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Old May 4th, 2007, 03:03 PM   #1
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Bank Video with Lighting

I am making a three minute video for a bank in minneapolis. I have a quick question about lighting. If I am shooting indoors with flouresents, do i need to light with my own kit or will i get a good enough picture without bringing in lighting. the bank is lit evenly but i was told that flourescents need to be countered...if so, should i just fill the lobby with a few soft boxes? any suggestions would be great.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 03:40 PM   #2
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Issue #1 - fluorescent lighting as you describe comes nearly exclusively from overhead. Depending on the positioning of talent (and their facial structure) in relation to the lights, that may cause excessive eye socket shadows that aren't particularly flattering. Front fill MAY be required to soften that. You can use reflector fill or set up front fill using stand mounted fluorescent lighting that matches the overhead.


Issue #2 - there are fluorescent lamps and then there are fluorescent lamps. In other words there are LARGE variations in the colorometry of various fluorescent technologies. Some of them are reasonably full spectrum, others have SERIOUS spikes in the green part of the spectrum. You won't know that unless you test in advance. This problem will be the worst if you're combining incandescent sources like soft boxes at 3200 kelvin and white balancing to that - in a sea of otherwise green spiking fluors.

These and more MAY be issues. It also might be possible that you'll walk in, your camera will be able to white balance properly and you'll have no problems. Like all real-world lighting setups you don't know until you get there and try it out.

Finally, offices full of traditional fluorescent lights typically are offices full of fluorescent light BALLASTS. Older ballasts are notorious for putting out RF that messes with micrphones. Don't just survey for the LOOK - survey for the SOUND in the location as well.

Good luck.
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Old May 5th, 2007, 09:30 AM   #3
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Most places around here have upgraded to the more efficient fluorescent fixtures that use T8 lamps. These often have electronic ballast so you may not need worry about flicker anymore. The green spike can be dealt with by doing a proper white balance. Your issues will be with mixed sunlight and fluorescents. If you use 3200Kelvin softboxes and already have mixed sunlight and fluorescents in the room, you have a lot of different colors. Many fluorescents are the in-between color of 4100Kelvin. If you bring in your own light, you might want to use daylight-balanced lamps to simulate sunlight coming in from windows. It would be helpful if you can determine the color balance of the lamps existing in the bank. Whenever you scout a location, try to see if you can read the specs. of the bulbs in their fixtures.
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Old May 7th, 2007, 08:18 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. I shoot tomorrow and am hoping things go well. We do have one shot where the banker is at the window for the drive thru. There will be light from outside mixed with some of the flourescents. All I have for lighting kits is what my university has. We have a Lowell lighting kit, key and back light. Also I have a Lowell soft box. I also have a reflector I could use. When you said I could reflect, were you thinking from the soft box?
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Old May 8th, 2007, 08:48 AM   #5
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For reflection, you can use anything white, silver, or mirrored to bring in light from outside. You can bounce it onto a big white reflector/diffuser inside. If you don't use any reflectors to boost outside light, make sure you bring CTB (color temperature blue) to match your tungsten lights to the sunlight or the fluorescents.

Also, one nice thing about softboxes is that their indistinct shadows allow you to bring it in closer to make it brighter. If you are shooting backlit by the sun, you will need a lot of daylight-balanced light to fill the shadows. You could also try using a reflector to bounce some of the light back toward the subject. Of course, there are many ways to achieve what you want by using reflectors and lights alone or combined. Just don't forget the CTB if you are shooting with sunlight in the shot.
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