i will be filming a presenter in front of a 48" TV with graphics on it. The presenter will be pointing at the graphics at times to explain certain things.

We will be doing this in a tiny studio on a shoestring budget. Do you have any recommendations at all on how to light the presenter? Are there video lights or setups i can use, that will not blend or glare in the tv screen?

We will probably be using a consumer grade video camera and dump the video material into an editing suite afterwards. It's mainly the presenter and the TV what will be in the shot, i'd say a medium close up.


If you can't use green-screen (the ideal), I'd recommend a couple of things. First, use a screen with a matte surface to reduce specular reflections and present more diffuse ones. These are somewhat rarer that glossy ones.

Second, angle the screen slightly top-forward, to deflect some reflections down and away from the camera. A slight parallax won't be too noticeable. Same goes for a slight off-axis view right-to-left

Third, try a polarizer in front of the taking lens to dampen some reflections.

Last, use cutting flags on all fixtures to minimize the amount of light that actually touches the screen. If you keylight from two directions, you can help avoid hitting the screen. Diffuse fill light is much harder to flag effectively.

Good luck. I'm sure others here will have more suggestions.

  • doesn't sound like OP has much of a choice about which TV to use, but +1 for everything else. edit I know 3M makes aftermarket anti-glare coating for displays, but the reviews are pretty bad. – Jason Conrad Oct 24 '14 at 13:08
  • I have read your fourth and last tip over and over but i really cant figure out what you mean or what a "cutting flag" on the "fixture" is... Apart from that, thank you (both) for the tips! I haven't used stackexchange before (but i will), and i don't know if its customary to say thanks in the comments, but this was really quick and insightful advice. I presented the case for a photo dealer, something like B&H, and for a budget setup they recommended three camera lights on tripods: scandinavianphoto.se/kategori/13264279/kameralampor – jake Oct 24 '14 at 14:46
  • @jake Sorry, that's lighting jargon. Flags / cutters are opaque mechanical devices designed to prevent light from a fixture (a lighting instrument) from spilling onto certain parts of a scene. Many fixtures have, or can attach, barndoors -- a set of four moveable flaps that offer basic flagging. But for best control you'd use separately mounted cutters. Google 'lighting flags cutters scrims gobos kookies' etc for more info. – Jim Mack Oct 24 '14 at 19:56

Ideally you would take care of the images on the screen in post-production, whether it be green-screening or motion-tracking. OBS is a free program that can do the green-screening for you, just ask the presenter for the images that will be on the screen. You can also do motion tracking using something like After Effects, Boujou, or Smoke.

If none of that is an option, try to dim the overhead lights and light the speaker by reflecting your lights off of the ceiling and floor so that they are coming at angles that won't cause glares for the camera. Additionally, you can ask the presenter for the slides he will show and cut to those slides while the presenter discusses them.

One other thing to remember is that audio is key to a presentation like this. You want a microphone as close to the speaker as possible, whether it be a lavaliere on the speaker or a shotgun sitting in the front row. Avoid using the mic on your camera if at all possible.

  • Thanks for the tip! We won't be able to do green screen at this stage, but it's always interesting to hear about new video software projects such as OBS. And yes, we will be using a lav mic with a zoom sound recorder. :) – jake Oct 27 '14 at 17:20

If you can, record the video going to the TV separately while recording the speaker. Shoot the video from a stable tripod. After shooting, overlay the feed from the TV directly over the TV. This will replace any glare on the screen and ensure you have the highest possible quality looking screen and allow you to only have to worry about ideally lighting the speaker with no regards for glare on the TV. This also removes many of the problems that can occur related to display flicker from display refresh mismatches as well.

You can do the same thing with a moving shot using motion tracking, but a tripod makes it a one and done kind of thing that requires less tweaking.

  • Oh,i should probably have mentioned: the presenter will in fact be partly in front of the TV, interacting with the content. So with that in mind, for your solution to work then i suppose i would need to do manual "rotoscoping" work? To mask out the presenter i mean. If the TV would be standing "by its own" however, this would definitely be a good approach though! If you click this link you can see a sloppy sketch of our studio setup. docs.google.com/drawings/d/… – jake Oct 24 '14 at 14:29
  • @Jake - ah, that does complicate it a bit. At that point, the fall back is to use Jim Mack's suggestion and either greenscreen the presenter or greenscreen the display. You might be able to get ok results with a difference map as well, but I've never tried that and glare could cause issues. Overall, yeah, that complicates things a lot. – AJ Henderson Oct 24 '14 at 14:31

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