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Old November 11th, 2004, 04:00 PM   #1
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Lighting for a Cooking Show

Iíd like to get your advice and tips on lighting a modern [open plan, light colored] kitchen for taping a series of cooking shows for a local access channel. Looking around Dvinfo and in Jackmanís excellent book, Iíve not found the help that I need.

In this kitchen, there is an island (actually a peninsular counter at 90 deg to the outside wall) where most of the culinary preparation will be undertaken. The camera and the presenter would be on opposite sides of the island.

There is a small window to the side and behind the presenter. There are also large windows to the side of the camera position. Most of the action would be at the island. Some action will be at the stove - looking from the side. The kitchen has a white solid ceiling that is at about 7.5 feet.
Hereís the general layout: http://www.geocities.com/cookingwith...es/kitchen.gif

The camera is a Canon GL-2. I have some low cost fluorescent lights with reflectors, on stands, that give a good white color and soft broad coverage. They are rated as a 300W tungsten equivalent. If these lights are not appropriate, as they are not focusable, Iím willing to invest in some video lighting.

Reading the recent discussions Iím tempted by the Britek lights with barndoors and focus controls. Perhaps a 600W with an umbrella for the key. A 300W could be a hair light. Another 300W could light the background - possibly casting a slash of light across the refrigerator. Perhaps using one of the fluorescents, with some diffusion material, as a fill.

Is this reasonable? Iím also looking for advice on how to handle the windows. Are gels needed or should I block off the windows completely?

Any advice will be appreciated!

Thanks!

Ken W.
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Old November 11th, 2004, 11:34 PM   #2
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Couple of things to consider. With the windows you would be mixing tungsten and Daylight. You'd have to either gel the windows with CTO, or gel the lights (easier) with CTB, but you loose two stops. I would advise against the Briteks, they're shite. They also have fans in them, I think. You can try mixing the daylight and tungsten, but it looks funky most of the time.

If you've got the bucks, a couple of Kino Flo, or similar fluorescent lights would be good. They would give you daylight flavored light and they are nice, broad and even, which will help make your food look tastier. Lighting food is easy. Making it look appetizing is hard.

If you have you go with Tungsten, you would have to go with 650's and 1K's or maybe some bigger lights. A couple of 2K zip lights (soflights) would be good. Again, you would have to gel them with blue. They also would use one 20 Amp circuit. 2000 Watts of light uses about 18 Amps of electricity, but round it off to 20 for safety.

Looking at the room diagram, I would suggest larger lights like the Kino Flo 4'x4 bank lights. One or two parallel to the presentation area about where the word "camera" is, but more centered, if just one. Then one or two perpendicular to that, between the fridge and the presentation area, close to the right hand wall. Possibly another smaller 2'x2, or 2'x4 unit facing the sink between the fridge and the island. Possibly at a forty five degree angle facing the sink or stove.

I get a lighting credit if that's what you end up doing. And a free dinner :`)

Also, depending on how your show is done, there may be issues with continuity and the window lighting, or the windows in general.
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Old November 11th, 2004, 11:48 PM   #3
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Actually nowadays, you could probably make your own fluoro fixtures. Get daylight flavored fluoro lamps and some 4 foot shoplights from Home Depot and you are on your way. Be sure that you are using GE's newer Cinema Lamps. I don't think HD has them, you'd have to special order them, or go through a lighting shop.

It would require a little ingenuity and parts assembly/fabrication, but it's doable and considerably less than the Kino flo's.

The daylight flavored tubes will halp match to the windows and help make the food look better.
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Old November 12th, 2004, 12:57 PM   #4
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I take back what I said about the Briteks, I just checked out the site and some of it looks okay, Just not sure how durable that stuff is.

If you want good cheap tungsten, get Lowel Tota Lights, these are broad lights and will light up the kitchen pretty well for not a lot of money. They also have other lights as well.

I was thinking fluorescent since you will be cooking in a hot kitchen, the hotlights will just make it that much hotter. Also the fluoros can be put right up to the ceiling or against the walls with oput worrying too much about melting anything, or starting a fire.
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Old November 12th, 2004, 03:09 PM   #5
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Pace yourself, Mark. You don't want to give yourself repetitive stress disorder! <g>
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Old November 12th, 2004, 03:15 PM   #6
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Hey, I like to hear myself talk!

Plus I'm trying to get the number of posts up so I look cooler :~)

Shall we start the Japanese American Cinematographers Society?
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Old November 12th, 2004, 04:21 PM   #7
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Mark, thanks for your very helpful postings.

I take your point about mixing daylight and tungsten plus the use of gels. Iím seriously thinking of blocking off the windows or shooting at night. That also addresses the inevitable continuity issues of changing amounts of daylight that you mentioned.

I do a have four Ďdaylight-ishí CF fluorescent floods. They certainly give a good amount of nice, broad and even lighting. Sounds like this may be OK for the food being prepared & displayed. But Iím still not sure if that is the way to go for lighting the presenterís face. Is the idea to bathe the whole area with shadowless high key light? Also wouldnít a small Ďhardí light on the presenterís hair help separate her from the background?

Iím surprised to hear of using multiple 2K lights in what is a fairly small working area. However, Iím obviously new to this and will take the benefit of your advice. BTW, the drawing has been slightly clarified.

Thanks for your many useful suggestions on the placement & manufacture of fluorescents. Good food for thought :)

Iíve just found out that the cable TV studio has some Lowel Tota Lights with umbrellas that I may be able to borrow. I can do some experiments with these lights a few days before the taping Ė perhaps bouncing the light via the low white ceiling if needed.

Thanks again for your many ideas - no problem on the lighting consultant credit and a free dinner when youíre next in the neighborhood!
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Old November 12th, 2004, 05:02 PM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Mark Sasahara :
Shall we start the Japanese American Cinematographers Society? -->>>

Already kinda exists. My cousin (Karen Ishizuka) and her husband (Robert Nakamura) do just such work through the Japanese American National Museum in L.A. They produce and facilitate some really terrific indie work surrounding the general subject of Japanese American heritage.
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Old November 12th, 2004, 05:29 PM   #9
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Ken,

I was thinking of the 2K's if you had to gel them blue and compete with direct sunlight. You can probably use smaller units

I was going a bit overboard and thinking out loud. You could light it with a couple of the Totas: one light high and to the left of the camera, lighting the presentation area. The second Tota on the right hand wall lighting the sink area, would also act as a hairlight anyway. You'd have to flag it off so you're not flaring the camera. You could bounce into a wall/ceiling on either or both side, the only problem being ability to control the light.

The main thing would be to keep it simple and repeatable.

I go to VT a lot, so maybe I can swing thru sometime.
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Old November 12th, 2004, 05:32 PM   #10
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Geez, I dunno bro, I'm a half breed, will they take me? :~).

Are there any cute chicks there?
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Old November 12th, 2004, 05:35 PM   #11
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<<<-- Originally posted by Mark Sasahara : Geez, I dunno bro, I'm a half breed, will they take me? :~). -->>>

That makes two of us.
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Old November 12th, 2004, 05:43 PM   #12
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Cool! Hey, it's a convention!
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Old November 13th, 2004, 03:09 PM   #13
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I'd just use the ceiling as a very large umbrellla and bounce the light off of it. It should end up fairly even except for the stove area. There you may need to add a color-balanced flo up in the corner of the wall and ceiling to even things out.

If the talent is going to be moving around, you cannot use 3-point lighting as they will move out of the setup. So broad lighting is the best way IMHO and then add a small kicker light on-camera to give things a bit of a gleam. 10 watts would work OK I think, depending on the distance between camera and talent.
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Old November 16th, 2004, 11:02 AM   #14
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Thanks everyone for all the good suggestions and tips. I'm able to borrow 3 Total lights. I'll have a day to experiment with different configurations before the shoot.

Thanks again for all the help!

Ken W.
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Old November 16th, 2004, 12:09 PM   #15
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Good luck and have fun!
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