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Old June 7th, 2009, 08:38 AM   #1
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Need advice on standard, basic lighting

I'm going to be doing interview stuff somewhat. I'll be getting a greenscreen from EEFX and I think it's pretty much necessary to get some lights to light everything up. This is really just going to be a single person on camera in front of a green screen, so this isn't a big project at all. I'm not sure what kind of lights to get and where to get them from, or if I can even just get some el cheapos from a place like Home Depot or something.

What do you think would suit me well for what I want to do? Nothing fancy at all, just some lights to light up my green screen and the person sitting in front of it.
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Old June 7th, 2009, 10:43 AM   #2
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I'm in the same boat and looks like every camera man has a set of 3 redheads but now I have to choose between the chinese import......

Redhead 3 x head,2400watt lighting kit A, FREE DELIVERY on eBay, also, Studio Equipment Lighting, Photography (end time 21-Jun-09 23:24:13 BST)

or the leading industry brand.......

Creative Video Arri Redhead 3 head lighting kit with case

my inner voice says "save the 600"....what does everyone think?
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Old June 7th, 2009, 02:00 PM   #3
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Hi, cant speak for the red heads you are looking at but I went for the ones from south korea. link here ~(if its allowed)

eBay UK Shop - softbox: strobe, elinchrom, bowens

very good product, quick delivery, purchased quite a bit from them

the lights I purchased were identical to the ones i got from the UK. even with delivery charge they were a fraction of the cost.

cheers john
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Old June 7th, 2009, 03:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Resham Singh View Post
I'm in the same boat and looks like every camera man has a set of 3 redheads but now I have to choose between the chinese import......

Redhead 3 x head,2400watt lighting kit A, FREE DELIVERY on eBay, also, Studio Equipment Lighting, Photography (end time 21-Jun-09 23:24:13 BST)

or the leading industry brand.......

Creative Video Arri Redhead 3 head lighting kit with case

my inner voice says "save the 600"....what does everyone think?

I think these vendors are attempting to sell something they don't understand in any way shape or form.

Arri does NOT make Redheads.

Those instruments might be Arri open face lights. Or they might be something cobbled up in some off-shore factory that doesn't care about copyright or branding issues. If so, hopefully, they do care about stuff like electrical safety and proper grounding. No way to know.

Off shore "knock offs" are always hard to judge. Some overseas factories are great. Some are crap. Just like factories everywhere else in the world. In some places, there are no inspectors or government oversight to ensure product safety and decent labor practices, in other's your safety won't compete with the kickbacks the local officials historically depend on to survive.

My advice is to NEVER buy a knockoff until you've talked directly to another user of that specific product.

Cost savings are great. My first "video lights" bought cheap back in the 1970s were certainly cheap. They were also CRAP lasting barely a year and wasting hours and hours of my time when the thumbscrews that held the heads at a specific angle stopped working within two weeks. And the company that made them is STILL in business today! (I hope they've improved)

I learned even on those crappy lights - you will too. So like the old saying... "you pays your money and you takes your shot."


Good luck.
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Old June 7th, 2009, 03:20 PM   #5
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Just get three worklights from Home Depot and use 3 point lighting. Cheap and it works. It's a great way to learn lighting and I have found that it's more about technique than equipment. You can even make barn doors or find substitutes if you need them.
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Old June 7th, 2009, 03:55 PM   #6
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If you're trying to do this on the super low budget and lighting people, I'd get a couple of Lowel fluorescent bulbs that screw into standard household sockets. These are color accurate - make that highly color accurate bulbs that go for around $30 ea. The model is the Lowel X1-65
Use one for your Key light, and one for your Fill light. Get a desklamp that can be tungsten and provide a warmer look, use that one as your backlight.
Google for some cinefoil aka blackwrap and you can block the light if its going everywhere and you want it to go in one direction. Here's a video or that might help understanding what and where to place the key, fill and backlights:

YouTube - 3 point lighting technique
Lighting Infinite White on Vimeo

The Infinite white video shows lighting white, however the same could apply to green, but you'll need to get your talent back.

One more resource is the Lowel Edu website. These is a cool Flash movie that allows you to turn the lights on and off and see their effect. Lowel EDU - a Lighting Resource Center

Here is an example video I just shot that is lit using those same Lowel X1-65 bulbs. I've got a few of them on standard track lighting from home depot and a set in a Rifa 66 YouTube - Our new HD Studio - how we do it.

Hope this helps,
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Old June 7th, 2009, 04:02 PM   #7
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I suggest you get a copy of Ross Lowell's book, Matters of Light and Depth - Ross Lowell's Matter of Light & Depth. He is the master.

You'll find that there is more to "good" lighting than just spraying your subject with shop lights as some previous posts may suggest.
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Old June 8th, 2009, 05:13 AM   #8
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Just a warning on the cheap chinese redheads, I got two of them for 40 each and they are OK and well made I also got a free replacement bubble.

I was horrified to see that even though they were metal THEY WERE NOT EARTHED!!!

I had them re-wired to add on the earth to the metal chassis and they passed their PAT testing with no problems.
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Old June 8th, 2009, 12:00 PM   #9
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cheap imports or not cheap imports???
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Old June 8th, 2009, 03:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Cochran View Post
If you're trying to do this on the super low budget and lighting people, I'd get a couple of Lowel fluorescent bulbs that screw into standard household sockets. These are color accurate - make that highly color accurate bulbs that go for around $30 ea. The model is the Lowel X1-65
I like this idea. You can get flood reflectors with a standard base for a few dollars at Home Depot or a photo store. Put the Lowel flourescents in these.

Note: The 65 watt Lowel is soon to be replaced with an 80 watt version.
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Old June 8th, 2009, 08:26 PM   #11
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I like this idea. You can get flood reflectors with a standard base for a few dollars at Home Depot or a photo store. Put the Lowel flourescents in these.

Note: The 65 watt Lowel is soon to be replaced with an 80 watt version.
Wow! 80 watts of fluorescent isn't that about 400 watts of incandescent? My Rifa 66 with FLO X3 is going to be around 1200W. Holy cow! That's a lot of light.
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Old June 8th, 2009, 08:48 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Guy Cochran View Post
Wow! 80 watts of fluorescent isn't that about 400 watts of incandescent? My Rifa 66 with FLO X3 is going to be around 1200W. Holy cow! That's a lot of light.
The Lowel guy at the Tiffen reception the other night told me this. He said three of them would go into one light using the triple xChange socket.

I think the 66 max now with incadescent is 1000 watts. And they are hot!
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Old June 9th, 2009, 04:33 AM   #13
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cheap imports or not cheap imports???
At the end of the day you get what you pay for, I got the cheap imports as I knew I would just be using them a few times and they are OK and do the job.

Now if I was a pro and going out and doing this full time as a living I would get the Arri lights as they will be more robust and last longer.

You pays your money and makes your choice, also do get the cheap chinese ones checked out for PAT testing and earthing as safety is the most important thing especially if you are going to be using them in public places.
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Old June 9th, 2009, 01:16 PM   #14
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Real Redheads are made by Ianiero, and they go up to 1K in wattage. The Chinese knockoffs I've seen are 800 watts. They're more to the red end in color than real Redheads, which are orange. The Chinese version seems to generate a lot more heat than real ones, and I don't think they have the spot/flood range, but they seem OK for the money. Also, you can get them easily in the U.S. Redheads are very hard to find here anymore.

As far as chroma key, you can do what you want to do with five lights--two for the background, one backlight, one key and one fill. I've always found that two Lowel DP lights provide a nice, even spread when flooded and are adequate for lighting a greenscreen perfectly evenly, up to about 14' in width, assuming you have room to pull them back far enough.

A Lowel Prolight makes a nice backlight, as well as any of the 300 watt fresnels out there. A couple of fluorescents make nice soft key and fill lights and are cool for the talent, but you can use about any lights for that as long as you can diffuse or bounce them. I always light chromakey just a little flatter than normal, still with nice modeling but just a bit flatter. Without a good backlight you may have trouble getting a good key, depending on your software. I usually light the background a stop away from the fill, ie., a stop hotter or a stop down from the talent fill. Seems to work better.

A roll of blackwrap is handy too if you don't have C-stands and flags to keep the background light off your talent.
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Old June 9th, 2009, 01:46 PM   #15
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Here in the UK, Redheads have always been 800W, and Blondes 2K. The set of Ianiros I bought from Strand Lighting, when they were friends were tough and I really beat them up.

The cheap imports take similar lamps and have similar reflectors. The 'real things' have a few features that are pretty useful.
1. Long cable with in line switch
2. Barn doors with built in clips for half sheets of CT or diffuser/spun
3. A nice big cool beam adjust knob
4. Scrims - either full or half for dimming portions of the beam
5. Safety glass to stop molten lamp shards setting fire to things if the stand clamp get's undone, and the head falls.
6. Fibre-glass rather than moulded plastic parts - although some imports I've seen were fibreglass.

The full price and cut price redheads both have one real advantage over the really crude work light type kit, and that is beam quality. Point a redhead at a green screen, or a white cloth and you get a hot spot in the centre, that can be trimmed with the beam spread knob, and once you have it as good as it gets, beam illumination dies away almost equally in all directions meaning it will blend with the next one, if you use two.

If you try this with work lights you get hard shadows at the beam edges, no beam angle adjustment, and usually metal lamp protection that casts dark shadows in a grid pattern on the background. They also get very hot and are difficult to adjust, without burning yourself.

Quality lighting needs proper tools - sure, you can blast away with a garden floodlight, and it gets bright - but lighting is a definate skill that needs to be honed. It's really easy to illuminate a subject, but this is not 'lighting', just light! I've been lighting for years with kit from a few pounds to thousands of pounds and they are all just tools, and you select the right one for the job. I use working lights too, for working, not shooting - they are flat, hard and uninspiring.
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