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Old February 16th, 2008, 03:17 PM   #1
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good lighting setup idea?

Hi all,

I'll be shooting a project next weekend using 2 Canon XL-2s. It is a mock group meeting for a therapist who will sell the class on the net. So we're thinking a group of maybe 6 or 7 plus two therapists sitting around on couches. I'm planning on using the lamps they have plus 3 or 4+ 150watt clamp lights up high around the room, possible diffused to make them a little softer. I normally shoot using a standard three point system with the clamp lights, but I've never shot a group in the round like this, and I don't really want to buy a lighting kit yet. any suggestions?

peace.
-Jonathan
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Old February 16th, 2008, 04:56 PM   #2
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For a group this size and the theme being somewhat tv-like, you could also use one or two 1K tungsten bounced to the ceiling and/or walls.

If you use all your clamp lights to light the people directly, I'd still use one 800-1000W light bounced to make the room brighter (unless you want to have a setting with the background dark, but I understand it's kind of a promo, so you'd want everything to look bright and friendly)
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Old February 16th, 2008, 05:06 PM   #3
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Not sure how the couches are set up, but assuming they are symetrical, and you have camera positions both side of the centre line, then you could use a key on the centre line with side fills, either side or a big softlight on the centre and then redhead types either side with a half scrim - to avoid one being too hot on one couch as a backlight. Not sure I have explained that well - but if the light is behind one couch, loking down at the opposite one, it can be back light for one couch and be the key for the other - the scrim just dampens down the output from it that hits the couch below - without the scrim, the closeness to the nearest couch is far too bright!
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Old February 16th, 2008, 05:17 PM   #4
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I forgot - one of the best setups for round tables and such is always a china ball in the middle, as low as possible and as high as necessary. Plus the necessary edge- and backlighting of course.
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Old February 16th, 2008, 05:34 PM   #5
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great suggestion on the china ball, never would have thought of that. I also like the idea of bouncing off the ceiling.

I generally use ge daylight bulbs (the blue ones) and I'll probably bring the same kind for the lamps they have strewn about. I'll probably use painters plastic to diffuse. I know this all sounds a little ghetto, but I already spent my new gear budget for this project on a new shotgun mic.

keep the suggestions coming...and remember, think ghetto hardware store solutions! ;)
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Old February 16th, 2008, 05:36 PM   #6
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also, as far as the cam positions go, I'll have one on a tripod to pan back and forth between the two therapists, and one handheld to get the participants. So there won't be a center line per se...I know whenever you have a camera that's not in a fixed position it creates obstacles for lighting, but this is the scenario.
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Old February 16th, 2008, 06:44 PM   #7
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I would also go with china balls, maybe even a few of them. Properly placed, and given that you have some practicals around the room as you said, you may not need anything else. Backlights/kickers are fine but not always necessary. It depends what kind of look you are going for. If it has to look like a TV studio, hairlights are fine. If it can look more natural, it becomes a choice.
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Old February 16th, 2008, 06:48 PM   #8
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If I had to do this for tv, I'd really use the bounced light way. I mean a chinaball in the middle of the group is nice, but you gotta set it up and everything - something you have to do in advance, which is mostly not a choice for tv (but for a commercial/promo it should be, I guess?).
However, don't underestimate what two 800-1000W tungsten lamps bounced on white ceilings and walls can do - most tv home stories and stuff like that are shot with only that!

Quote:
I know whenever you have a camera that's not in a fixed position it creates obstacles for lighting, but this is the scenario.
A chinaball in the middle won't interfere with your camera, and most bounced lighting won't throw any shadows as well (well it can, if you really want to - but mostly it won't!)
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Old February 25th, 2008, 10:05 AM   #9
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oh well

shoot's over.

I went with 6 can lights with 100watt ge daylight bulbs, all bounced off the white ceiling, I brought the china ball but got pressed for time and couldn't get it hung. So, lesson learned, bring your own ladder! Overall, I was fairly pleased with such a cheap light kit. I had some issues with shadows because the presenters insisted on standing so close to the back wall. It was an extremely tight space. It certainly doesn't look like a tv studio, but it passes for the counselor's office with ambient room lighting on. I would post some footage or stills but I'm tied up in an NDA.

So, thanks for the suggestions, I made it work, and for this project, that's the best I could ask for.

peace.
-Jonathan
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