DIY: Light board, Part2 – Setup


A few weeks ago I wrote a blog on a light board I built, read about how to build one right here: https://robbeekmans.net/euc/diy-light-board/. Is this new blog I will talk you through the setup of the light board. A lot of testing, shifting the setup and changing lights took place before I was happy with it. Let me show you how it is done and what are caveats you could run into.

Concept

The concept of a light board is rather simple. You write on glass and record that while facing the camera that is recording. The light in the glass makes the markers light up which is why in the video it looks bright. The presenter is also in a lot of light and he or she is in front of a dark backdrop. The video is shot mirrored so after recording it has to be flipped 180 degrees to make the text readable. So if you put that all together you get something like you see in the pictures in the gallery.

Components

Let’s focus on the aspects of a light board setup, there are three aspects. The three aspects are;

  • Camera – screen position
  • Lighting of the presenter
  • arkening curtain

Camera – screen position

If you ever did anything with a camera you know that there is always an angle when taking pictures. Only when you are far from an object and zoom in a lot, the angle is small. So building a light board also requires to focus on the distance of the camera to the screen.

If you don’t do that you could end up with the camera’s focus being too wide and your backdrop to narrow. My initial setup was like that, I had to zoom in to stay within the width of my backdrop. The angle was that wide that it would reach the walls (which are white). So I lost some of the glass as a writeable area. To fix that I moved the screen closer to the backdrop and the camera also with it. Now I had the better angle and it would cover the whole glass but still stay within the backdrop.

robbeekmans.net

Lights on the presenter

Important in the setup is the lighting of the presenter. Important as well is that the backdrop is not lighted. The backdrop should be dark so the focus is on the presenter and the drawing and text on the glass.

This is done with lights on three sides of the presenter, one above the presenter shining down and two on the side. To prevent the light from hitting the backdrop bargeboards can be added to the light. Do you need them? That depends on the type of lights. If the lights are “containerized” you might not need bargeboard. Only shooting and testing will tell if you need them.

Curtain

If you, like me, are shooting in a room with a window, make sure the window is darkened. I used a darkening curtain for that, I can lower it to make the room dark. There should be no reflection on the glass what so ever as everything is visible while shooting the video.

Autocue

There is an extra component you might consider. I have been testing with an autocue. The reason for that is that without my stories are lengthy, there is so much to tell. So if I write them down and play them on an autocue I keep to the lines. It is a bit of fiddling with the spaces to get the correct speed but it works relaxing. I don’t think it is cheating of anything, the goal is to get a good video and story out there. I used an iPad mini for my autocue, just need to create a holder for it.

Autocue app

The app I use for it is Promptsmart Pro – teleprompter <https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/promptsmart-pro-teleprompter/id894811756?mt=8>. I also tried Teleprompter but really disliked that one, it required a TXT file but no matter which format I used it was never readable. It also was very limited in getting data in. Promptsmart┬áPro – Telepromper is easy to work with, it can load documents from several online sources and read word documents. So I create my content on my MacBook, save it to iCloud, open it on the iPad and run the autocue.

part 1 is found here : https://robbeekmans.net/euc/diy-light-board/

Part 3 is found here : https://robbeekmans.net/euc/diy-light-boar%e2%80%8bd-proof-of-the-pudding/

Conclusion

And that is how you make your own light board, set it up and start to use it. I’m currently working on internal video’s for an internal course but will be recording public ones as well. Keep a watch for them. Building one is rather easy but if you have any questions please do reach out and I’ll help you out.


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