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Old May 1st, 2002, 02:09 PM   #1
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Location Lighting Question

To be honest the only thing DV about this question is that I need some lighting info for DV shooting.

I have found myself doing more and more indoor location shooting where I have to include significant amounts of the location as part of the scenic. I would really like to find a book(s) that has some good hints or tips for this kind of shooting. I have found some books but they take the Hollywood approach of using a light truck and a 6 man crew to light locations. I have a reasonable but small light setup including a couple of Fresnels, Totas, Pros, and 4 bulb florescent Caselights and have the budget to buy more but would like to tap some experience rather than experiment.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Richard
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Old May 1st, 2002, 02:30 PM   #2
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I've mentioned it before on these forums and i'll mention it again, because I really found it to be a good resource. Ross Lowell's book Matters of Light and Depth, concentrates more on smaller lighting setups and includes information on indoor and outdoor location lighting, and it's an enjoyable read.

hope this helps
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Old May 1st, 2002, 02:50 PM   #3
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I second that notion--Matters is simply one of the greatest books about cinematography.
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Old May 1st, 2002, 03:00 PM   #4
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I'd like to further add, however, that a healthy amount of practical knowledge gleaned from books and working cinematographers allows you to _intelligently_ experiment to get the look you want. But experimentation is still key. (excuse the pun)
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Old May 1st, 2002, 03:10 PM   #5
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for hollywood they need 6-10person crews because big $$ is on the line and they must take control of the lighting.

when you don't have the $$/crew then you work with the light that is already at the location. if it is a big room you might reinforce the lighting that is already present. or you could be selective at what you aim your light at in the room. BUT if day light is pouring through the windows more then likely your lighting kit is NOT going to overcome it. so work with the available light.

i would suggest you try to meet local gaffers/lighting persons and go out for few hours and watch them light. if you are in the SF bay area drop me a line ...

in general these days i use no lights other then what is at location .. so far it suits documentary's ... narrative would be different story ... though i have gone out with friends that are shooting dv features and on days when i help them with location lighting 60% of the time we are using NO movie lights - i do always use 4x4 foam core to bounce light. choose locations that have GOODl lighting already present ( that includes natural/tungsten/household lights)
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Old May 1st, 2002, 07:22 PM   #6
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Thanks a lot for the advice! I sent off for the Lowel book and as to experimenting I am very much up for that I just didn't want to experiment with my lighting budget.

danatello, thanks for the offer. If it was just a few years ago when I was partner in an advertising firm in SF I would happily take you up on it. I am in New England now and am sort of getting back to my roots (recording engineer> producer > marketing and advertising executive, back to recording, producing, directing but of video). I did a TV commercial for a local restaurant / bar that I frequent, as sort of a favor and it turned out so well that I am now getting a bunch of unsolicited business that is making me rethink my lighting. I will read the book and experiment. experiment, experiment and hopefully develop the sense of what-to-do-when that I had with microphones when I was concentrating on music some years ago.

Thanks all for the help.

Richard
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Old May 2nd, 2002, 02:47 AM   #7
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About the Lowell book. I own it too, am halfway through it now,
but somehow it dissapoints me. I can't exactly lay the finger
on what it is, but does not feel to me to be an eye opener. One
of the big questions I had was how to light in a dynamic scene
(when people and/or things move around a lot)... This subject
is barely touched by the book (for so far I read it, and I can't
find it ahead in the TOC either), which I find strange. I mean,
in most movies people and the camera are allmost always on
the move (which changes your lighting as well)!

Now I haven't done the excercises in the book yet (still need to
buy me a lighting set) so these might open my eyes.... And,
as I've said, I am only halfway through the book yet. So I'm not
going to give a final verdict about it. Oh, I also do NOT found it
an easy read. Ross uses terms throughout his book which are
not explained (sometimes the list in the back is not explaining
it thoroughly enough or not listing it at all). This is a problem
for me. I got the book to learn, not to fight with the terms used
(without being explained)....

Did anyone else feel this way or am I the only one?
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Old May 2nd, 2002, 07:45 AM   #8
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Its buried in my bookshelf at the moment so I'm not inclined to thumb through and check, but I do seem to recall it discusses coverage for moving scenes, though I don't believe it was a very _in depth_ or lengthy discussion.

Gerald Millerson's book Lighting for Television and Film I know covers lighting action and movement, and is a far more extensive book (450+ pages) than Lowell's, how ever I've only skimmed through it in the store, so I can't really talk much about this one.
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Old May 2nd, 2002, 12:41 PM   #9
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Casey,

It does talk about it indeed... but very very briefly!

Does anyone else know the book Lighting for Television and Film
Casey talks about?

Thanks!
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Old May 2nd, 2002, 02:44 PM   #10
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Yes, the Millerson book is very good and has much more "meat" on it's bones than the Lowel book. It's a Focal Press book, so it's somewhat UK-centric. But very good. It's used as a text at some schools and is now in it's 3rd printing.

You'll find it on amazon at:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/024051582X/qid=1020368400/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/002-8665944-0193641

Also worth a look is Dave Viera's "Lighting for Film and Electronic Cinematography". In my opinion it's what Russ Lowel's book should have been. You'll find it at:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0534128106/qid=1020368553/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/002-8665944-0193641

In my opinion, as owner of all three books, either of the above works is a better instructional reference than Lowel's book.
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Old May 3rd, 2002, 02:55 AM   #11
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Thanks very much ken! As always your posts are very good. Only
wish I knew this before I bought it... oh well... never can have
too many books eh. I'll check those other two out! Thanks again.

Oh... btw, if you put up Amazon URLs for other people, only
include them until the /qid=<longnumber> ends... Everything
after that is not needed and is just by Amazon for tracking &
tracing so to speak. If I go to your exact URL they will log my
hits as yours :) ... try it out
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Old May 3rd, 2002, 09:27 AM   #12
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Yes, I must say that I also really appreciate the tips on these books, now I gotta go order 'em. Thanks Ken,
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Old May 3rd, 2002, 09:39 AM   #13
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Book Nook

Since we are discussing books, I would like to mention 'Electronic Cinematography'. I don't have the Authors names handy, as the book is at my office. It is an older book, but covers the differences between film and video, and how to work with and around those differences.

As far as lighting, Computer Videomaker has a book that covers the basics of lighting and reflecting, as well as "everything else for video". Very basic reading, but it does cover some nice points.
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