Settings for shooting at a white background?

Any good camera-settings for filming a white background with light setup? It will be a 20 second commercial showing some models in different clothing. Also, would there be any reason to shoot in 4K? Hope it makes sense :-)

My camera is a Panasonic AG-UX180


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    In general you light and expose for your subject, not the background. In this case the subject is the models, so you make sure THEY look good, then worry about background. 

    To expose for your models. Learn the zebras on your camera and set zebra to 80% you want that zebra to just start clicking in on the specular highlights on the model's skin. Make certain none of the model's hair or clothing clips to pure white. I think the UX180 has a Histogram or Waveform monitor. Learn that. 

    Once you light for your models, throw more light on your background if needed

    You can always use color grading tools to brighten the background if needed, but you can't fix overexposure. 

  • Thanks for the reply :) 

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    edited March 2017


    Bear in mind @WhiteCranePhoto might come in and totally disagree with the above. :-)

  • Of course, he might

  • Heed the advice here... but also keep in mind that a white background is going to reflect quite a bit of light (because it's white).

    Light your talent, and keep your skin tones exposures consistent. I usually keep skin tones right around middle grey; skin highlights a stop over, and skin shadows a stop under. Stretch it out for more drama (i.e. a more dramatic shadow to highlight ratio). A one or two stop ratio is good for less dramatic shots where you're looking for more of a beauty light.

    Since you're using a white background, beware of lens flare, and be really careful about light for your talent spilling onto the background. If you're using colored gels to add color contrast to your talent, then spill would add color to your background, which may not be what you want.

    The light bounce from the white backdrop could also give you a bit of extra rim light if you control its level with care, but letting it underexpose and using a dedicated rim light would most likely be easier to control.


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