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Old March 29th, 2007, 08:30 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Jaadgy Akanni View Post
Also, I'd love Fluorescent lights 'cause I heard somebody say that they're great for lighting greenscreen and 'cause they don't produce so much heat. However, fluorescent might be out of the question on this budget. What do you guys think?
I was probably the one that mentioned fluorescent use for greenscreen. The reason I didn't post in here is because you said you wanted multipurpose and while I personally don't use hot lights anymore, I'm not going out doing client work either.

All my work is for "in house" productions, so I can do whatever I want to. For portable work and going places with lights, sometimes hot lights may make more sense for some people. You don't have to take the bulbs out most of the time to transport them and you do have to take out with fluorescent--just too fragile.

In addition, you can just get some home depot 4 bank 4 foot fluorescent fixtures to use for green screen work and that's not too expensive of a solution. Just make sure its a good quality electronic ballast--don't buy the cheapest fixture they have and certainly not a magnetic one. The 32 watt tube (T8) fixtures usually have only electronic ballasts now.

Personally I would use anything from 5000K to 6500K and at least 82 CRI but higher is better if its available. Although, remember the main thing is that this screen is a smooth, evenly lit uniform green with no hotspots. A few points in CRI aren't going to make much difference in how it keys out given that you're using these lights solely to light the green screen and not the talent. You'll use some other lighting to light them for the best separation.

I definitely don't view this as a traveling solution though. It's for use in a studio with a fixed green screen. You see, the other thing you have to worry about is client perceptions. Your lights need to look like pro lights if they are paying you. Showing up with ceiling fluorescent fixture lights or worklights may not be a good idea.

Just make "perception is reality" your new mantra as long as you are working for others. All you can do is try to make a good impression with not only your actual work but the tools you use too.
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Old March 30th, 2007, 02:04 AM   #17
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For what you want to shoot, three truckloads and an 8 person crew isn't enough for some people.

Generally, lighting is chosen in response to a situation, not the other way around.

The DV creator kit fits your $1200 budget, and it is a profesional kit that fits in a small case. All of the lights in it are used every day in many situations. Everything has many uses in many situations. It includes all the basics that will let you learn as you go.

If you are in this on a serious level, you will learn to use and use professional equipment. To my mind, that comes first. Then you can start learning how to use all sorts of solutions for difficult problems. (The stars in the background on one of the big numbers in Dream Girls was thousands of light bulbs strung up. This solution was arrived at after a couple of other "professional" solutions didn't work).

In the DV creators Kit you have:
Rifa 44 light -- this is a soft box that sets up in 30 seconds (nothing compares to this. It is totally portable, the lamp is protected inside a small cage. Soft boxes are ubiquitous in all kinds of digital work. It's perfect for your closeups, a must for interviews, etc. It works with a reflector for fill (see the article posted by Stephen L. Noe above.) The Rifa 44 is small, but it is nice because it takes the same lamp (bulb) as the Pro Light, and it takes 12 volt lamps and can be used with batteries (as a fill for a walk along) or in a car off a lighter (with the right adapter cable). It's a great little light.

The Pro Light (See the Noe referenced light) is ubiquitous for backlighting. It is a small flood/spot with a diffuse glass. Can be made more diffuse with filters. All kinds of uses.

Omni light is an openfaced light that can be softened with filters. It works for many purposes. Works very well as a background light with a gobo in front of your choice.

The tota light is used for many many purposes. Raises the general illumination for "natural light" shooting. Can light backgrounds, such as your green screen (two would be preferred). Can become another soft light with a photoflex ring made for the Tota and a photlfex soft box. Etc. Etc. I was at a rental place and they had several hundred of these thrown into bins for rentals.

As I said before, you need reflectors (or foamcore) and block out cards (black form core, some clamps, etc.

My advice is to find a studio or photographer or videographer or a production company, and go on the set and see what lights are being used and how they are being used.

I am suggesting the Lowel stuff because it is professional quality, packs up small, is ubiquitous, has very good resale value.

I am not so much recommending a kit that will light all your projects, but I am suggesting a kit that will give you the tools to learn how to light and includes items that will be useful in just about any situation or can be sold at a good enough price that you won't lose more money than if you had rented them for a week.

You can get away with cheap light in special situations. You can do a lot with chinese lanterns and inexpensive bulbs.

Before you buy any lights, if you are going to be shooting outside, see what you can do with the sun, some open shade and a couple of pieces of foam core for reflectors.

You can light backgrounds with shop lights (but you'll have problems getting the light even, you'll get shadows from protective grills, the stands will be heavy and pieces will fall of, etc. etc., and you'll look more like a handyman than a professional videographer when you arrive on the job, etc.)

Anyway, enough said. But get use to your camera and try some things with reflectors and some 3000K light bulbs in a chinese lantern before you spend a lot of money. If you do spend some money get something that is multi-use. If you don't go for the Lowel stuff, you might look at what Photoflex has to offer. The Photoflex has some excellent tutorials/lessons linked to their soft boxes and other lights. These will give you an idea of what the different lights are for and how they can be used, etc.

I recently was at a photo shoot and a video shoot for ads for Microsoft. Both were on green screen (or orange screen in the case of the photoshoot.) They used some open face lights on the screens and used full sheets of foam core and larger reflectors to diffuse the light. They use large black panels to block the heads from the talent. They used soft boxes to light the talent. Two huge ones on each side (about 12 feet by 6 feet) and an equally large soft box overhead. 2-4 panels of foam core were used on the sides to bounce light back in from the sides and further diffuse the overall lighting. And a huge open face light with diffusion over the front was placed head on directly in front of the talent. The talent was about 20 feet in front of the green and orange screens. All this was used to light 2 people, full figure. The video camera was an F900 or 950 I beleive. There was a crew of 3 or 4 people just moving reflectors for different shots. The camera didn't move, but shot straight on.

This is probably out of your budget. But the same rules were applied as explained in the article referenced by Noe above. The secret to good lighting is knowledge and experience. I suggested the DV creator 44 kit (there is a 55, etc. with larger soft boxes) because they have professional tools that can be used for practice and for real. But a couple of photofloods and reflectors and masking boards can work well, too.
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Old March 30th, 2007, 09:49 PM   #18
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Thank you guys for all the valuable info

I tell ya, sometimes it overwhelms me to see how you guys on this forum take time to impart so much of you knowledge unto those of us who are here to learn. This is amazing, this is the kind of stuff that sometimes not even tuition can buy. Thank you so much.
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Old March 30th, 2007, 10:25 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Richard Andrewski View Post
Personally I would use anything from 5000K to 6500K and at least 82 CRI but higher is better if its available. Although, remember the main thing is that this screen is a smooth, evenly lit uniform green with no hotspots. A few points in CRI aren't going to make much difference in how it keys out given that you're using these lights solely to light the green screen and not the talent. You'll use some other lighting to light them for the best separation..
Richard,
(1) if I'm lighting talent with Tungsten, perhaps because the scenes calls for it, wouldn't using 5000k to 6500k to light the green screen create some kind of undesired conflict between the 2 Color Temperatures ( Daylight vs. Tungsten)

(2) Is there such a thing as, let's say, a 2800k to 3400k CT Fluorescent fixture with the equivalent of 500W-600W that I could light the green screen with? And going back to Question 1, does CT with which you light the green screen really matter?

In the movie 300 there are scenes that called for a Tungsten look and others that called for Daylight. So, I wonder, was there a "fixed" lighting CT choice for the Green(or Blue)? In other words, was the screen lit with only Daylight CT all the time or only Tungsten all the time, regardless of the way they lit the talent?
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Old March 31st, 2007, 12:31 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Jaadgy Akanni View Post
Richard,
(1) if I'm lighting talent with Tungsten, perhaps because the scenes calls for it, wouldn't using 5000k to 6500k to light the green screen create some kind of undesired conflict between the 2 Color Temperatures ( Daylight vs. Tungsten)
No because the green is overwhelming. Its really a personal preference. Some people think you need uniform color temp between background and foreground and some don't. Remember you'll be white balancing to the foreground lighting that's on the talent anyway. The green behind is going to be pretty green no matter what we do. In fact if you get to close there will be green spill on the talent. Just needs to be well lit without hot or dark spots and you can use the same color temperature if you want. It's just that finding 4 foot tubes in 3200K can be a bit hard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaadgy Akanni View Post
(2) Is there such a thing as, let's say, a 2800k to 3400k CT Fluorescent fixture with the equivalent of 500W-600W that I could light the green screen with? And going back to Question 1, does CT with which you light the green screen really matter?
Many people carry 55w biax tubes in that range including my company. I was recommending the 4 foot tubes though as an optimum solution for green screen lighting. The four foot tubes are more limited in color selection. You can get 2800K to 3000K and 3500K but 3200K in a four foot tube is rare I think.

You can find a biax fixture like our Cool Lights one to do the same thing though for more money but it also looks more professional too if you have to go out to clients. The biax bulbs are 21.5" long approximately and are somewhat of a standard for pro fluorescent fixtures. A 2 x 55 unit puts out an equivalent of almost 500 watts of light. A 4 x 55 unit puts out an equivalent of almost 800w of light. A 6x55w unit puts out an equivalent of almost 1300w of light, etc. For comparison sake, a four foot, four bank 32w bulb fixture puts out an equivalent of about 500w of light like the 2x55 unit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaadgy Akanni View Post
In the movie 300 there are scenes that called for a Tungsten look and others that called for Daylight. So, I wonder, was there a "fixed" lighting CT choice for the Green(or Blue)? In other words, was the screen lit with only Daylight CT all the time or only Tungsten all the time, regardless of the way they lit the talent?
See my comments above. But in the case of this movie, I seem to remember seeing a "Making of" on the web somewhere and it looked like to me they had a huge silk over the entire blue screen stage to diffuse the lighting. Couldn't tell exactly what was behind the silk but probably 3200K fixtures if I had to guess. Hard to tell.

As far as getting a look of tungsten or daylight, you can do some of that with white balancing choices for the foreground talent lighting area. Use of warm cards and other tricks can give a look like your talking about. Once you white balance to an actual white card, normally you have a very neutral look.
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