Kaeser + newbie lighting questions 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 November 26th, 2008, 07:18 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Dallas Texas USA
Posts: 33
Kaeser + newbie lighting questions

I plan to make short films and I am looking to buy some beginner's lighting kit for dramatic scenes. But I have a few basic lighting questions first:

1. fluorescent vs tungsten vs halogen- Fluorescent gives whitish light and tungsten gives yellowish light, right? When do you use fluorescent light and when the tungsten one? And what about halogen light?

2. On top of the fluorescent and tungsten, is the color temperature an independent parameter or somehow related to the same? I see that 5600K corresponds to daylight and 3300K corresponds to yellowish color. So, is fluorescent always 5600K?

3. I am not able to decide between the various wattages given. How much is required for indoor and how much for outdoor (say night scenes when I am not using sunlight)?

4. Softboxes and umbrellas - I gather that these are used for making the light soft. When do you use each of these?

5. How is this kaeser lighting kit? based on the answer to question 3, I might choose a kit with more powerful or less powerful lights, but just to get an idea. My budget is somewhat in this range or lower.
Steve Kaeser Backgrounds & Accessories
Srinivas Swaminathan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 26th, 2008, 11:23 PM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 4,100
I'll take a quick stab at this until the "big boys" weigh in"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Srinivas Swaminathan View Post
I plan to make short films and I am looking to buy some beginner's lighting kit for dramatic scenes. But I have a few basic lighting questions first:


1. fluorescent vs tungsten vs halogen- Fluorescent gives whitish light and tungsten gives yellowish light, right? When do you use fluorescent light and when the tungsten one? And what about halogen light?
This is incorrect. Tungsten/halogen light often gives light between 2700 and 3500K. This is not ALWAYS the case, but it is common. And the color temperature of tungsten can change with voltage supplied. Start dimming the light, and the color temperature drops. Fluorescent light can be had in nearly any common color temperature. Many are specifically designed at 3200-3500K to match tungsten lighting fixtures, other are at 5600K or close and are chosen to mimic daylight. For our purposes, you can think of halogen as Tungsten.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Srinivas Swaminathan View Post
2. On top of the fluorescent and tungsten, is the color temperature an independent parameter or somehow related to the same? I see that 5600K corresponds to daylight and 3300K corresponds to yellowish color. So, is fluorescent always 5600K?
Color temperature is independent. Though most tungsten falls into a range. Fluorescent can be matched to nearly any common color temperature.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Srinivas Swaminathan View Post
3. I am not able to decide between the various wattages given. How much is required for indoor and how much for outdoor (say night scenes when I am not using sunlight)?
How much is required is HUGELY variable. Trying to light a bathroom, is vastly different than trying to light an airplane hanger, though both are "indoor". Having "too much" light is an easily solvable problem. Having not enough light can mean you don't get to shoot. Always buy as much light as you can. The more area you need to cover, the more light you'll need. I've done some 1 person interview lighting with a single softbox and a 35w fluorescent bulb. I've also done a 1 person interview with nearly 3K of light on the subject.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Srinivas Swaminathan View Post
4. Softboxes and umbrellas - I gather that these are used for making the light soft. When do you use each of these?
You use them when you want soft light! :) Generally, softer light is more flattering for closeups. It produces no harsh shadows and fills in skin imperfections. It's also hard to control so you really need to have a well thought plan if you want to use it, or a lot of room behind your subject.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Srinivas Swaminathan View Post
5. How is this kaeser lighting kit? based on the answer to question 3, I might choose a kit with more powerful or less powerful lights, but just to get an idea. My budget is somewhat in this range or lower.
Steve Kaeser Backgrounds & Accessories
I wouldn't buy that lighting kit with someone else's money. Good lighting is expensive. It is also an investment. I'd buy a 40 year old Mole Richardson light or an Arri before I'd touch anything I saw on that page.
__________________
DVX100, PMW-EX1, Canon 550D, FigRig, Dell Octocore, Avid MC4/5, MB Looks, RedCineX, Matrox MX02 mini, GTech RAID, Edirol R-4, Senn. G2 Evo, Countryman, Moles and Lowels.
Perrone Ford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 27th, 2008, 01:13 AM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Redding, CA
Posts: 260
I agree that good lighting is an investment and if you can drop 1500 or 2000 on a lighting kit you'd be much better off than to buy a kit for 5-600. That being said, I've been in shooting situations where I would have given my skin for a kit like that. Lighting is almost always necessary, even if you have to get by with cheap ones right now. Work with what you can afford to work with. Having lower-quality lights is better than having no lights. Just be thinking about upgrading, because you're gonna want to before long.
__________________
Reel Impressions Media - Make it more than a memory
GY-HD100- 7D- PSC Promix 3- Lectro/Sennheiser- Zoom H4- MPB- CS6/CC
Christopher Glavan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 27th, 2008, 02:21 AM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1,158
or put another way - good quality lights and audio gear will out last your next couple of cameras. 20 years from now your lights & audio gear will still work if you are not too mean to it. can't say that for any camera. in 5 years at best, more like 3, you'll be wanting a new camera and find whatever you currently have is next to worthless. welcome to video. cameras are like computers, bad investments that depreciate very quickly, not so for most other gear.
Steve Oakley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 27th, 2008, 09:18 AM   #5
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Dallas Texas USA
Posts: 33
Thanks guys for the useful information. Perrone, I looked at your suggestions. I need to rob a bank (not a good idea in this economy) to afford those :) I am not a professional and will be making videos out of my own interest. But I am listening to your advice. I'll do another round of research to see if I can get anything better.
Srinivas Swaminathan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 27th, 2008, 09:23 AM   #6
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 4,100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Srinivas Swaminathan View Post
Thanks guys for the useful information. Perrone, I looked at your suggestions. I need to rob a bank (not a good idea in this economy) to afford those :) I am not a professional and will be making videos out of my own interest. But I am listening to your advice. I'll do another round of research to see if I can get anything better.
Nonsense. PM coming your way.
__________________
DVX100, PMW-EX1, Canon 550D, FigRig, Dell Octocore, Avid MC4/5, MB Looks, RedCineX, Matrox MX02 mini, GTech RAID, Edirol R-4, Senn. G2 Evo, Countryman, Moles and Lowels.
Perrone Ford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 30th, 2008, 11:29 AM   #7
Contributor
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 4,449
You use what lights you can afford. A basic set of those fluorescents can be fine for shooting interviews and lighting in small rooms. Then rent what you need for bigger shoots.
Bill Pryor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 30th, 2008, 12:24 PM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 904
In the for what it is worth category... I think in the end you will probably discover you end up with a setup in tungsten/halogen, and a flo softbox or other flo lighting as well.

In the bang for the buck in tungsten, consider used lowel tota lights. You can go as high as 1K with them (varying the intensity with bulb changes from 300 to 1K), and they can be picked up used at a reasonable price. Also a good choice would be to pick up at least one Lowel pro-light and maybe a snoot so you have a precision light for fill or hairlight. Again they can be picked up used on E-bay reasonably inexpensively. So... you can have a starter tungsten kit for a few hundred dollars.

I bought a flo light and softbox from Richard Andrewski's company Cool-lights, and the softbox came with a grid (beehive). When I got it I did not fully appreciate the necessity for light control that gave me, but I do now. It was a couple hundred dollars and well worth it.

I can use the flo softbox setup as the main key light in an interview or closeup, use a reflector fill and the prolight with snoot as a hairlight.

Now my kit isn't going to light a soundstage, but without a few other additions for lighting green screen etc, what I have described should set you back under $700 with stands and dimmers cords etc... and provide an excellent starter kit.

There's my 2 cents worth.

ps. If you go the E-bay route know what you are buying, these lights sometimes get bid up stupidly. You may need to keep a careful eye out to get one at an intelligent used price.

Chris Swanberg
Chris Swanberg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 30th, 2008, 02:51 PM   #9
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Dallas Texas USA
Posts: 33
Thanks Chris and Bill. Thanks for the suggestion on flo.

A few questions I asked Peronne, that I will ask here to get more responses:

1. Fresnel vs variable focus: From the description I gather that Fresnels use a lens to either focus into a beam or throw a wide light. I also see that in Lowel Omni and V-light, it is specified as a variable focus light with 5:1 or 8:1 or some such. Do they accomplish the same things as fresnels? Or even if not, would it matter in a typical situation?

2. Power: As per what I gathered from some posts, normal circuit breakers are rated at 15 amps. If I keep a conservative 10 amp limit, I should not use anything more than 1200W, right? I will be 90% of the times shooting within apartment or some such non-studio settings when I shoot indoors.

a)How many watts is okay from a current perspective, assuming ALL lights in one small apartment bedroom?
b)How many watts would be required from a illumination perspective - take a 12' x 12' bedroom.
c)How many watts is okay for the same room from a heat perspective, I don't want to bake the actors or set the building to fire :)

3. Assuming 1200 watts as the maximum, I came up with two choices:

a) ARRI softbank d1 kit with 3 fresnels (650W,300W,150W), a softbox, barndoors amd scrims for $2100 (much >> BUDGET):

Amazon.com: Arri Softbank D1 Tungsten Fresnel Lighting Kit with 3 Fresnels, Bulbs and Accessories, 1,100 Watts, 120 Volts AC.: Camera & Photo

b) Lowel DV creator 44 kit with 1 omni(500W), 1 tota(750W), 1 pro(200W) and 1 rifa-ex softlight(200W), barndoors, gels and umbrella for $1230 (> BUDGET):

Amazon.com: Lowel DV Creator 44 Kit, Analog & Digital Video Lighting Location Kit, with TO-83 Case: Camera & Photo

I am somehow averse to used stuff and renting. If the Lowel kit is a decent investment and will serve me on most circumstances, I'll go for it, even if it is more than my original budget. Thoughts?

Thanks,
Srinivas Swaminathan
Srinivas Swaminathan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 30th, 2008, 04:04 PM   #10
Contributor
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 4,449
The Lowel lights (ie., the DP or the Omni) will put out more light than the equivalent fresnel and will also flood out to a more broad, even spread. However, they also are very harsh and you need to gel them when lighting people. When you gel an open face light (by clipping gel out to the edges of the barn doors) you convert it into sort of a soft light and if you want to gobo the light off the background, you'd have to use a flag. With a fresnel, you can cut the light with the barndoor nicely and put a sharp edge on a shadow if you want. So in that sense the fresnel gives you more control. One is not better than the other--just depends on what you want to do.

Russ Lowel's book about lighting, available on Lowel's web site, would be a good place for you to start.

If you're shooting in apartments, it's going to depend on what else is on the circuit how much you can pull. What I do is use those circuit breaker boxes that I plug into my cords. They have them at most big box hardware stores. They're like a short extension cord with usually 4 outlets and a breaker switch. By plugging that into the wall outlet, if you overload the circuit, you'll blow your own breaker instead of the apartment's breaker. At least in theory. If you are using a circuit to maximum and somebody flips on a light switch in another room and it's on the same circuit, then it could blow independent of your little breaker box.

If you're lighting just a few people in apartments, you can probably go with a small kit. For example, a Lowel DP light with a 760 watt lamp bounced off an umbrella or white wall can provide enough soft light in a small room for shooting. Of course, it would be fairly flat.

You sound like you're fairly new and don't have a lot of lighting experience. The best thing to do would be work around some people who do, and read the books. If you have ten different experienced people light a scene in a room, you will see ten different ways to accomplish the same thing. Some people insist on the formal "Rembrandt style" lighting. Others want it very low key, or high key; others want it more flat.

I survived for a number of years with one set of lights: Four Lowel DPs. One had a 1K bulb, two had 500s and one had a 750. I had umbrellas and gels and bounce cards and flags and C-stands. You can do a lot with a set like that. When I got into big huge areas requiring HMIs, I'd rent.

If you're doing lots of interviews or intimate people shots, fluorescents might be a good way to go. The major downside to those fluorescent softboxes is setup time. Personally I prefer the Lowel Caselight style flos, and Coollights, Flolight and others have those a lot cheaper than Lowel or Kino Flo. Overall, there's no such thing as the perfect set of lights. There are too many variables. that's why there are so many different types of lights. You shoot in factories and need to punch a lot of light a long way, Lowel 1K DP lights are good. You shoot interviews in offices, fluorescents are good. You shoot around lots of windows and they have to be open, HMIs are good. And on and on. What it gets down to on any shoot is that there is usually an ideal setup you can buy or rent, and then there is the one you can afford. Generally, you can make do and do it quite well with what you can afford once you have a little experience.
Bill Pryor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 2nd, 2008, 06:10 PM   #11
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Dallas Texas USA
Posts: 33
Thanks Bill.

Would you suggest having long cables for connecting to other rooms? If I look at my circuit box, there are a bunch of them, one for kitchen, one for some other room and so on. So do each of them have independent 15 amp limit or the limit is total 15 amps?

You are right, I am just beginning with video and have no experience with anything including lighting. So I am actually reading up a lot. Thanks for the detailed explanation.
Srinivas Swaminathan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 2nd, 2008, 06:45 PM   #12
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1,158
you must look at the breaker panel first. older constructions may have 15amp breakers, newer construction is normally 20A, according to code in most places. can you swap a 20A for a 15A ? the answer is maybe. it depends on the guage of wiring thats in place, and local wiring codes. if its 18 or 16 gauge, I would not. if its 14 or 12, should be ok. if you don't know electricity, don't know your local building codes, get a local licenesed electrictian to handle it. really really really !

as for total draw, that is set by the two main breakers on the top of the panel, at least normally its two, but in an apartment it might be one. they should be 50A each, total of 100A service. thats the max current you can pull which includes everything in there that might be on including appliances if they are on.

on a 15A circut, you can pull 1800w. if the breaker is in good shape it will deliver that. if its been popped a few times, it may only put out 13-14A. it should be replaced. I've pulled full power from breakers, or within 20% if I think they are weak. in this case, 1600W should be pretty safe.

tota lights are crap. cheap and next to useless unless you light up walls, cycs, or just need raw light dumping into a white card or something. better to get real lights and just skip them.

I've used DP lights for key's, especially when a hard dramatic light was called for. it can certainly be done, but placement has to be exact. skill level to do this, high. actor who can walk and move in the line of the light, skill level med to high.

for shooting in small rooms so much depends on the look. day ? night ? night, lights on or off ? you might just need a small 100W prolight to make and edge on an actor in a dark room and let the bounce from it fill the shadows to see a little. OTH, during day, a 575 or 1200W HMI would be in order to match the light level coming form the sun, and what you want to iris the camera at, and decide to keep or blow out the outside seen from the window. so the answer is, it totally depends on what you want to do.


again, night, maybe just a 2 bulb flo light will give you some fill and use the exisitng room lights. you can also get 200-500W bulbs to fit into the exisitng practical lights. 200W can be had in your local stores, higher power from specialty places like bubltronics. if you do this, there is a very real hazard of scorching ot even igniting the lamp shade ( lace or paper ) so use with caution above 300w

as for heat ? well again so much depends. centeral AC that quite ? turn the heat off in winter, open doors windows if its ok. no fixed rule here, but 2-4Kw will heat a room up. you actors getting hot ? well thats part of the job. makeup should pay attention they don't get shinny.
Steve Oakley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 2nd, 2008, 08:02 PM   #13
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 4,100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Oakley View Post
tota lights are crap. cheap and next to useless unless you light up walls, cycs, or just need raw light dumping into a white card or something. better to get real lights and just skip them.
I've heard this said a few times, and I disagree. I think if you are going to tell someone new to lighting that something is crap, you owe it to them to tell them why. Tota's are broads. And as a broad it does it's job quite well.

I've used my Tota for:

1. Simulating sunlight in a small room. Push one through a cuckaloris onto a back wall and you have instant afternoon sun.

2. Evenly lighting a background behind talent.

3. Bringing up the baseline light level in a room. Bounced off the ceiling in a room, it can offer a stop or two more light.

4. I'll be using one next month to bounce off a 4x8 white sheet as front fill for a two-shot interview. This is an instance that is PERFECTLY suited to a broad. Otherwise I'd have to use two open-faced lights to do the same task. A broad is exactly what is called for.

Tota's are harder to control than some other lights. And it's not all that often when you need a broad light. But when you really want one, they can be a godsend. Especially to someone on a budget. They are also nearly bulletproof and can be softened easily. They are also pretty small. You can tuck one iin a camera bag, and if you have to do a quick run and gun, bounce it off a wall in a small room and suddenly you've got enough light to do an interview. Much better than an on-camera light.

If i was shooting indoor narrative work more, I might choose something more controllable for many scanarios, but for $110 it's hard to beat.
__________________
DVX100, PMW-EX1, Canon 550D, FigRig, Dell Octocore, Avid MC4/5, MB Looks, RedCineX, Matrox MX02 mini, GTech RAID, Edirol R-4, Senn. G2 Evo, Countryman, Moles and Lowels.
Perrone Ford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 3rd, 2008, 01:49 AM   #14
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Bellevue, WA
Posts: 36
I own a Steve Kaeser lighting kit (Steve Kaeser Backgrounds & Accessories) and have been VERY happy with its construction quality and the results I've been getting. Their lights take a little longer to set up than the fluorescent lights that have barndoors attached but I've done side by side comparison of both kinds of lights and I liked the illumination quality of the Kaeser lights a lot more. The Kaeser lights also cost a lot less than the ones that come with barndoors so you'll get a lot more bang for your buck.

For dramatic lighting, however, you're probably better off with a tungsten setup that has barndoors & fresnel lenses because fluorescents generate softer light.
Gary Burlingame is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 3rd, 2008, 11:57 AM   #15
Contributor
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 4,449
Hey, Gary...Are you using Kaeser's fluorescent softboxes? I'm interested specifically in this one: Steve Kaeser Backgrounds & Accessories

I emailed Steve and asked about using the 85 watt bulbs, and he said they work fine with this unit. They come with six 45 wat bulbs, but using the 85 watters would boost it to 510 watts. That would be more than double the wattage of a 4-bulb Lowel Caselight 4. I think the Caselight puts out more per watt because of the mirrored aluminum and wide reflective barn doors, so a good guess is that this softbox, without the diffuser, would put out right at double, if not a little more.

You're right that light from a softbox is nicer than just the open 2 or 4 bulb fluorescents from Lowel or Kino Flo.

I have three of these LED lights: Teleprompters - Prompter People and I really like them. If you look at the back of one, and then go to Kaeser's site and look at the back of the softbox, you'll see that the instruments themselves are identical. They must all come out of the same Chinese factory. My LEDs are very well made and solid, so I'm confident Kaeser's will be too. The only difference is using 6 fluorescent lamps instead of the built-in LEDs.
Bill Pryor 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 07:38 AM.


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