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How to Film Interviews on a White Background

Filming interviews on a white background is very easy to do.

Step 1: Find and Setup the Backdrop
I own a roll of white background paper that I bought for $79 at a local photographer store. I set this up on two backdrop stands with a pole running across the top from one to the other to hang the paper roll on.

Step 2: Setup the camera
Typically, I’ll position my subject as far from the paper as I can, while still being able to fill the screen with white. This is so I can have room for my hair light.

Step 3: Light the Backdrop
The key to creating a pure white background is really to over-expose it as much as you can, so any detail and color is lost. To get a white background, I’ll typically throw two 500-watt tungsten lights on the backdrop, each covered with 1/2 CTB gel. Then I’ll use a warmer source for my key light, which tends to add more color and saturation to my subjects. The tricky part to lighting the backdrop is to make sure you’re able to over-expose the entire viewable area. If you don’t have enough wattage to do this, you can sacrifice the edges of the frame and mask them out with white in post-production.

Step 4: White-Balance to your Backdrop
The most important step, of course, is to set the white balance in your camera so the background shows up as pure white.