On-camera light makes ppl look shinny. Sollutions? at DVinfo.net

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Old October 22nd, 2007, 05:46 PM   #1
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On-camera light makes ppl look shinny. Sollutions?


Problem; I use the Bescor on camera light MPL-645B. (see link above) The light has a dimmer from 50watts down. Great for wide shots - really lights up the room - but i do a lot of interviews and the light at any dim level can make people look shinny, or greasy which is not good. Im trying to find a good way to diffuse the light. Something that is fast to attach and take off - run and gun. I have tried using soft spun 4x4 piece of cloth but it looks really crapy and it takes time to pin it on with C-47s.

Anyone try this idea:
Its called Soft screen by LumiQuest. I dont know if this will work or not.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 07:58 PM   #2
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first TAPE the TOUGH SPUN on to the light. it's a lot faster ;-)

Second, I do all kinds of interviews with my on camera light and for all but the oiliest skin I generally have no problem. The key is getting the light off the camera about 3 inches higher that without - doesn't seem like a lot but it makes a hugh difference. For my old Bescor which isn't a dimmable it already has a 3 inch mounting bracket on it and with a piece of Tough Spun taped in front of the glass it works OK as well but I prefer the pattern of the AB light with the softbox. Point is start by getting the light off the camera. 3 to 4 inches would be a nice place for that light then use a bit of diffusion material and BTW change out the bulb to a flood type. Home Depot has a nice selection of bulbs.

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Old October 23rd, 2007, 05:17 AM   #3
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I always use Lee 216 or 400 (both full WD). Attach it as far away as possible from the light source, so you get the maximum amount of softness. Try to back up a step or two - one or two steps more distance change the quality of your on camera light a lot. Sometimes that's not a possibility, I know...

You shouldn't care too much about how your light looks, only about how your shot looks :)
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 11:50 AM   #4
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Tough Spun is definately excellent stuff for this type of thing. Its economical and versatile, and easy to to create as many layers of diffusion as you need.

However, if I'm running around off the shoulder and I am in situation where I am using my Bescor light and have to change the throw on the fly, I use the same LumiQuest diffuser you linked to. I haven't yet found something more simple and effective for situations where I don't have time to offload my cam to fiddle with gear.

I attached a small piece of velcro to the top barn door of the Bescor kit and a corresponding one to the flap of the lumiquest, positioned so that when attached, the diffuser hangs down in front of the light and just reaches the lower door. (I don't bother attaching the bottom, the weight of the Lumiquest seems to keep it from flapping or moving on me.) It may look a little 'thrown together' but who cares. It works well and is really quick to set up.

Although my shooting needs have changed, and I rarely find myself needing the use of on-cam lighting anymore, when I do use the Bescor, I just make sure to keep the Lumiquest handy. So if I'm in a low-light situation, I just set the dimmer as needed, but if I'm going to get closer to other people or slightly reflective surfaces, I can just whip out the diffuser and throw it onto the velcro. It takes about 2 seconds (and people never complain about being blinded while I still get the illumination I need.)

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Old October 24th, 2007, 05:02 PM   #5
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What about carrying corn silk?

I know this isn't your department, but if you're really that concerned about the look of your interviews, you have to work with makeup. Think about some Biore oil pulling strips, an ultra-clean white towel, some sheer corn starch or other oil pullers, and keep a small mirror tucked in your pelican.

Sometimes, before an interview, I go with saying, "Okay, lights are up. Time for a collar, tie, glasses, hair and makeup check." It never embarrasses the interview by looking out for their vanity. Never give excuses. Just say, "Whoops, we got a fly-away here." Remember, you're doing it for them.

I am an ENG photographer, so I understand the need for appropriate make-up. I just tell the talent it is off. They have never, ever, ever taken offense at it. Sometimes a sheer powder would help a lot, and if you back the camera off, it will never be noticed after application.

Light, no matter how diffused, will always look oily if there is oil. Water will always look wet. There is no real application of light to 'de-oil' something.

I say this all the time, if cornered. "I can't make the camera lie. I can only enhance, modify, or de-emphasize what we already have." If an interview is oily, bring a hyper-clean white towel and tell them to dab. Take some of those Biore oil strips with you. Napkins work in a pinch. Trust me, unless they're a complete jerk, they WILL THANK YOU. It's okay to mention it.

If they're a professional who is concerned about their image and you caught something? You just became their favorite person today.

Remember, you are in control of the image. That is your job. They will appreciate you if you clarify, clear up a problem, or otherwise make them look better with understanding in a professional manner.

Understand that if you can't fix it, next time, oh, they'll definitely show up with it already fixed.
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