Studio walls...your suggestions

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Patrick Latour, May 19, 2006.

  1. Patrick Latour

    Patrick Latour Member

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    I got a nice room in my basement (thanks to my wife), that I can convert in a small studio. The ceiling is actually white (4x8 styrofoam panels). My problem is the walls are actually beige and a weird color between orange and red. Since I would like to use them to bounce some light, I want to repaint it. Should I use the purest white I can find? Would you go glossy or flat? Do you have any other ideas or experiences?
     
  2. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    Do you plan to shoot color? Since the basement is really a hole in the ground and tends to be rather humid in your location (mine too!) one paint you might look in to is Perma-White by Zinsser. It is a mold and mildew proof paint that seems to work rather well. It comes in a tintable white base that can be used as is and is a two-coat system. The satin finish should provide enough reflectivity and diffuse the light enough to give somewhat even distribution. I am not fond of using glossy surface to bounce light from unless the light itself is pretty diffuse to begin with. The big (read expen$ive) soft-boxes are commonly used in portraiture because the diffusion provides flattering lighting.
     
  3. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Many studios use a darker color for the walls so reflections can be controlled using reflectors etc. Also if the paint you use has artificial brightners in it you will have a very slight blue cast if you shoot color.
     
  4. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    All my studios have had white walls. Don't get too crazy on how white. What white walls do, is firstly, they don't reflect back strange colors to the subject, and secondly they add a small amount of "fill" light.

    If you want to control your lighting absolutely, then paint the walls a dark color and you will get no reflected light.

    Michael
     
  5. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Patrick,

    I'd go with Michael: you can get too excited about this. Personally I prefer black unless it's a REALLY big studio. Or alternatively buy 8x4 (feet) blocks of styrofoam and paint one side black. That way you have the choice of white when you want to bounce light or black when you don't.

    Having said that, three of the four of the walls in my studio are centuries-old stone, sort of a light tan colour (it's reclaimed from a renaissance or possibly mediaeval ruin; the fourth wall is lined with white tongue-and-groove) but then again it is pretty big at about 5.8 x 6.5 metres or 18x20 feet. I use polystyrene sheets as bounces.

    Cheers,

    Roger (www.rogerandfrances.com)
     
  6. Patrick Latour

    Patrick Latour Member

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    Thanks all for your comments. I think it will be white with a "not-too-glossy" finish. The studio will be use mostly for portrait and glamour so some fill light will be ok and I still have the possibility to use reflector. If it still does not work, I will repaint it another color (heurk !!!). I like the idea of foam panels, black on one side and white on the other. Will have to explore this avenue.
     
  7. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Just to clarify, the fact that your walls will be white does not mean that you won't need reflectors for various types of controlled lighting patterns.

    All the white walls will do is add a "bit" of overall fill bouncing around everywhere. For example: if you were doing a low key lighting setup, what the white walls would help with is, a little bit more shadow detail (exposure)say under the chin or on darker clothes that the key lights would miss.


    Michael
     
  8. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    I'd vote for the neutral white, too, and flat, not glossy.
     
  9. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    I agree. You can add dark drapes or panels that can cover the walls if very harsh lighting is desired. With flat white walls you may bounce light off of them and not even need soft boxes.