Lighting A Conference Room



I'm going to be shooting a 2 DVCAM setup at a small event in a hotel conference room and need to increase the ambient light. The room is about 30' x 30' x 15' and I believe the house lights are fluorescent. I'll be doing a wide and tight shot and need to keep the lighting out of frame. The event consists of people talking at a podium and a seated audience.

What's the best way to light this?

Thank you in advance to any help you can give.

Tim Lowery
Sacramento CA

I might have some suggestions -- but first a few questions.

Are you shooting the audience and the folks at the podium at the same time?
Is the ceiling drop ceiling?
Are there any rigging points, beams, coves, or air wall track?
Is power consumption an issue?
Can you give a corner or one wall to lighting?
Will you see the ceiling?
Do you want to just bring up ambience---or have key or special lighting on the podium.
Are the shots of the audience interactive--or are they just watching?

I'm sure with a few of these questions answered we'll get a pretty good response on ideas for lighting!

Mike Ambrose
Los Angeles Based

The other little item that is a potential pain is there AV involved? If you are shooting around a screen that the audience needs to see as well as the camera?

The other way to judge is this an event for video or an event that you are secondary consideration. And just out of curiosity why is there not enough light from the fluorescence for a DVCam. ( other than being potential ugly lighting)

Rick Bakos

Thanks Mike and Rick for the great replies. You brought up some good questions that helped to get more information.

I found out the lights are actually tungsten that reflect back into the ceiling. The standard room lighting is very boring and they're looking to make the podium and a table next to it (where a few people will sit) more pleasing to the eye.

While this event is not for video, we are shooting it so they can redistribute, so I want to make it look good on video.

I will be shooting the audience and the podium at the same time. The tight shoot will be just the podium but the wide will include both. The lighting on the audience is not as important since they will not be participating. There will be AV (projector) in the wide shot off to the right of the podium. There are no rigging points, beams, coves, or air wall track, but I can give up a corner or most of a wall. We will be running power off the AC so we don't want to draw too much.

Thanks again for your replies. I really appreciate it! I'm still trying to get the hang of this art of lighting.

Tim Lowery
Sacramento CA

Tim Lowery wrote:

>they're looking to make the podium and a table next to it (where a few >people will sit) more pleasing to the eye.

If you are having to go rent gear I would get ellipsoidal spot lights ( i.e. source 4's) to light the areas from the back of the room. A couple of trees or stands in the back of the room should cure your problem and give you control to keep the light off the screen. You should be able to cross light the two areas you want to highlight from the corners of the room and still keep the lights off the screen. A dimmer package would be nice also.

The small tree mount dimmers used by DJ's work great for this type of job. This sort of setup is sort of standard for the meeting industry. This is the type of gear you can rent from a theatrical or AV dealer in addition to a grip house. You could also get a way with using booster blue, Lee 201 or 202 on the lights and make the color temperature closer to the screen and keep the dimmed lights from getting to warm. You also want to watch how much brighter you make the key subjects from the audience if you don't want them to go dark in the long shots.

Don't forget the audio - get a feed from the house system or use your own up close for better presence.

Richard Bakos

Studio One Inc.
25833 State Road 2
South Bend, In 46619-4736


That is some great information!

We're working with only a two person crew so I wanted to keep it simple and your suggestion seems just that. Originally I thought to use floods but it makes more sense to use spots as to keep the lighting over the audience at a minimum, but to have control over the front of the room. I also like the idea of using the booster blue to have a little more control over color temp so their AV quality isn't compromised.

We are planning on renting, so access to equipment shouldn't be a problem. We also have access to the house feed for audio.

Thanks again for your information. This is my first job with this client and I want to really impress them.

Take care,

Tim Lowery
Sacramento CA

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