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2.5 Stage Plotting

In order to make best use of talent and crew time, you will want to have an idea of the setup of your lights, audio, and camera gear ahead of time. In this lesson you will see how I put together my stage plot for this shoot.

2.5 Stage Plotting

In order to make best use of talent and crew time, you'll want to have an idea for the set up of your lights, audio, and camera gear ahead of time. In this lesson, you'll see how I put together my stage plot for this shoot. Now, this is a Photoshop drawing, it's pretty close to scale, of my kitchen, my dining room, and my living room. Now, normally, I wouldn't go this kinda hyper-detailed for one of these stage plotting equipment diagrams. But, I wanted to make sure that you could read my writing, so I took a little time, I made some measurements and I drew this up in Photoshop. The distance between this wall here and this wall here is about 27 feet. So, setting up my shot this way gave me a lot of space to get my camera back. And that's really the first thing that I wanted to deal with. So let me pop Cheryl in here. This is where I was going to have Cheryl stand. Right behind the counter. And I wanted to it this way so that I had my stove in the background. There's some cabinets here. And I wanted to get the camera right about here. Now I do have some natural lighting sources here to deal with. I have a big window here. This is about five feet wide. There's a doorway here that has a huge window on it. That's maybe 25 inches wide. And there's another four foot wide window here right above the sill. This window here already had curtains on it that, for all intents and purposes, blocked out the light. You could see a little bit of light bleed from the edges, but more or less it completely knocked out the light. This door here had a curtain on it, but the curtain really didn't block out the light, and it was red as well. So my plan was to cover the curtain with something if it became a problem. Now this window here was a little bit more difficult because I didn't really want a curtain hanging in the kitchen, because my second camera I planned to have right here, somewhere in this neighborhood. So this would be the wide shot, the locked off shot. This shot would not move for the entire shoot. And then this camera over here would be getting all the closeups, it would be doing a nice side shot of Cheryl here but directly behind Cheryl. Let me rotate this camera, and skooch it into position. But directly behind Cheryl and in front of the camera, was this window here. And it would be behind Cheryl any time she was talking, and so I didn't think it would look quite right with a curtain on here, because unless I used blackout fabric, there would be some light bleeding and there would be a pretty significant amount of light leakage around any kind of curtain that I put on this window. Especially because, the time that I'm shooting this video here is in the middle of winter here in Western New York, so every ground surface is covered in two feet of snow, which is extremely reflective. So my plan for dealing with this window was to cover, the window with vellum. So there were two screens on the window. I took the screens out, and I measured the window glass, and I cut some pieces of vellum, and I taped it to the window. And so my idea was, I'd cover the window in vellum, and that would do two things. One, it would diffuse the light, and it would make it a pretty soft lighting source. The other thing that it would do is it would knock down the intensity of the light. By probably half, because the vellum is not a very efficient diffusion material, it's very thick. And in this case it worked great for knocking down the intensity of the light. Now because I knew that I was going to have light coming in from the window. I wanted to initially put a nice large light source right here to have the main key light be coming in the general same side direction as the window light. And so what I tried to do is take a roll of vellum, which is 42 inches wide, and I put that on a light stand with a 40 inch grip arm, and I tried to get that positioned over here and keep that out of the shot of the camera. The problem was that because, I needed to get it in here. I couldn't really fit the lights in here, the way that I wanted. There was no room to get the light stands in here and get them positioned quite right. And still keep it out of the shot of the camera. I basically had to pin this right up against the wall in order to keep it out of the frame of the camera. And as you can see, there's not really any room to get lights behind there. So, I changed things up a little bit. So I thought, if I can't have it here, what i'll do is i'll make it look like there's another kind of big lighting source coming from this direction. And then the window will be a nice little side light kind of rim. Edge kicker light source. It wasn't ideal, but I basically had to work with what I had available. And then for the light source, I wanted to use two large fluorescent panel lights, so I wanted to get these two fluorescent lights behind the vellum here to make one big lighting source here. And I would basically have to position this as close as I could, to keep it out of the frame of this camera and then I'd work this camera in wherever I needed to. Now, I also had an idea that I wanted an LED light here, as a little side light. So I was planning on putting that somewhere in this neighborhood here. And the idea with this is. I wanted a little LED light to throw some light on her hands and to give a little nice hard edge light here to everything, and just give it a little bit more highlight here from the side. I also wanted to do something with the background, and so what I was planning on, was using a source four, which is a big spot light, this particular lighting fixture uses a 750 watt lamp, but because of the reflector and the optics, it has the efficiency of a 1500 watt traditional spot light. So, it's pretty high output. And the idea was, I wanted to use this with a gobo, and the cool thing about this spotlight is it actually has a gobo slot in it, so you don't have to put things in front of it. Although you can put traditional cookies or gobos in front of the light. It actually has a tiny little gobo slot which you can put a little. It's probably a two inch. Piece of steel in a gobo holder and you can slide that in there. You can get hundreds and hundreds of different gobo patterns for about ten bucks each. But what I wanted to do is make it look like there was light coming in through a tree and then shining through a window, somewhere in this neighborhood here so that it would basically cast some nice little specs of light all along the background here. So my idea was I would position this light somewhere in this neighborhood right here. And I would put a gobo in here. And a CTB color temperature blue gel, to match the color temperature of the rest of these lights, which were all daylight and the light coming in from the window, which was also daylight. And so I'd blast that in this direction, and just throw some specks of light here on the stove and the cabinets and I thought that would look pretty nice. So I wanted to have a hair light here for Cheryl and for the food stuff, and I wanted that to come from behind. And in order to get it positioned right here, I would need a pretty beefy boom stand to get this up and kind of boomed over. And so instead of trying to boom this out over here, what I thought I might do is take this light and set it on the top of my cabinets here. Because I don't have any kind of soffit on top of my cabinets. I would use a super-short little light stand, and I would put that right up here with a sandbag, and I would just blast that down. And so that was basically it for the lights. I had my big lighting source here that would shine a pretty good amount of light in this direction here. I had a little sidelight kicker here which had a pretty narrow beam. It wouldn't be hitting Cheryl too much. At least, I didn't think it would. I had my ETC source four light over here doing a nice gobo breakup with a color temperature blue gel on here to match the color of all the other lights here. And then I had a cheap Chinese one by one LED panel. It's a 900 LED light plan for back here to do the nice hair light here. The only other rigging thing that I had to do was a mic stand. I was planning on getting the mic over here and then booming that out over Cheryl as best I could. Somewhere in this. Direction here, I thought it would be good because it would be out of the way, and I'd have a little path to walk here around to get around my camera. We wouldn't be blocking too much of the hallway here. But that was the general plan. I actually created this on a piece of paper first and again, I wanted to show you what it looked like in a little bit more detail in Photoshop here so you could actually see what is going on because my handwriting is not very good. You're gonna see exactly how this lighting plan worked out coming up in the next lesson.

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