up was having enough fresnel lights to execute the same setup whilst simultaneously having the rig I explained above. In the meantime I have experimented with the available lights to accommodate for two acoustic subjects.

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 16.29.24

For this setup there are two strong side light sources, along with closer back lights that also act as a form of down light (all fresnel). The fill lighting is provided by a softbox. For this test I left out the practical lights as I wanted to focus purely on lighting position. What concerns me is the stage right light that acts as more of a spotlight than a diffused beam, unfortunately there aren’t any more of the same 650W dexel fresnel lights that I had previously used.


Despite any concerns I am happy with the physical design of the rig and the plans I have created now we have a slightly more permanent set design in place. It will be interesting to see how this translates on screen, whether I need to make a few subtle adjustments or whether I need to revaluate the entire rig. Currently I would love to have some extra 650W dexel fresnel lights, they are definitely my first choice when lighting this type of studio subject. Once the footage has been exported from the studio I will grab a copy and evaluate the design ready for our next session (24th Nov or 2nd Dec).


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