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Old October 18th, 2007, 02:21 PM   #1
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DIY How-To Lighting...do worklights give good results?

I'm interested in hearing from people that are using 500 watt worklights as video lights. I'd like to know the pro's and the con's. I realize there is less control, no barn doors, etc. For those that use worklights, what have you done to work around the problem?

The round, silver clamp-on workshop lights, can a box of some sort be built safely around it using foamcore or something to make a good softlight, or controlled light to be climped here and there?

I want to light 2 video projects and will worklights suffice for:

1) a person sitting infront of a muslin bg
2) a person in front of a greenscreen

I'm starting from scratch in making my own light kit. I'm looking at getting the dual head 500 watt worklights and bouncing light, getting 3200k bulbs.... I also saw a post by Ryan Kingston where he designed a worklight and used a baking tin and parchment paper which looked promising.

I need my basic 3 point lighting and putting the kit together from scratch. Open to suggestions on what to buy and not buy, tips and tricks!
Lisa
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Old October 18th, 2007, 02:42 PM   #2
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I use scoops and worklights. They work well for me. The Craftsman worklights I have are limiting in their 4' height on the stands, but Coleman's got some you can that go to 7'.

http://www.coollights.biz has plans for barndoors that work well on both worklights and scoop lights.

For the scoop lights, make sure you buy the ACDelco Scoops as they are not friction knuckles holding them together, but bolted for longer lifetimes! and less things falling on our actors as the other kinds fall apart and drop on their heads :(

a bedsheet 6-8 feet in front (blah, blah, fire bad!) of the worklights will catch the light cone (I cast cone of light for 2d6+4 damage) at a wider point and make a large light source to put near your actors to get big soft light on them.

The scoops with 100watt equivalent lights (I use CFL - flourescent screw ins - GE specifically) need to be near your actors to provide enough light 6' or less to do your image justice.

Bounce cards (white foam core) will also spread the light out giving a softer light. and black foam core will work well as a flag to control spill.

in lieu of the time/technical prowess to build barndoors, black foil will work well to make adjustable "snoots" for your lights that can control the shape of the light coming out.

Old cardboard boxes cut into patterns planted in front of your lights (again with the fire hazards Cole!) will make cool patterns on the walls (or actors), slits for venetian blinds, random patterns for light filtered through leaves...or a stick with leaves to represent ... um...a stick...with...leaves.

For the back light, a couple cheap light stands 8' (ebay) with a tent pole stretched across them (holes drilled through the ends of the tent pole, bolts shot through them set into the tops of the light stands) make a nice lighting frame to hang clamp lights from for this purpose.

Sand bag everything, use gloves, keep a fire extinguisher on set, browning cardboard or bedsheets is bad, keep electrical cables together with tape and taped to the floor for safety, smoke smell means fire comes next...keep the glass covers on the work lights! aside from the UV radiation filtering, hot glass shards from a bulb blowing hurts alot and means a visit to the ER...bad for the production schedule.
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Old October 18th, 2007, 08:56 PM   #3
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Or just go fluorescent and avoid the hot lights altogether. CFLs from Home Depot--N:Vision brand in 3500K or 5500K can work well for you using the scoop work lights like Cole mentioned. A very easy and inexpensive setup and gives more light than you think if you're starting with a dark room which you should for the sake of control.
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Old October 19th, 2007, 05:06 AM   #4
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I think anyone that reads this forum probably knows that I hate tungsten, but they are cheap. I would rather use multiple fluorescent bulbs in clamp lamps but they aren't as bright as a tungsten worklight. I still use fluorescent clamp lamps on occaision, but I haven't used tungsten for at least three years. I don't feel physically comfortable with 500W tungsten and the little lawyer on my shoulder keeps yelling, "You're going to start a fire or tip over a light stand and brand your main actor who will sue you for the 500 million dollars he would have maid if he didn't have a brand on his face!"

Seriously, the things I would recommend for working with DIY tungsten are:

Make barn doors as Cole mentioned. They add control and a nice place to clip gels.

Use them as a key primarily through diffusion or bounced off the room surfaces.

Don't use a worklight with two lights on a stand with both aimed directly at your subject. Use one direct and aim the other at the ceiling or back at the wall. The two lamps each cast their own hard shadow and you get that cheap soap opera lighting effect. I would never forgive myself if I put two harsh nose shadows on some pretty lady's cheek.

Make sure you get worklights that are at least 7 feet tall (including fixture). Typical worklights are 6 feet tall and that is right in the face of taller actors. This creates unusual shadows if used directly. Shorter stands are okay of you always use a diffuser or bounce the light.

Get a pair of gloves for making adjustments after the lights are hot.

Turn the lights off if there is going to be any significant break between takes.

Make sure you have gels if you want to match daylight or other fixtures. Worklights are usually about 2700Kelvin so they might look a bit warm in some situations. They won't be very bright during the day with full CTB (blue) gel, but at least get some sort of CTB if you really need to use them. I find that it isn't too much of a problem to use 1/2 CTB as warmer light on skin isn't as bad as too much blue on an actor. You can always double 1/2 CTB. I once shot with a worklight and 1/2 CTB on an overcast day and the warm worklight coming from the side made it look a bit like sunset. The sky was overcast so it made it look like evening with the cool soft light and the hard warm light.

Oh, get some 1/2 or full CTO (orange) if you think you might want to make your tungsten the same color as fire.

Last edited by Marcus Marchesseault; October 19th, 2007 at 05:19 AM. Reason: forgetfulness
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Old October 19th, 2007, 08:37 AM   #5
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Once again, I receive great info from this forum.

I have been debating about using worklights versus buying a kit. It appears that many of you are happy with your results from the worklights and scoops scenario.

I think I'm going to try what Cole does and use both workoights and scoops and see what kind of look I can achieve.

The one project I'm going to first try it on is where I have a person sitting in front of a muslin background. I want it to be a soft lighting scenario. Not sure what to compare the look to for the sake of typing it here. I'm wanting it to be a soft look like you see on maybe 20/20 when they interview XYZ actress....I'll use Marcus' suggestion to turn one head and bounce from the ceiling and the other I'll pass it through diffusion after making the stand for my diffusion material. I'll either pull back the one head worklight farther from subject as my fill or try to bounce it somehow.

To setup my backlight/hairlight on talent can a scoop be used with a CFL clamped up high and aiming down on talent with CTO?

Cole gave me the link for the barndoor kit for the tungsten and that's a great way to go. Glad someone designed a kit for worklights.

Marcus, thanks for the tips on the 7' stand and the gels.

Richard, I'm going to check into getting the N: Vision.

Once set I'll white balance to the lights and test the look. If you have more ideas or suggestions, keep'm coming.

Here's a question.....let's say a household lamp is added for sake of a set, in someone's house for a shoot..... What's the correct way to light for this?

Thank you
Lisa

Last edited by Lisa Bennett; October 19th, 2007 at 08:39 AM. Reason: added info
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Old October 19th, 2007, 09:00 AM   #6
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The N:visions are good, I use them for small rooms and interviews. However, I have to use tungsten for lighting back drops, using gels, and throwing patterns, etc. Not an issue if the room is large and they are ten feet or more away from the talents, as they are pointing away from them and not heating things up.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ferling...85270259/show/
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Old October 19th, 2007, 09:06 AM   #7
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Hi Peter,

I'm going to checkout your pic link. Thanks for sending it.

I'll be shooting in a big area which will be helpful for safety reasons with the worklights.

I'll looking forward to getting to the store to see the N:Visions.

Best,
Lisa
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Old October 19th, 2007, 02:24 PM   #8
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Here's the link to the barndoor template on my site that Cole was talking about:

http://www.coollights.biz/free-clbd4...late-p-48.html

Just follow the directions for downloading it and you'll print it out using a regular PC printer, tape it to a piece of appropriately thick sheet metal and cut out along the pattern. Anyway, just follow the directions as in this video on my website:

http://www.coollights.biz/wordpress/archives/21

We also have the barndoor kit available for sale if its too much trouble for you to fabricate it. Let us know how it turns out...
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Old October 24th, 2007, 11:11 AM   #9
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Richard,

Thank you for the links.

Thanks to everyone that has been giving me input. Using the scoop lights will help me for the interview projects.

What about lighting for green screen? Will the 500 watt worklights in conjunction with the N:vision allow me to light for green screen evenly and my talent that will be standing in front of the screen?

Lisa
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Old October 24th, 2007, 12:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa Bennett View Post
Once again, I receive great info from this forum.

Here's a question.....let's say a household lamp is added for sake of a set, in someone's house for a shoot..... What's the correct way to light for this?

Thank you
Lisa
Put the lowest watt bulb in the lamp as you can find. If that isn't dim enough then look around your hardware store for a dimmer that the lamp can plug into. If you can't find one there try this one:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...r_Control.html

Keep an eye on the color temp of the dimmed light though. As it gets dimmer it'll get warmer and you may have to use either a 1/2 CTB or full CTB gel to correct it. I usually like the warmth that dimming practical lights gives, but depending on where your other lights are in color temp, or if you have some natural light in your shot, it may be too yellow.

Hope this helps out...

Kevin
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Old October 24th, 2007, 12:33 PM   #11
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One other thought, I have a interior location where the existing lighting fixtures or chandelier lights with five "arms" for the bulbs and a space for one bulb that screws in directly underneath.

Can the color balanced fluorescent bulbs be added to the chandeliers for a video project for a church that will air on TV and look good? Since the fluorescents produce a softlight then I shouldn't have a problem with shadows.

Any thoughts?

Lisa
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Old October 25th, 2007, 04:23 AM   #12
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Dimmer option

For dimming, as mentioned in another thread here, these work great, handle 1500 watts, and are about 10 bucks.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=43060

I usually get alot of odds and ends from this place and they are great. Used to be right around the corner from me when I lived in Atlanta, now I have to drive 25 minutes to them now :-(

Good Luck,

Scott
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Old October 25th, 2007, 10:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa Bennett View Post
One other thought, I have a interior location where the existing lighting fixtures or chandelier lights with five "arms" for the bulbs and a space for one bulb that screws in directly underneath.

Can the color balanced fluorescent bulbs be added to the chandeliers for a video project for a church that will air on TV and look good? Since the fluorescents produce a softlight then I shouldn't have a problem with shadows.

Any thoughts?

Lisa

Yes it can but it depends upon whether the chandeliers look good (themselves) after adding them (and if they'll be seen on camera). It also depends upon how high the chandeliers are as to how much light will radiate to the floor (bigger drop off from flos).
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Old October 25th, 2007, 10:49 AM   #14
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People are mentioning dimmers. Whatever you do, don't try to dim the CFLs, that's solely a worklight dimming solution. You'll most likely damage the ballasts of the CFL's if you try to dim them with a line voltage dimmer.
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Old October 26th, 2007, 08:26 AM   #15
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I went to the Harbor Freight site. Thanks for the tip.

I think for the interview projects I'm going to go with the scoop lights and the CFL's and use some black foam core for the spill. I have a muslin BG I'm putting together, also.

I'm going to use the CFL's to attempt to light a green screen and see how it comes out. Hopefully it will work.

Only thing I'm trying to decide on is to use the 3500k or the 5500k CFL's.

Best,
Lisa
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