With this setup, the goal was to enhance the lighting level of the stage and lectern in the main conference area — used for keynote speakers, lunches, and plenary sessions. I was to shoot each speaker, and also the obligatory grip-and-grin at the close of each presentation. The ceiling is about 14 feet high, the walls and drapes are a gray that’s a little lighter than 18%, and the carpeting is a darker gray.
Since the lights would be set up and turned on all day, I needed to place the stands so that they wouldn’t obstruct attendees. Two columns (shown) provided good base locations and I marked the footprints of the two light stands (Bogen 3333s) with yellow gaffers tape. Each light was mounted on a fully extended stand (about 9 feet), and positioned to aim light across the front of the stage, with 100% overlapping “fields of fire”.
The first evening was a reception and I set up Alien Bees B800 #1 with the small Brolly Box, and B800 #2 with just the standard Alien Bees 7-inch reflector. Both units were on full power. Looking at the results, I decided that light from #2 was too harsh, so starting the next morning (and for the three day run), I used a small shoot-through umbrella. This took advantage of the walls for some bounce. Light #1, being in the middle of the room with no walls, worked well with the Brolly Box.
After looking at shots from the first full day, I reduced the power on the lights to 1/2 in order to get just a little bit more ambient light. Using a Sekonic L-558 meter, I checked the light across the entire front of the stage. For ISO 400, I was getting f/5.6 to f/5.6.2 — well within any tolerance needed for this kind of work.
There is nothing sexy about this setup. I just needed to increase the light level evenly across the stage, and have it not look too harsh. I was surprised at how well the Brolly Box (in the middle of the room) and the shoot-through umbrella (against the wall) worked in tandem. This also speaks to having both a range of light modifier types in your kit, and also the utility of the smaller sizes.