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Old November 7th, 2007, 11:09 AM   #1
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Help! My Lights Are Way Too B-R-I-G-H-T!!

Hey Everybody --
A good friend was offloading a lot of his video equipment to pursue other interests, and he sold me this exact light kit for a really good price:

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

However, when I set these babies up they blow out what I'm shooting everytime!! I'm shooting in a 10x10 room with an 8 foot ceiling. I can't really do anything about the room because that's what I have to work with.

I admit I am an amateur at lighting, and I recently purchased the DvEnlightenment DVD and I have learned a lot. However, the kit that I have is really bright and it blows out my subject everytime! Since I saved a lot of money on these lights, what would you suggest that I add to them to help diffuse the light? I was looking at soft boxes, but I wasn't sure which one would fit this type of light.

I'm shooting mostly with a backdrop or a green screen. I could really use some help. Thanks a lot everybody!
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Old November 7th, 2007, 11:34 AM   #2
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You will definitely need to dim down the omnis in a small room. You can re-bulb them with lower wattage lights, you can put them on a dimmer, you can use the scrims to cut down the light, you can add umbrellas (either bounce or shoot through) and softboxes. You can also bounce the light off the ceilings or walls. Also, you can clip 'diffusion gells' to your gell frames... or at the very least, use some parchment paper for baking as a clip on diffusion material.

The problem with green screening in a small room, is that you need to keep shadows off the screen. These lights are open faced, and fairly 'harsh'... unlike fresnels. So you will have to light the backdrop evenly, and seperately from your subject,
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Old November 7th, 2007, 11:42 AM   #3
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I'm not sure if your problem is the brightness or the light itself is too hard. You can reduce the brightness of the lights by either putting wire scrims (metal netting) or using ND gels on the lights (you clip this onto the barndoors). You can also move the lights back to reduce the brightness on the subject. Or, you can use a ND filter on the camera if it's too sensitive.

You can soften the light by using white diffusion like 216 (like the ND you clip this onto the barndoors). From memory, Lowel have umbrellas that can be used, you can check out a Chimera for use. You could bounce the light off reflectors, the walls or ceiling if they're white. The problem with soft light is controlling it.

To be honest, your lights aren't too high a wattage for that size of room and you shouldn't have any problem with them.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 11:50 AM   #4
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I have a similiar kit, and use the lowel umbrella's and bounce. I also have barn doors on the lights to reduce intensity further. My issue with tungstens is with heat in small rooms and so I now use CFLs which deals directly with intensity and heat issues.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 12:44 PM   #5
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Thanks everybody for their input -- I will look into each of these options for sure. The kit came with 2 umbrellas so I'll definitely be using those. I'll have to check and see what kind of bulbs I can get for the kit.

I do have a question about the soft boxes. What kind of softbox would I need for this light kit? Can I get any softbox or is there maybe one that is specifically made for this light kit?
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Old November 7th, 2007, 05:38 PM   #6
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I'm pretty sure you have to get the softbox from Lowel as these have proprietary shapes. In any case, you also have to be careful that the softbox you're buying (no matter from where) is rated for the heat of the light you'll be using. Many softboxes are rated for flashes which is a super low heat solution. Thus, putting a tungsten continuous light of 500w to 1000w in a generic softbox is risky unless it says specifically its rated for tungsten continuous lighting of a certain wattage.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 07:27 PM   #7
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Chimera makes rings to fit this light so that you can use their softboxes. They are NOT cheap but they will last for years and can handle the heat. Wescott is another company that makes softboxes. I can not speak to their quality as I have always bought and used Chimeras.

I have several that I use on my omnis and Arri's. They work very well for the open face Omni.
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Old November 8th, 2007, 01:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jordan Orberg View Post
Hey Everybody --
<CLIP>
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ten_Light.html
However, when I set these babies up they blow out what I'm shooting everytime!! I'm shooting in a 10x10 room with an 8 foot ceiling.
<CLIP>
I admit I am an amateur at lighting, and I recently purchased the DvEnlightenment DVD and I have learned a lot. However, the kit that I have is really bright and it blows out my subject everytime!
<CLIP>
I'm shooting mostly with a backdrop or a green screen. I could really use some help. Thanks a lot everybody!
Hi Jordan,

Actually, you'll be happy you have plenty of light once you really get into lighting. And with 1500 watts in a 100 square foot room this winter, you'll be nice and toasty ;--)

Seriously, once you understand lighting, you'll soon realize you don't have enough lighting! Great choice getting dvEnlightenment - study it carefully several times, especially the section on chromakeying/greenscreen. Assuming you're using a 10 foot greenscreen cloth, you'll need two Omnis just for the screen (although you could replace the 500 watt bulbs with 300 watts each). Generally, we don't favor the flat light that shoots everywhere from an umbrella. But yes, you'll use umbrellas with both Omnis on the greenscreen - even light is paramount here. Don't get your subject too close to the greenscreen - at least 3-4 foot away please, otherwise you'll have green light bouncing on the subjects edges (not desireable in post).

Now you need a keylight and fill for the subject - you might get by with a reflector unless you're doing a wide shot; if so, time to buy another light. For your key, an Omni will be fine in your limited space. Here's where a softbox comes in handy - as you've found, you can't put a hardlight like an Omni 5 feet away from your subject with washing them out (to say nothing about their eyes!). My softbox is a Photoflex medium Silverdome (24x36"); the Lowell Rifa is very nice if you're looking for portability. Since you're on a budget and only working at home under light-use conditions, you don't need a heavy-duty (and costly) Chimera at this time although it sure wears on over the years. Lowell and Photoflex make speed rings that connects to your Omni or Tota light to a Photoflex softbox - it's called a video connector (strange name). When you get into this deeper, you'll want to consider getting a softbox grid (eggcrate) to control the keylight. Then there's backlighting, kickers, etc (use Pro light) and even catch lights to give a nice glimmer on the subjects eyes... but I regress.

Hope that provides some help. Like everything else, when doing chromakeying there are lots of variables. For instance, if you were using advanced software like Serious Magic Ultra (now Adobe CS3 Ultra), you can pull a good key with fairly crummy lighting and a wrinkled greenscreen.

Good luck, Michael
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Old November 10th, 2007, 10:28 AM   #9
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Thanks to everybody who has replied!! I really appreciate all the information! Its really helping me to get a grasp of this whole lighting thing!!

Richard -- I looked for some lowel soft boxes, but came up with nothing for purchase. I looked all through BHPhotoVideo and found nothing.....but I've seen pictures of them! They must exist somewhere!! I will definitely make sure I don't purchase just any softbox because the last thing I want is a FIRE!!!

Bob -- I think I may have found what you were talking about here:
http://www.vistek.ca/details/details...roPhotoChimera
Unfortunately, my budget won't permit me to go with a Chimera setup, but I will definitely look into them in the future!

Michael -- I appreciate all the information on lighting! I'm soaking it up! I'm very interested in the Photoflex system! I looked through BHPHOTOVIDEO and found a lot of products, but needless to say I got pretty confused pretty fast! What would I need from Photoflex to attach one of their softbox systems? I appreciate all your help!

Thanks again everybody!
-Jordan Orberg
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Old November 10th, 2007, 01:31 PM   #10
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As far as I know, Lowel does not make softboxes for other lights. I believe the only softbox they have is the Rifa system, which is a light/box combo that you can't separate.
I'm a fan of the Photoflex products. I don't own any yet but I know a couple of DPs that swear by them and I've used there stuff enough to know Photoflex definitely delivers on quality. The rumor is that they're not as well-built as Chimera, hence the price difference, but I have yet to experience this. If you take care of them, they'll take care of you.
I think the Silverdome is going to be your best bet, probably the Medium (24"x36" - the same size as Chimera's Small). Photoflex offers connectors but Chimera's connectors will work with the Photoflex box. There are specific models specifically designed for the Omni. In fact, if you go to an Omni Light page on B&H, I believe one of the accessories you'll find suggested is the Photoflex ring and some boxes. Not sure, but they come up on Tota and DP pages.

Good luck.

~~Dave
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Old November 10th, 2007, 04:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jordan Orberg View Post
Thanks to everybody who has replied!! I really appreciate all the information! Its really helping me to get a grasp of this whole lighting thing!! <clip>

Michael -- I appreciate all the information on lighting! I'm soaking it up! I'm very interested in the Photoflex system! I looked through BHPHOTOVIDEO and found a lot of products, but needless to say I got pretty confused pretty fast! What would I need from Photoflex to attach one of their softbox systems? I appreciate all your help!

-Jordan Orberg
Rehi Jordan,

I use a the medium Photoflex - it actually seems pretty big to me, but I guess not for those on a large set (yes, I've seen those humongous 4x6' monsters, too). Anyway, in response to your question, there's many ways to go. For the Omni, you can use the VC-L4003 and the Tota uses a VC-L4002. See:

http://www.photoflex.com/Product_Det...art/index.html

The L4002 comes with a swivel connector that interconnects the speed ring to your C Stand.

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

http://www.adorama.com/PFSCA.html?se...vel&item_no=70

I have both the L4002 and L4003. If I'm using the Omni and don't need the flexibility of angles, I go directly from the Omni to the L4003. If I need to get a special angle, I actually connect the Omni to the L4003, the L4003 to the L4002 (which has the U-joint), then to the C Stand. Of course, there's more elegant ways to do this but this way you don't need any extra gear than the two pieces for the Omni/Tota speed rings. For a few bucks more (or if you only need an Omni connector), consider something like a swivel connector (double-check these, I'm not sure if they have the exact connectors for proper interface):

http://www.adorama.com/SPSB.html?sea...vel&item_no=47
http://www.adorama.com/AEF830.html?s...vel&item_no=50

And Uncle Michael will gladly accept one under the Christmas tree! What kind of cookies do you want, Santa?

Have fun, Michael

Last edited by Michael Nistler; November 10th, 2007 at 05:16 PM.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 11:04 PM   #12
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Hi Guys --
I really appreciate everyone's help. I've looked into the adaptors for the photoflex light box -- so I just want to make sure that I have a system that works. Here is what I'm planning on getting:

Here is the adaptor:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...for_Lowel.html

And here is the softbox:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._Softbox_.html
or
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...x_X_Small.html
or
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...box_Small.html

Is this all I need? Am I in the correct category of the softboxes that I need? Which one would you recommend for my small room? Again, thank you for all of your help. It is really appreciated! :)
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Old November 21st, 2007, 12:58 AM   #13
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Before you go buying new kit, first off - what exactly are you lighting? I see that it's in front of a screen, but what exactly is the subject, and what are you replacing the backdrop with? More important than brightness is the quality of light you're trying to achieve. Also, how often will you be moving your lights around? Is your subject always the same?

Softboxes are great tools, and I choose them all the time, however they aren't always the correct or preferred tools. As was mentioned before, depending on your situation, clipping a $1 piece of opal frost to the barndoors of your current lighs may achieve the same desired effect as a $250 softbox setup. Also - how are you lighting your background? Will it almost always be a green screen or backdrop or will you be lighting location interiors as well? Are you counting on this light kit to flood your background as well?
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Old November 21st, 2007, 02:59 PM   #14
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Well I'm not purchasing a new light kit -- I own the lights and am looking for a way to soften them. They are too bright for the 10x10 room I'm shooting interviews in.

What about the accessories I've picked out? Will these work with my lighting system?
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Old November 21st, 2007, 10:46 PM   #15
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Oops, sorry for the poor slang. I meant kit as in "stuff," not literally a new light kit. Your lights work perfectly fine, depending on how you're trying to use them. So again - what exactly are you trying to light? What's your subject? What's your background? How wide are you shooting? Where in relation to your forground will your lights be placed? How much space will there be between foreground and background? These are all things that are useful to know BEFORE purchasing light modifiers like softboxes.

My point was, your lights may not actually be too bright, perhaps just uneven. And diffusing them may not necessarily be the answer. Scrims, nets, flags, cutters, fingers, dots etc... all change the shape and output of your lights without diffusing them - you can knock back intensity without diffusing, even if the common solution is to simply bag the light in a softbox. Hard light can be beautiful, as can soft lihgt... the only "right" answer being what you want it to look like. And hard light isn't necessarily dramatic film-noir style lighting. With fill, hard light can be far more beautiful than soft, due to the ability to dilineate shadows and scupt facial features.
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