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Mastering Virtual Studio Lighting: A Comprehensive Guide to Enhancing Your Broadcasts

Let’s examine the lighting design for a virtual studio approximately 120 square meters in size (15m * 8m), and try to offer some suggestions for reference.

1. General Approach for Lighting

Lighting Requirements: The design primarily employs cool light sources. To fulfill the photographic needs of different areas, the design targets an average illumination of over 1500 lux with CCT above 5600K. It includes several flexible spots for additional lighting, crucial for effectively sculpting the space and clarity of actors and the background, achieving strong color fidelity.

Area Lighting: In virtual studios, to enhance the authenticity and liveliness of the program, hosts usually have a designated movement area. Thus, unlike news studios that might use fixed spot lighting, virtual studios require broader area lighting.

Three-dimensional Lighting: Traditional news studios often satisfy lighting requirements with the 3-point lighting technique. However, virtual studios utilize chroma keying technology for blue or green screen effects, necessitating three-dimensional lighting to mitigate the blue light’s impact on the foreground (host).

Foreground before Background: Given the large emission area of trichromatic soft lights, illuminating the foreground (host) properly will inevitably affect the blue screen. Once the foreground lighting meets requirements, supplemental lighting can be adjusted for the blue screen to satisfy chroma keying needs. The seamless integration of the foreground with the digital background hinges on scientifically and reasonably illuminating both the foreground and the blue screen.

Illumination Requirements: Virtual studios demand matched illumination between the foreground and the blue screen background, striving for consistency. The flexibility of virtual studio segments and the diversity of digital backgrounds also necessitate adaptable illumination to accommodate various programs and backgrounds.

2. Key Considerations for Lighting

Key Light: Generally, virtual studios employ lower, even key lighting to minimize primary shadows on the host. Blue screen reflections can affect shadows, potentially degrading the foreground image quality after chroma keying. It’s advisable to avoid using a dominant light source improperly, as it can create logical inconsistencies between actual and virtual lighting, along with undesirable secondary shadows on the blue screen.

Backlight: Traditional lighting principles suggest backlighting should be stronger than key lighting to highlight the host’s distinct outline and enhance spatial depth. Virtual studios must use backlighting judiciously. Excessive backlighting can over-illuminate the blue screen floor, disrupting color uniformity and chroma keying; insufficient backlighting can make the foreground appear flat against the digital backdrop. Proper backlighting can effectively represent the relationship between the person and the scene, enhancing three-dimensional and depth perceptions.

Side Light: Essential in virtual studios, side lights counteract blue hues from the blue screen on the host’s clothing edges, which would otherwise be removed by the chroma keying process, causing the outlines to darken.

Diffused Light: It’s crucial to minimize reflections and refractions from the host’s attire or transparent props that might affect the blue screen, as these can cause foggy images in the background of the composite.

White Balance: Pay attention to the blue screen reflections’ impact on white balance. Improper adjustments can lead to reduced mask signal levels and color distortion of foreground objects.

3. Lighting Fixtures Selection

Using EverSirius products as an example, the following lighting fixtures can be considered for different areas of a virtual studio:

Key Light: For even and delicate illumination of the host’s face, LED panels like EX200 or EP600C, along with LED spotlights EF100 or Elite200, can be used.

Background Light: To brighten the entire background for a clearer picture, LED panels such as EX200 or EP300 are suitable.

Backlight: Also known as rim light, enhances the host’s silhouette and spatial layering of the image, separating the figure from the background and enhancing three-dimensionality with LED soft panels EX120, EX200, or LED spotlights EF100, Elite200.

Top Light: Adds texture to the host’s hair and supplements shoulder lighting, suitable options include LED panels EX120, EP300.

Side Light: Softens shadows and neck shadows not reached by the main light, LED panel EX200 or BeamFlex EL200 can be utilized.

4. Installation of Lighting Fixtures

Fixed Bracket Installation: Suitable for simpler studios with fewer lights, offering a lower cost.

Grid Installation: Allows movement of lights, though manual adjustment with a ladder can be cumbersome.

Track Installation: This popular method allows for easy movement of lights in all directions and is slightly more expensive than the other options.

Hi, I'm Bing Bai, the author of this post.
I have been in the field of LED film and studio lighting for more than 9 years. If you would like to learn more about our products or lighting solutions, feel free to let me know.

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