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Old December 20th, 2008, 07:44 PM   #16
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Even if the budget is LOW, I highly suggest springing for at least one of those CFL softbox thingies. Richard has one at CoolLights.biz and I'm sure there will also be options at B&H. Don't get me wrong - clamp lights can be a heck of a lot of fun (I can think of a shoot I did where we were in a tunnel full of rubble and we hid a dozen or so of the narrow sort behind rocks and stuff shooting up, shooting down, shooting across. We didn't use the clamp part of them, but they were a blast anyway). That said, a softbox will likely suit your needs better. Get clamp lights too, if you think you might want more directional harder sources, but don't ONLY get them.

~~Dave
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Old December 20th, 2008, 07:58 PM   #17
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Even if the budget is LOW, I highly suggest springing for at least one of those CFL softbox thingies. That said, a softbox will likely suit your needs better. Get clamp lights too, if you think you might want more directional harder sources, but don't ONLY get them.

~~Dave
Notice my first pot where I said Rifa 55? I think that is ideal. A clamp light for a hair light... All good.
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Old December 20th, 2008, 10:04 PM   #18
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Love the Rifa - great light. If you can afford it, Perrone is TOTALLY right.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 10:45 AM   #19
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Guys, you have all given me good advice; and I don't doubt any of it.

Indeed, I used a Riva on my last personal project and hired a pro lighting guy to handle it.

We're recording, however, for blogs - online publication.

The weird thing about blogs, though, is that there's an "uncanny valley" effect. I'm trying to hit "Pretty good for an amateur production" but not "pretty lousy for a professional production."

I'll admit the 9' room isn't ideal, but it's a dedicated space vs. us filming in our 9' offices anyway. I'll see if there are any bigger rooms, but I may be looking at using a wide-angle lens.

Alternatively, we could just use the teleconference room, but it's not a -dedicated- space.

Yes, we're cheap - it's very hard to justify anything more expensive than cheap. This isn't a revenue generating project - if we were in the video business, I'd use the good stuff. We're not - we're in the networking business, and the video work is a subset of "new media" which is a subset of "marketing" which is a subset of the company as a whole.

I was actually thinking about using clamp lights (with flourescent bulbs), reflectors, and some sort of filter to put over the clamp lights to soften them.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 10:51 AM   #20
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To give you an idea of what we've been doing so far, here's some of the video we've been shooting.

Whiteboard Series: How To Manage QoS In Your Environment, Part 1 of 3Network Performance Blog, Network Performance Management News, Tutorials, Resources - Network Performance Blog

Obviously the lighting isn't ideal (with multiple light sources in Shot 2).

Basically, I was asked what I needed to improve the video without going "expensive." $600 for lights would almost certainly be overbudget (especially since I'd rather spend $600 on -sound- if I got it.)
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 11:06 AM   #21
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<<Yes, we're cheap - it's very hard to justify anything more expensive than cheap. This isn't a revenue generating project - if we were in the video business, I'd use the good stuff. We're not - we're in the networking business, and the video work is a subset of "new media" which is a subset of "marketing" which is a subset of the company as a whole.>>

Brian,

Believe me, I understand being on a budget. But everything you present to the public is a reflection on your company. You may be in the networking business, but if your video looks cheap, then your company looks cheap. I think a lot of companies have this shortsighted view of video. Just my $.02.

Have fun!

Rob
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 11:25 AM   #22
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I was actually thinking about using clamp lights (with flourescent bulbs), reflectors, and some sort of filter to put over the clamp lights to soften them.
Been there, done that. The Clamp lights are pretty soft with the CFLs already. You can put some wax paper over them, or a sheet of notebook paper, or buy some white sheer material at the local fabric store and cut it into small pieces. Place that over the lights and hold it on with a strong rubber band or two. Easy as you please.

Going cheap doesn't necessarily mean looking bad.

Honestly, after looking at the video you posted, there's a lot of things you can do to increase production value. The first is to get away from that whiteboard if you can.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 02:53 PM   #23
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Been there, done that. The Clamp lights are pretty soft with the CFLs already. You can put some wax paper over them, or a sheet of notebook paper, or buy some white sheer material at the local fabric store and cut it into small pieces. Place that over the lights and hold it on with a strong rubber band or two. Easy as you please.

Going cheap doesn't necessarily mean looking bad.

Honestly, after looking at the video you posted, there's a lot of things you can do to increase production value. The first is to get away from that whiteboard if you can.
The series is called "The Whiteboard Series."

I don't think I can get away from the whiteboard.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 04:21 PM   #24
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The primary problem is that ALL your lighting is coming from overhead fluorescent sources. Your camera is doing fine with the white balance, but the angle of overhead lighting is wrong - creating a significant under chin shadow. (see also the shadow under the tray at the bottom of the white board.)

You also have a pretty harsh bright spot on the center of the guy's forehead. (Typical of overhead fluors.) The tops of this forearms are bight, the underside dark. His eye sockets are shadowed. Aad he's casting a diffused but pretty ugly body shadow on the wall behind him. All signs that NOTHING was done in the room but rely on the standard overhead fluorescent lighting.

The cheapest way to make an improvement is to kill the overheads. Then take two a couple of dependable open face broad lights (perhaps Lowel Totas or similar.) and rig them back from the talent wall as far as the room will allow - as far in front of the talent as possible pointing NOT directly at the talent, but rather to bounce off the ceiling. This will turn the ceiling into a large diffuse soft source that will illuminate the entire scene evenly.

This will change the angle of incidence so that instead of a strictly overhead , an even spread of light will come from the FRONT in a spread that will illuminate the entire scene.

Yeah, the light will be somewhat flat. But for what you're doing you'll eliminate the biggest problems and keep things cheap.

(Oh, and make sure if you use hot lights, they're NOT positioned near any sprinkler heads.)

Good luck.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 04:25 PM   #25
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The series is called "The Whiteboard Series."

I don't think I can get away from the whiteboard.
Maybe not totally, but why not do an introduction and so forth away from the whiteboard. Just in terms of production, shooting into a brilliant white surface is going to be fraught with problems. So do it as little as possible.

This has the potential to be pretty cool. So I am interested to see what you come up with.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 05:45 PM   #26
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Maybe not totally, but why not do an introduction and so forth away from the whiteboard. Just in terms of production, shooting into a brilliant white surface is going to be fraught with problems. So do it as little as possible.

This has the potential to be pretty cool. So I am interested to see what you come up with.
Maybe I should look into other options - do they make grey or light blue whiteboards?
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 05:49 PM   #27
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There's also some other ideas. I'm thinking about softening the overhead flourescents with some wax paper, then rigging up a softbox (clamp lights, compact flourescents + more wax paper) for an under-chin fill.

Not much I can do about the whiteboard unless you know where I can get a grey one. If only there were a black dry-erase board with white dry-erase markers...
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 05:58 PM   #28
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Not much I can do about the whiteboard unless you know where I can get a grey one.
Ask and you shall receive!

Projection PlusTM Multimedia Dry Erase Light Gray Marker Board (Board Color: Light Gray)
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 11:12 AM   #29
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Flo's at 5600 deg are a great idea --- the heat from incandesents in that small room would be a problem, even my Rifa gets pretty warm. Here's a place that sells a fixture and softbox that uses standard screwin table-lamp flo's. I haven't used one but the idea appeals, and they're relatively cheap:

Fotodiox.com

might be worth a look. Standard lamps as opposed to Kino's...$$$$...

One incandesent source, if you want to go that route, is dj lighting cans from places like American Musical Supply...use PAR38 lamps...about $20 a can, including gels....nice for accent or wall washers, I think. They have some chromed ones that would accept the big 100 watt screw base flo's, might work as wall washers in an all-flo setup....the regular cans are black and designed for the reflector floods, although there are some flo reflector floods on the market now.... at any rate, soft directional light is the idea, I think, definately not Home Depot work lights, way harsh and big shadows....and hot! // Battle Vaughan / miamiherald.com video team
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