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Old August 5th, 2009, 12:11 PM   #1
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Video shoot in large factory

I'm doing a shoot in large factory in a month and have been warned that some of the machines are 30 feet high and bulky. I've also been told the factory is rather dark. Any suggestions for relatively "cheap" ways to light the machines up. I'm not that worried about color temp of the lights. My main lights are Lowell hot light kits, but there's no way I can illuminate these huge pieces of equipment with them.

Have any of you used the typical Home Depot large flood lights? I know that don't look "professional", but it's a factory. My client won't worry.

Thanks for any advice or experiences you have.

Stuart
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Old August 5th, 2009, 12:27 PM   #2
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I shot for years in big dark factories with nothing but eight Lowel DPs. You won't get a longer throw or broader spread for the money with anything else short of HMIs. A set of four DPs with 1K lamps can go a long way toward what you're doing. Put one on the back wall so you don't have a dark hole, one high, one low for key, another flooded for fill. A couple more would be useful if you have them. I think you'd be better off renting than using work lights. I don't think any of them go over 500 watts, and the stands don't go up very high and they don't have a very long throw compared to the DPs with the longer throw reflectors.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 12:41 PM   #3
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Thanks Bill. I was wary of the cheap-o work lights. Maybe I should not dismiss my Lowells so quickly - LOL!
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Old August 5th, 2009, 12:45 PM   #4
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Maybe a split-screen ?

Stuart,

Do the top parts of the machines move? If not, I'm thinking you could take a still photo from the same position where the video camera will be, exposing for the tops of the machines. Then shoot the video exposed for the lower parts of the machines, which are illuninated by your lights. Combine still and video with a split screen (with the horizontal dividing line feathered to hide the join).

Of course, if all parts of the machines move, that blows my idea out of the water! Then I guess you use a few spotlights to hit parts of the tops of the machines. And any lights you can find to light most of the lower areas. In any case, you can probably get away with not having every part of the machines fully lit.

Ken
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Old August 5th, 2009, 12:51 PM   #5
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Ken, I'm not sure about the upper parts of the machines and movement. I do like the idea of the photos at the top. I can use my DSLR for that and give it a try.

Thanks for the idea.

Stuart
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Old August 5th, 2009, 02:07 PM   #6
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I usually do this with Lowel Totas rather than DPs. The major difference is that the Tota's are cheaper ($131 ea vs $174), lighter weight, and easier to transport. I have an attached lid tote that carries about 10 totas with chords and a bunch of crappy cast off stands that I use when I have to backlight a big space. The 1000 watt flood lamps are also comparatively cheap compared to the socketed lamps of the DP. On the other side, the tota is NOT "focusable" as is the DP.

Horses for courses.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 02:35 PM   #7
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Not a big fan of the Tota for many things but as an indiscriminate light cannon, it has value.

In similar circumstances, I've brought along a single Ianiro "Red Head" lamped at 1k, thrown some spun on it and aimed it from behind camera position just to get a BIT of definition in the shadows and a bit of colour rendition. I typically don't even bother with colour correction: if the hole is dark enough, you won't be "beating" ambient by enough to really make a difference MOST of the time...
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Old August 5th, 2009, 03:06 PM   #8
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I've done a lot of shooting in dark factories. You really just need to throw as much light as you can. Anything less than a 1K isn't going to be much use. I wouldn't worry too much about the color temp, you can always correct in post.

What kind of factory are you going into? Be prepared for your gear (especially your cords) to get pretty filthy. At one company I worked at we did a lot of waste water management videos. We kept an entire set of lights and a camera package just for those shoots because you never could get all the smell off.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 03:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Bauser View Post
At one company I worked at we did a lot of waste water management videos. We kept an entire set of lights and a camera package just for those shoots because you never could get all the smell off.
Try shooting in hog barns... I'd ALMOST take a waste water facility any day...

Great advice about gear not coming home clean...
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Old August 5th, 2009, 04:14 PM   #10
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Back in my factory shooting days I always had a case of several 50' cords strictly for dirty situations. My clean office/home cords lived in a separate case. I also kept rags and a bottle of Windex to wipe stands, etc.

If you have Redheads, they're great too. Most any open face 1K light. I like the real Redheads a lot, but they're difficult to find in the U.S. any more. I think the Lowel DPs have a longer throw, which is good for factories. Totas are useful just for a big broad spread with little control, and as mentioned, they are easy to haul around and you can clamp them to I-beams and other things easily.
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Old August 6th, 2009, 12:10 PM   #11
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Great thread here with some useful advice from experience.

All I can add is don't forget about power. If you are hooking up 8 750-1000w lights you will need a fair bit of current which thankfully a lot of factories have.
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Old August 6th, 2009, 12:38 PM   #12
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I always carried a spider box with No. 4 cable and about 10 outlets and split off their 220. In most places today, though, they won't let you hook one up without calling the plant electrician, and that can wipe out half a day for waiting time.

Usually you can find enough circuits to pull 4-8 1K lights, if you're careful. I also used my own breaker boxes, plugging one into each of my cords, so if I blew a circuit, my breaker would go off first (in theory) and not blow theirs (also requiring a visit from the plant electrician). You can buy those boxes at Home Depot. They don't always work--for example, if you're plugged into a circuit in an office with a copy machine and somebody makes a copy, that can blow the circuit around your breaker, but about 90% of the time they work.

These days most of my shooting is more people-oriented and I use lots of fluorescent and LED lights, so power is not much of an issue. For bigger things I rent HMIs, small ones like 575s up to 1200, and I've never blown a circuit with them.
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Old August 6th, 2009, 03:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
Not a big fan of the Tota for many things but as an indiscriminate light cannon, it has value.
...
That made me laugh.

And it's one of the best descriptions of a Tota I've ever seen.

It's ideal for a big open space. And it's great in a softbox since it provides superior edge to edge fill, particularly in shallow or smaller bag sizes.

Call it a "two trick pony."

But for those two uses - it's cost and weight make it a winner IMO.

YMMV
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Old August 6th, 2009, 09:22 PM   #14
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I've used two of them for lighting a chroma key screen before. Nice, even spread, and I was able to light about a 12-14' wide area easily. It takes some blackwrap to keep the spill off the talent. They're also nice bounced off umbrellas. I have a set of barn doors for one, and they're nice for hanging diffustion gel. Better than the Lowel gel holder, I think. They don't do much as barn doors.
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Old August 6th, 2009, 09:55 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the great suggestions. I ended up buying some nice, used Lowel DPs and a couple of Strand Ianiro 2k Fresnels. I'll also bring lots of my existing lower wattage stuff (including some Totas - LOL!). Based on what I learned here and some pre-shoot photos of the factory that were sent to me, I should be a in good shape!
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