Lighting

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by swwack91, Nov 23, 2007.

  1. swwack91 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #1
    I'm a high school kid that does a lot of video work. I think it's time to learn how to light properly so I want to buy some inexpensive, however high"er" quality video lights.

    http://www.adorama.com/SVKT750U.html

    How does that look for my purposes?
     
  2. pdpfilms macrumors 68020

    pdpfilms

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Location:
    Vermontana
    #2
    The main benefit of lights engineered for video work are that they are easily controlled with scrims, gels, diffusion, barn doors, and/or gobos. Unfortunately, these lights don't really allow for any control. For the features you get, you might as well get a set of work lights from Home Depot. They'll provide more light, and you'll end up diffusing and controlling them using the same jerry-rigs the other lights necessitate.

    In all honesty, construction work lights are a great starting point. They're cheap, bright, and super durable. The only benefit to the lights you listed above is the umbrella really. And umbrellas are simply a studio solution for creating a larger light source, which is commonly accomplished on location with a large (4'x4' or 2'x2') hunk of silver-sided foam house insulation. Honestly.

    Again, I'd go ahead and get the basics- a bright, controllable light source, some options for diffusion (bounce card, foam board, etc.), and some sort of big case to carry it all around. This is essentially the equipment list of a film set, but on a much bigger scale.
     
  3. swwack91 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #3
    I don't see how these aren't "controllable."

    I'm planning on getting a diffuser for the one light without the umbrella and I can get dimmers.
     
  4. pdpfilms macrumors 68020

    pdpfilms

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Location:
    Vermontana
    #4
    You'll see what I mean if you visit a film set or use any of the common location lights. Barn doors (used to direct light), scrims (used to stop down light), focus knobs (used to control spill quality), and interchangeable lenses are all common features.

    I'd avoid using dimmers as you'll encounter what's called "amber shift". if you have any dimmers in your house, I'm sure you're familiar with it. Specifically, it's the tendency for all filament-based light sources to emit warmer light when they're dimmed. By using scrims (metal screen discs), you cut down the light and avoid any temperature variability. Not to say worklights are any more accommodating to scrims, but both options will require rigging up some DIY magic.

    I guess what I'm trying to show you is that these lights will require you buying a bunch of stuff anyway... might as well spend less money to get more powerful, more durable, more sturdy lights and then have more money left over to buy the things you need anyway like diffusion or bounce boards.

    Those lights look cool, but without real control, your picture's going to suffer.

    EDIT: I should mention that I don't like using lighting at all. I prefer realism over cinematic imagery, and avoid the hassle almost completely. Artificial lighting is becoming less and less necessary with video chips becoming more and more sensitive. Whether or not to enter that entire realm is up to you, and is usually the only choice if you're going for a specific, dramatic look.
     
  5. AWalkerStudios macrumors member

    AWalkerStudios

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Location:
    Austin
    #5
    lighting

    I agree with pdpfilms. Stay with natural lighting. Just try to make the natural lighting work in more interesting ways. For example, if indoors, turn off the lights and shoot at a time when the sun hits the windows. Then you get interesting light patterns from the blinds/drapes.

    Shoot during 'magic hour' that's the time just before dusk when the light is absolutely perfect outside. There are long shadows and plenty of opportunities for experimenting with your composition.

    I'm a 17 year old 'high school' filmmaker myself, I shoot on a Canon XL2. I've worked on Friday Night Lights which shoots on 16mm film and they never use much lighting. During the interior school scenes, we will start shooting a scene during the day, but wont use lighting. Later on when it gets darker, we will bring the lighting in to recreate the way it looked earlier in the shoot.

    On the commercials I've been script supervisor and PA on, we've only ever used lighting to bring out the subjects and contrast them against the background. Either that or to highlight a logo in the background on the wall.


    If you MUST use lighting, don't forget the 3 point lighting method. One to the left of the subject, one to the right, and one from above (Or reflected off the ceiling). I had to do that recently on a short film when the lights in the room went out.
     
  6. bozigle macrumors regular

    #6
    Redhead lighting (ianiro http://www.ianiro.com/splash_english.htm) have good reputation in UK (understand i never used them myself) and they have all price and range of equipment...
    But i have to warn you. I agree with the previous posts... natural lighting for non professional is already tricky... artificial lighting is not helping (at first)and requires a lot of work. Now if your point is to learn how to light a set... then, yes a little starter kit will give you the first hand and the redhead are a good choice... a good book or dvd on general lighting might not be a bad investment neither.
     

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