I've been meaning to start creating professional looking Calculus videos for university students and my current setup is the following:

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I know what you are thinking, and you are absolutely right: The setup is very amateur. I would like to create professional videos and my current equipment is a Canon T5i and a 10-18mm Canon lens. I have a whiteboard (1,90m width by 1,20m height) and the distance from the camera to the blackboard is around 1,80m.

The biggest problem is the lighting: it is creating these shadows when I stand next to the whiteboard and, depending on the angle, since the whiteboard is highly reflective, the viewer can see thoss "lighting spots" (please check images attached).

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How can I get a quality video on this office? Which lighting setup would help? How would you do that with the least cost?

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Thank you.


2 Answers 2


Lighting a green screen is even harder than lighting a whiteboard. And performing in front of a green screen also requires practice different than that of writing on a whiteboard.

Here are two alternative strategies which you can possibly blend to taste. The first, and most obvious, is to get a standard 4'x8' bead board. Put that board on the wall opposite the white board. Aim a focused, bright light to fill the 4'x8' bead board. This will send diffuse light back to the talent and the whiteboard without a specular reflection. If you need to, you can cheat the bead board to one side or the other so that you don't have a "warm spot" (a very large, diffuse hot-spot) in your whiteboard. For illumination, start by looking at this ARRI 750W flood and then adjust to your favorite illumination source (LED, HMI, plasma, CFL, etc). But don't lose focus and barn-door modifiers. You can also raise the bead board off the floor to span the angle between the rear wall and the ceiling. You can also place the bead board on the rear ceiling and bounce the lights toward the talent from on high. The shadows, etc., will tell you how high the bead board needs to be to make everything look right.

The second strategy is to stay with the idea of a pair of side lights, but get a pair of tall vertical light baffles that you can use to completely shade the whiteboard from the lights. Ideally the shadow pattern is such that the whiteboard itself is shaded from the lights but the talent in front of the whiteboard is not shaded. Because white is so bright, you actually don't need a ton of light on the whiteboard itself--it will look white when the ambient (ceiling) light hits it. But you do need light on the talent--skin tones are several stops darker than whiteboard white. So let your side lights hit the talent and not the whiteboard.

It should be obvious you can combine these two ideas. Beware of mixing color temperatures (i.e., don't use daylight CFLs for side lights and tungsten lights for the bounce board or things will look weird).


Have you considered not using a whiteboard and instead using graphics for whatever you planned to put on the whiteboard? It will be much clearer and easier to read (assuming you choose your fonts carefully). You could replace the whiteboard with a green screen (which you can get from Amazon for around $15-30US). You'd need to light the green screen evenly, while still lighting yourself.

You don't mention what software you're using. If you're on a Mac, you can use iMovie, which probably came free with your computer (or is < $15US if it didn't), and has a blue/green screen keyer. Then you can use any tool you want to create the text you would have written on the whiteboard and save it as an image to import into iMovie. I'm sure there are low-cost tools on other OSes, if you need them, but I'm not as familiar with them as I am with Mac software.

  • do you mean this effect friend? youtube.com/watch?v=_xOkUZcWCJM
    – bru1987
    Oct 26, 2015 at 14:17
  • Yes, something like that. Personally, I think he has way too much text in the frame, and he should get the microphone out of the frame. But that's the basic idea. And while @Michael_Tiemann is correct that lighting a green screen can be hard, remember that you can garbage matte out parts that are uneven. Overall, getting the lighting right as he suggests is a great idea. But your handwriting better be impeccable if you're going to write things on a white board! Oct 26, 2015 at 15:46

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