Building a Studio. Starting Small Need advice on lighting (must be portable) at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Photon Management

Photon Management
Shine an ever-loving light on you.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 10th, 2008, 10:02 AM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Lexington, KY
Posts: 103
Building a Studio. Starting Small Need advice on lighting (must be portable)

Hey gang,

I'm working for a company that is in the process of building a video production studio. We're going to start small and expand as time goes by. My question is:
Are there any good kits to buy to just start out with? I'm extremely inexperienced when it comes to lighting, so we want to start out simple. When we go on the road we want to be able to use these same lights. If anyone could point me in the right direction I would greatly appreciate it.
Roger Akers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 10th, 2008, 10:54 AM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Shenzhen, China
Posts: 781
You'll want a good combination of what we call "soft" light and "hard" light. The soft light will be used to flatter subjects in interviews and render complexion imperfections less noticeable (especially with HD if you're going that route). Tungsten softboxes or fluorescent units are good examples of softlight but all softlight has less "throw" than hard light. In other words, the light doesn't go as far before it's intensity falls off. It's just a draw back of all soft light. However, that doesn't change the fact that soft light has a place as both what we call key and/or fill too. You'll typically want one intensity for a key and a lesser intensity for a fill. The lesser intensity fill can even be something like a 42" reflector disc.

Hard light will be used when you need distance throw, hard shadows, projection or background and/or rim lighting. Examples of hard lights are tungsten or HMI fresnels or open face lights. The fresnels will have a lens and a focusing mechanism to allow you to go from a wide beam to a narrow beam. Thats a starting point.

Thus, a complete kit will include both hard and soft light sources plus lots of other grip accessories like grip heads, flags, black wrap, tape, etc.

This may raise other questions but that's what the forum is for...
__________________
Richard Andrewski - Cool Lights USA - RED #114
http://www.coollights.biz
Richard Andrewski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 10th, 2008, 11:18 AM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Lexington, KY
Posts: 103
Thanks Rich, ironically enough I've been sifting thru other threads here and it looks like we're about to pull the trigger on your product here

http://www.coollights.biz/cl255-cool...ight-p-30.html

We're thinking of buying 4 of these (2 to mount, 2 to travel) My question is, do you recommend these lights as a travel light or is that where "hard" light comes in? I know it depends on the setting but what would be typical setup time for for these lights? If you have any other recommendations feel free to link them to me on your site such as stands and other do-dads.
Roger Akers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 10th, 2008, 08:43 PM   #4
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Makati, Metro Manila
Posts: 2,706
Images: 32
Cool Lights - Portable Models

Cool Lights has portable models that are half the weight for twice the price. The one with the built-in dimmer looks very convenient. Though I wonder if a less expensive external dimmer would work just as well.

I'm also looking at the Cool Lights to see if they can replace my softbox and frame panels, in terms of the quality of the light and portability. They look like they'd much easier and quicker to setup.
__________________
"Ultimately, the most extraordinary thing, in a frame, is a human being." - Martin Scorsese
Michael Wisniewski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 11th, 2008, 11:59 AM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Wurzburg, Germany
Posts: 316
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Wisniewski View Post
Though I wonder if a less expensive external dimmer would work just as well.
You can't use normal line dimmers on fluorescents.
Heiko Saele is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 14th, 2008, 07:13 PM   #6
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Posts: 1,538
Roger,

The thing is....

Lighting is "object being lit specific."

Not "studio being equipped" specific.

A light plot for talking head interviews is different from a studio doing automobile beauty shots.

The lights that are good for lighting a coin collection, are NOT the ones you need for getting really nice shots of show dogs.

Any of those thing CAN take place in a studio - but require totally different lighting approaches.

It's WHAT you're shooting that determines the lighting approach. Never WHERE you're shooting it.

Said another way, you can equip a studio really well for doing 1 or 2-shot talking head interviews - and have that lighting kit be totally inadequate for a thousand other tasks.

And enough broad illumination for a small choir - gives you little to work with when you want a moody approach to a reflective fine art piece.

Just the way it is.

You've GOT to determine what you're going to be PAID to do with the studio FIRST - before you decide how to equip it for lighting.

Good luck.
Bill Davis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 14th, 2008, 10:40 PM   #7
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Los Angeles, California
Posts: 2,070
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
Roger,

The thing is....

Lighting is "object being lit specific."

Not "studio being equipped" specific.

A light plot for talking head interviews is different from a studio doing automobile beauty shots.

The lights that are good for lighting a coin collection, are NOT the ones you need for getting really nice shots of show dogs.

Any of those thing CAN take place in a studio - but require totally different lighting approaches.

It's WHAT you're shooting that determines the lighting approach. Never WHERE you're shooting it.

Said another way, you can equip a studio really well for doing 1 or 2-shot talking head interviews - and have that lighting kit be totally inadequate for a thousand other tasks.

And enough broad illumination for a small choir - gives you little to work with when you want a moody approach to a reflective fine art piece.

Just the way it is.

You've GOT to determine what you're going to be PAID to do with the studio FIRST - before you decide how to equip it for lighting.

Good luck.
So true Bill.

I own 22 instruments myself and I still often don't have the lights I really want, especially when lighting an entire set for a narrative scene. Personally, I favor smaller instruments in larger quantities, I find for Chiaroscuro pools of light all over a set, I need a lot of small sources. I love "gimmick" lights, small LED strips, the IKEA mini Source 4s, fluorescent tubes with colored gels for backlighting objects. I shoot a lot of interviews and I shoot a lot of tabletop. You are so right, I usually key with 100s and 150s for tabletop (on dimmers) while for interviews, it's 650s and 1ks for keys.

Lighting gear is like a buffet, you could have a room full of food types and sample all of them, depending on your mood and what you are going for.

Good luck Roger,

Dan
Dan Brockett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 16th, 2008, 12:11 AM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Shenzhen, China
Posts: 781
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Akers View Post
Thanks Rich, ironically enough I've been sifting thru other threads here and it looks like we're about to pull the trigger on your product here

http://www.coollights.biz/cl255-cool...ight-p-30.html

We're thinking of buying 4 of these (2 to mount, 2 to travel) My question is, do you recommend these lights as a travel light or is that where "hard" light comes in? I know it depends on the setting but what would be typical setup time for for these lights? If you have any other recommendations feel free to link them to me on your site such as stands and other do-dads.
I really think the studio models are best in the studio fixed on a grid or stand. I know a lot of our customers do use them as transportables but they weren't specifically designed for that. Any large and flat surfaces with powder coating will be vulnerable to scratch and wear--even if powder coating is extremely tough. Plus they are heavier too.

I designed the portable models to be sturdy, lightweight and versatile in their mounting options too.

Hard lights are not necessarily better for travel although they are certainly very portable. What hard light is more meant to do is give great definition in projection, shadows, throw, etc. When you use a hard light for a rim light it gives a great definition that you can't get with a soft light. When you want a swatch of light on a background, it's not really doable with soft light. When you want a light to really punch through a gel and make a color streak somewhere, nothing like a hard light to do that. When you want to project a cookie (cucaloris pattern) on a wall, its got to be a hard light to do that.

On the other hand, when you have some subjects whose skin isn't perfect (and how many are?) then soft light really does flatter them more. Softlight can flood an area and help eliminate shadows or at least make them less well defined.

So, this is why both hard and soft light have a place in your kit. They both have their own uses.
__________________
Richard Andrewski - Cool Lights USA - RED #114
http://www.coollights.biz
Richard Andrewski is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Photon Management

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:09 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network