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Old September 8th, 2007, 08:54 AM   #1
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On camera light for interviews

Hi, I am doing a series of interviews, usually in an office setting. I use a Canon XL-2 with 3x lens. Can anyone recommend an on camera light for interviews. Are the Canon lights good? I do not do a lot of these so I really cannot justify a full light rig, plus I tavel a lot an size does counts. Thank you. Bob
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Old September 8th, 2007, 10:47 AM   #2
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Bob,

The primary issue with on-camera lights is the that they're ... well, on the camera. So all they can do is light any subject from the precise direction of the lens. That means you get essentially "flatening" lighting providing no sense of shape and dimension to the subject being lit.

Still, if you need one, you need one.

Honestly, what you'll find is that the cheap ones are all pretty much alike. They have about the same intensity, they "try" to use reflectors that diffuse the light a bit, but they are really just point sources that blast a bit of extra light onto a subject from dead ahead.

Spending more will get you simple dimming abilities (beware of light color shift toward redish as you go dimmer), better construction (metal rather than plastic) and more powering options.

But they all work about the same.

I don't know your camrera and whether it has any specific kind of powered "hot shoe" mount - but if it does, that's probably the wise place to start. Anything more "general" and you'll either be dealing with on-light batteries or you'll have to use an external power source and cabling - which is often more hassle then it's worth.

Good luck.
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Old September 8th, 2007, 02:25 PM   #3
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Even if you're doing quickie on the street interviews, get the light off the camera, it looks awful. Or at least get the light up about a foot and off to the left a bit. Use some diffusion to soften the light. Clipping a little chunk of Opal, 250, or 216 to the barndoors will make the light more face friendly.
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Old September 8th, 2007, 02:40 PM   #4
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If you're not doing a lot of interviews - to justify a proper kit - try to go with a higher end model light like Bill suggested. One thing that I would add is a light weight light stand (Avenger 625B comes to mind - I have 2). And then you can get the light off of the camera (with proper accessories to make the connection) and get some decent lighting for your interview.

A few months back (6 or 8 - I'll look for the post), someone posted in this forum about doing interviews totally with "on-camera" lights that were mounted on stands. They had some pics and got suprisingly good results.

The other advantage to doing this would be that you would still have a really good on-camera mic for mounting on your camera when you need to be moble. Although, you most likely would still need a small "arm" to move the light over to one side.

Whatever you do, make sure you get a good light with a dimmer, use a little diffusion, and white balance appropriatly to work around color shift.

Hope this helps...

Kevin
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Old September 8th, 2007, 02:54 PM   #5
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Found the thread:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=82055

Look at the post from Brian towards the end of the thread. I didn't see te pics and don't remember where I saw them.

Just thought it was worth a look...
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Old September 9th, 2007, 03:44 PM   #6
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Thanks every for your replys. I am looking at the Canon 10w. It is on camera but uses a Canon camcorder battary for independent power so I can take it off the cam and put it on a small stand with reflextor if needed. Bob
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Old September 13th, 2007, 02:56 PM   #7
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Don't buy a 10W light - it is a mere fill even without diffusion (and without diffusion it is too harsh. And a reflector with 10W? Forget about that right away...

The least you can work with in my opinion is 35W, better get 50W or even 80W. And always use good bulbs, a photo-optic 50W bulb can be a lot brighter (and closer to 3200K) than some cheap 50W bulb.

With a good 50W light you can use a large piece of 216WD on the barn doors - almost like a little soft box.

btw. we just got some Zoe Bepop Lux-DV lights and I really like them. They are very lightweight, you can use up to 50W bulbs, they have 2-way barndoors and a glass ctb filter (1/2 ctb I think). You can't dim or focus them, but the weight is extremely low so I can live with that. You have to find good bulbs (12V with reflector, there are many types of these lamps available, you need to buy the ones with a 60° angle and a good reflector with no color aberrations or hotspots)
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Old September 16th, 2007, 11:36 AM   #8
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned these yet:

http://vidled.com/products.html

I've heard nothing but great things about them. They come in three color temperatures. include diffusion and color gels, work on standard camcorder batteries, are reasonably priced and evidently very well made.

Check out the hilarious video clip of a guy repeatedly hurling one against a wall. Evidently someone had the audacity to impugn their build quality so they shot the video to put that notion to rest.

I haven't got mine yet (due this week I hope), but I'll come back and report again when I do.
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Old September 16th, 2007, 01:48 PM   #9
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http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ht_System.html

I have that and its amazing the vidled are also good alternatives.
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Old September 16th, 2007, 01:55 PM   #10
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the problem with good led lights is they cost the hell.
at that price you can get a really good regular lamp.
led is ok when it is cheap. it is too early now.
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Old September 18th, 2007, 01:11 AM   #11
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I would go for an LED even if it is expensive. Because it last the whole day with one battery ,compared to the halogen bulbs or tungsten ones. You will end up paying more for batteries , carry loads of them and also having to charge them.
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