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Old February 2nd, 2010, 08:22 AM   #16
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Take a look at this Husky tripod worklight:

Husky 84-Watt Portable Tripod Fluorescent Work Light - Review | Tool Snob - ToolSnob.com

I haven't shot with one but was at a friend's house and it light up the backyard like a beacon. Maybe some homegrown reflector could help direct the light to a part of the room. They are less than $100, IIRC

Maybe that plus one or two LED Lightpanels knockoffs from China? They've got over 100 little LED bulbs and can mount on camera. You can get them for $60 bucks or so.
Pro 126-LED Video Light for DV Camcorder Lighting with filter

Put the Husky in the middle of the room and throw the camera and LED lights on a Halo Rig (Halo Rig HD Stabilizers for Digital Video Cameras) and you're good to go.

The Husky is warm white. I'm not sure about the lightpanels, so you may have some issues with white balance. I'll defer to the more experienced folks here as to whether this solution might work, but I thought that I'd throw in some cheap alternatives...
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 11:13 AM   #17
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Hi Karen,

For around $115 you can get a Lowell Tota and there's a place in San Mateo (a little bit of a drive from Santa Cruz but not too far) that has decent light stands for about $30 each. I'd recommend going that way instead of the work lights. One Tota would help to bring up the ambient light and for what you're thinking of you probably just want to get it so there is enough light to keep your camera from introducing a lot of noise. Two Tota's would probably be enough for most of your situations.

If you get lucky you can find use Tota's for around $65 to $75 on Craigslist.

Just my one pennies worth of opinion.

-Garrett
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 11:33 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Dart View Post
oh by the way gaffers are the backbone of movie making and they also do all the work..........the rest of the crew just stand around trying to look good.

cheers,
ian
I think the boom op on my last shoot who had to position himself uncomfortably under a dinning table for 4 hours would disagree with you on that one.. ;). Or the PA's that had to lug the 1000 lbs of gear down slippery narrow stairways because the location had no other way in. Great house but horrible access.

-Garrett
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 11:32 PM   #19
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Andy, John and Garrett!

Thanks for your additions to the thread, all helpful.

Garrett, I'll watch craigslist religiously for any local Lowell Totas that appear, thank you. I'd love to learn about the San Mateo store with $30 stands, feel free to post of PM me to share here, if you would. Thanks! (The grave danger: a drive to San Mateo sends me near an REI store.)

Ok, I'm off to begin learning about white balance now!
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 11:34 PM   #20
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And everyone, thanks for making me feel welcome, even with my noob questions/expectations in tow.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 12:56 AM   #21
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Hi Karen,

I'll have to look back to see if I find the info on the place. What type of camera are you shooting with? Most cameras can white balance pretty easily.

-Garrett
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 01:25 AM   #22
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Hi Garrett,
Just before starting this thread, I ordered a Canon HF-S10 cause it dropped in price for a short time on Amazon. It's en route, but if all goes well, that'll be the one!
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 02:03 AM   #23
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Karen,

Nice camera. You'll most likely want to have a decent amount of light so that gain won't be added which translates into noise in your videos (noise in videos looks like grain). White balance is pretty easy. If you do use lights like the Lowells you could set the white balance to tungsten or you better you can just set the custom white balance by taking a white piece of paper and placing it just in front of your subject. Then zoom in on the paper so it fills the entire screne. Then there will be a button to allow the camera to take a reading and set it.

Pretty easy to do. Once I find the name of the place that has the stands I'll email you the info.

Good luck.
-Garrett
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 02:04 AM   #24
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That is a MARVELOUS choice of camera. I recommended the same model for a friend of mine last summer. I had a chance to shoot with it over the summer and thought it was stellar for a consumer cam. I let him play with my EX1 while I enjoyed having a camera that weighed next to nothing for a while! :)

What will you be using to edit your videos? I realize this is a lighting thread, and we may need to break this discussion off a bit, but just wanted to be sure as a new shooter, you avoid some of the common pitfalls.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 02:53 AM   #25
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Wow, I was already feeling like I got a good deal given I was ready to make the leap and buy something, now I'm ecstatic! Great feedback, thanks.

Garrett, re white balance: my subject likely won't be standing still and lit in the same way over any given minute (well, if indoors at least)...but I look forward to playing around with it and will try out the various features. Thanks!

Perrone. Ok, software. I was hoping to not have to admit this publicly! :) For my little videos so far, I've been using iMovie 08, what came with my computer, since my needs have been so minimal: bring the audio to zero (as I put a song over it all anyway), trim clips, crop clips, basic titles and transitions, fast! That said, I do also have the earlier version (iMovie HD) which has some more features but I haven't needed to go there (I did at one time, but it's been years). I will soon have iMovie 09 (cause I believe it might be better than '08 for Canon's .mts files?). I was going to play with that and see if I hit snags. If I did I was planning to fork out for Final Cut Express -- from what I read, it and iMovie 09 can convert the mts files. I believe this means there's a quality loss (?) but at least they're files I can work with. That was my seat-of-the-pants plan.

I'd certainly love to avoid software/conversion pitfalls! I wanted to 'trouble shoot' the mts issue in advance, but I couldn't find a store in this town that actually has a Canon camera to demo, where I could pop in an SD card and take home some samples. So all of this is based on what I've gleaned online. I am hoping my computer has the processing power to handle this new level that HD will require (hence the "if all goes well" part of my commenct below).

Hardware wise, I have an iMac w/ an 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor. I think/hope I'll be ok there. And 4 GB of RAM (the max).

Thanks all!
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Old February 14th, 2010, 11:05 AM   #26
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Hi Karen

I do something similar to what you're doing. I shoot Adopt A Pet segments for our local Humane Society's Web site. I shoot the dogs outdoors and the cats indoors, mostly for the comfort of the animals. I shoot in HD with a Panasonic HMC-40 then downconvert the footage to SD for editing in Premiere Pro CS4.

When I first started shooting the videos about three years ago, I was using a small Sony hand-held camera and came across many of the limitations you are experiencing. But, I agree with Andy - you don't have to win an Academy Award with these videos. As long as the shots aren't horribly jerky, out of focus or really dark, people will watch them. And they don't really care about the production quality, they're focusing on the pet. If anything, I put more of an emphasis on the audio quality, since I interview shelter workers holding and interacting with the animals. (But I like your idea of action shots set to music.) So I use a Rode Videomic instead of the camera's built-in mike.

If you really need an external light, my suggestion is the Comer 900. I bought it through L.A. Color Shop | Online Photo/Video Gear Shop, which is one of this site's sponsors. I use it on my Sony hand-held cameras (though you need an adapter for the hotshoe) and it even has a cold shoe on the top if you want to mount a mike or another accessory. It's not dirt cheap but it does the job well.

I'd be happy to weigh in if you have any other questions. Keep us posted on your progress!
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Old February 16th, 2010, 07:17 PM   #27
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Hi there Sherri,

Thanks for your input on lights and more.

I'd love to take a look at your HS videos (I'll PM you), and take a look at how you incorporate interviews/sound. The one time I tried that the ambient din was indeed inhibitive. (I do like to shoot my dog out in the wild, and have the rode videomic on my wish-list of items. either before or after a fig rig! hah)

Thanks, Sherri
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Old February 20th, 2010, 05:08 PM   #28
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Hi Karen -

I'm also in Santa Cruz. I have two Totas + stands, etc. If you'd like to try a test drive before making a decision on what you need, give me a PM.
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Old February 20th, 2010, 05:41 PM   #29
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Does anyone else foresee a problem with the combination of light stands and dogs?
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Old February 20th, 2010, 06:29 PM   #30
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How about something like a portable halogen worklight. Home Depot has one for $49. 1000 Watt 160 Wide Angle Wall To Wall Portable Worklight - L-5203 at The Home Depot

Point it towards a corner to illuminate the entire room.

It's not a pro solution but it fits the budget.
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