Northern Beaches Secondary College Manly Campus School Studio Build
This school studio build took place over a few years, and is a great example of how a studio can be installed in stages.
First, we started with a background system and a few lights. From there, we added a ceiling track system, removing the cables from the ground and add more lights, making the space safer to work in and giving us the ability to add more lights.
Next, we installed a lighting rig, allowing the background to be lit evenly and giving a clean, one-switch solution for green screen and chromakey shoots. Finally, we added a second, small background system on the opposite wall, allowing the school to do still-life photography.
Why get a black studio?
If you want full control over your lighting, then a black studio is the way to go. It requires a little more effort than a white studio where you have lighting bouncing off surfaces creating a soft fill, however you will get full control over how you light your subject since light is absorbed by the black surfaces rather than reflected. This makes it a great option if you are trying to get creative with your lighting.
How do you change backgrounds?
Having a lot of different backgrounds gives you a lot of creative flexibility. But how do you make it easy and safe to use and maintain?
In this studio, we mounted a LightPro 4 Hook Expan System to the ceiling. This allows the school to have the option of four different colours, which in this case is black, white, grey and green. What's more, the system is fitted with an easy-to-use chain system, allowing you roll up and down each colour as you need to use them.
How do you light the background?
One of the challenges that we face with school studio builds is creating a system where you can walk in, hit a switch and know that the background will be lit correctly.
To solve this issue the lights for the background are dedicated to doing just that. They are connected to a switch at the front door, allowing users to walk in, flick a switch and the background is lit.
The lights we used were the LightPro Studioline 1200XL LED Lights, mounted using two Autopoles with a crossbar. By mounting them this way, it keeps the floor clear, and it also puts them in the perfect position for lighting the background.
How do you light the subject?
Most schools like having a flexible space where they can do all kinds of shooting, ranging from portrait photography to green screen video. As such, having lighting which can give you a great result for all kinds of shoots is imperative, and this is why we chose continuous LED lighting similar to traditional flash lighting. These lights have S-type mount fittings, allowing light modifiers such as softboxes, snoots, beauty dishes and umbrellas to be attached.
The advantage of these lights is that you get a lot more creative control over how you can shape the light to get a desired look. In addition, we provided the LightPro Ultrasoft LEDs as an option that produces a consistently soft light similar to that of a softbox, without taking up anywhere near the same amount of space.
How do you keep the floor clear?
Studios in schools need to be safe for teachers and students to use freely. To make this easy, we installed a Pantograph Ceiling track system. This allows all lighting and cables to be mounted on the ceiling, reducing the clutter on the floor and making the area safe for ease of movement. The pantographs are mounted on carriages on a sliding track, which allows for the lighting to be repositioned easily.
2 x 3 hook background systems
6 x Backgrounds with weights
1 x Ceiling track system
1 x Background lighting Rig Support
4 x LightPro 1200 studioline Strip Lights
2 x LightPro 50P LED Lights
1 x LightPro Shark 2000
1 x LightPro Shark 1000
1 x Lightpro 780C Ultrasoft LEDs
1 x Beauty Dish, Snoot, Softbox