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Old April 1st, 2010, 05:38 AM   #1
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Best light options

It's my first time I'm filming a product presentation in a professional kitchen, I"m not worried about the filming itself, I"m worried about what type of lights are best to choose.

I don't need to create any mood or light accents, the client wants to have a very clear image of the presentation meaning I can flood the kitchen with as much light as needed so I don't have any shadows.

There is a rental place nearby my place where I can hire a 3 x 800 watt ARRI800 set or a 3 x 800 watt REDHEAD KIT or a 3x 1kW KOBOLD 1000 VL set.

We plan to blind all windows in the recording area so there is no light coming in from outside, as I have no idea how much light I have to trow at this kitchen scene I hope someone can give me a hint here? Should I also apply the basic key/fill backlight approach setting up the lights? It's not like the person I will be filming will be sitting down, he will be moving around in his kitchen and we plan to do multiple takes of wide shots and close-ups.
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Old April 1st, 2010, 09:48 AM   #2
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A ton of light...and ideally completely diffused.

When I've done tabletop product shots of fast food with a really basic, basic tungsten set, I've had a table sweep about 4 feet wide by 4 feet deep (to the curve) with 1500 watts on each side (two Tota heads with 750w bulbs, each behind a huge diffusion frame), two 750w fresnels as backlights, and a 2000w soft (Chimera, etc) as a front key.

...keep in mind that this was for one cheeseburger and fries...or a fish sandwich...a small area in any case. I also had several small, handheld size mirrors to target bounced light into any remaining shadows.

If you have a cooking show with a larger area to light, I'd be taking several things into account...

What does the set look like? If it's very wood/earth tone, I'd actually lean toward daylight instead of tungsten. Food tends to be primarily brown/green (color accents like red peppers, egg plant, etc. are a departure of course). Full spectrum lighting would help to delineate the color palette a bit.

Large work countertops would typically need a massive bank of soft top light for the most flexibility, which might have to share space with a mirror positioned so cameras can tilt up and get a shot of the food on the counter from the top.

I've typically found that most people with no food experience try to light it like they'd light people. With a person, some shadows portray shape and depth...with food, shadows just leave areas unexplained.

If you have a kitchen with windows anyway, I'd consider stopping them down a touch with some ND and using daylight Kinos for the main flood if you have the height to fly them above everything. Maybe a big daylight soft instrument (like a Joker with a Chimera) could be your movable "key" or accent...


Some thoughts anyway. Lots of other input available from others I'm sure...
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Old April 1st, 2010, 12:14 PM   #3
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I agree with super-soft, I also agree that I would use windows to your advantage and light from there.

Also, shooting food is a profession of it's own, and it's difficult. Making food not look dead/flat/boring is a challenge. Read up on it, extensively.
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Old April 1st, 2010, 12:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Kolb View Post
If it's very wood/earth tone, I'd actually lean toward daylight instead of tungsten. Food tends to be primarily brown/green (color accents like red peppers, egg plant, etc. are a departure of course). Full spectrum lighting would help to delineate the color palette a bit.
Tim:

Are you suggesting that lighting with 56K instruments and balancing the camera to 56K gives a different color rendition than lighting with 32K instruments and balancing to 32K?
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Old April 1st, 2010, 02:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Tim:

Are you suggesting that lighting with 56K instruments and balancing the camera to 56K gives a different color rendition than lighting with 32K instruments and balancing to 32K?
Well, of course we're talking about 56-hundred and 32-hundred... :-)

Of course, you're challenging me on this a bit, and in understand that... I would say that this shouldn't be true...

However...there are a few subtle factors involved that I may be over-weighting in my own mind.

First...most of us can take Photoshop and examine a still from one of our camera clips (or now, the clip itself with Photoshop's ability to handle video) and through isolating the three color channels, one sees what we've known for some time...most of the noise is in the blue channel.

When a video camera white balances, it has to recalibrate the signal level coming from the red and blue channels (I tend to illustrate...and possibly over-simplify... this as red and blue on a bit of a teeter-totter over green in the middle...).

With tungsten light, most cameras have to really gain up blue as even professional tungsten lights don't have all that much on that end of the spectrum...and of course, amplification creates noise.

With daylight, even though the light seems blue-ish in comparison to tungsten, daylight has far more red than tungsten has blue... There is a reason why full spectrum 6500K bulbs are being pushed hard for use by those who do small detail work. It makes a significant difference in clarity, even to our eyes.

I tend to find that when I'm working with anything that is particularly fussy as far as color recognition and clarity is concerned (not only food, I also do documentary work and I'm currently working on a project in Boston with an oil painter), I end up with a much easier task in post if I have to try to add back a little red to a cooler daylight picture that try to suppress it in a warm, tungsten picture while trying to gain up blue that is in some circumstances, just not there...

So...and I think there is room for a contrary opinion here without a doubt, and it's good to get it out there as well...that has been my experience. I shoot with daylight as my first choice for most settings...

I think we as viewers also visually allow for a cooler picture as being realistic in a daylight shoot...allowing the color palette to be a bit less warm and a little crisper...so that has very little to do with the camera and more to do with us.


***I'll also offer full disclosure on my current camera...an EX1...and before I ran a far-red filter on it, shooting daylight was the best way to suppress that issue...once Tiffen released the T1, I've been running that and i think I have far better color palettes under tungsten than I used to...


So, there you go Charles...I've now laid out how subjective my personal approach is...what we all do is a large part style and preference, and my personal preference for look and feel certainly contributes to my leaning toward daylight. Anyone who is reading this thread needs to look at what their personal aesthetic preferences are...and also consider contrary opinions.

:-)

Asbestos pants...snapped and zipped.
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Old April 1st, 2010, 02:04 PM   #6
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BTW Charles...popped over to your site.

Very nice work. Some time in Wisconsin I see...
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Old April 1st, 2010, 02:58 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Are you suggesting that lighting with 56K instruments and balancing the camera to 56K gives a different color rendition than lighting with 32K instruments and balancing to 32K?
Aw heck, I'll bite on this:
With cameras that don't have the "pre filter" wheel to bring the light down closer to 3200k before hitting the sensor, I have noticed differences in the overall quality of colour rendition if looking critically. My OPINION is that the current crop of video cameras that have done away with colour temp pre filtering are asking an awful lot of the proc amps.

To be clear:
Cameras WITH prefilter would be cameras with the filter wheel such as: 3200, 5600 + 1/4ND, 5600, 5600 + 1/16ND (such as 300 and 400 series BetaCams) OR with concentric ND and Colour Temp wheels (such as BVW600 BetaSP and DVW700 DigiBeta cameras)

And I don't presume to CHALLENGE the learned Mr. Papert: this is merely my PERCEPTION from my experience (which, it should be noted, is somewhat less than Mr. Papert's)

Curious to hear your thoughts, Mr. P.
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Old April 1st, 2010, 02:59 PM   #8
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Thanks guys so far for the advice, now I even got a bigger headache :) I guess it's better to have too much light with me that day so I can test what works best, Thanks also for the tip using daylight when possible but I think it depends on the type of whether, now it's cloudy here but the sun often comes peeping behind the clouds as well and I can imagine that this can be a problem to control the light intensity throughout a day of shooting? That was the reason I preferred to use controlled light only.
I think I also will be doing some reading about the subject so I don't arrive totally unprepared, problem is I don't have the opportunity to test before the shoot, I can have a look at the location but it's not possible to try anything out.
The main subject I will be filming are eggs :) but there will be some other food as well. For correct whitebalancing I plan to use a expodisk as from what I read about it it's quite accurate in telling the camera how the colors should look like.
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Old April 1st, 2010, 03:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post

And I don't presume to CHALLENGE the learned Mr. Papert: this is merely my PERCEPTION from my experience (which, it should be noted, is somewhat less than Mr. Papert's)

Curious to hear your thoughts, Mr. P.
...and I'm not trying to start an argument so much as a discussion...excellent point about the prefilter, Shaun. I did an HDX900 shoot recently and I had intended to aim the EX1 at some of the same scene for giggles (obviously these two cameras are from different classes), but didn't get the chance.
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 06:03 AM   #10
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The rental company suggested I use Kino Flo Diva-Lite Kits as they produced a very natural and strong light which would be best for giving evenly spread light to larger area's.
So if I understand right, it's better to use 5600 k lights for an interior shoot?
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 08:39 AM   #11
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So if I understand right, it's better to use 5600 k lights for an interior shoot?
Well...that's not exactly what -I'm- saying...

My thoughts were along the lines of

1. Having the window there already makes it either a massive job to block/control without it looking blocked or controlled in some shot that might show it...

2. If the window is already furnishing a fair amount of light, it will be daylight obviously. *Depending on the compass direction and the time of year and location, this can be a violent change throughout the half of the day it's in direct sunlight (generally east-morning or generally west-afternoon), and less so during the other half of the day depending on what's outside for reflection (an adjacent white building that becomes the world's biggest bounce card for instance). Most painters want windows facing North in their studio for the most consistent, indirect sunlight...

3. I started this with my personal perception that daylight color temperature light seems to keep all the various colors in the palette more distinct than tungsten, which should really be desirable for food. Over the last day or two, I've been examining lots of images from films and videos...commercials, etc. I needed to challenge myself to make sure I wasn't spreading some sort of personal skew based on some horrible episode from my childhood connected to 3200K light that I've now blocked out as an adult... I would have to say that most of the time in images portraying people indoors at night...the palette seems pretty warm. It seems appropriate. Daytime shots...even interiors, tend to be less so. The cooler color temp of the lighting and/or the altered balance of the camera or film stock does seem to delineate colors better. Highly saturated reds are now manageable, but still seem accurate while other reds, oranges, and skin tones seem to 'separate' better, no longer looking like close variations of the same color.

So...no 5600 isn't always better for indoor shots. It's a judgment call that has to do with your own perceptions and style. Some would probably say that it's never appropriate for an indoor shoot as they may not like the look. This really isn't a field full of absolutes and you should take all this input and then think it through for yourself. You might try putting a plate of food on a countertop and shooting it, lighting it with tungsten, then duplicating the set with daylight with the camera you'll be using and evaluate it for yourself...

Kinos are good fixtures...and you can mix color temp bulbs in them. If you have a four bulb head, each bulb can be changed individually. I've run Kinos in a daylight situation, and changed 1 of 4 bulbs out for a 2900K tube and it mixes in and can give skintone just a touch of warmth while keeping the vast majority of the light daylight...

Sorry...a couple long posts here.
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 09:09 AM   #12
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Balancing the prevailing light to the camera simple makes white white - nothing more. However, all the things the camera sees that are a colour, will react differently to the colour of the light falling on them.

We know sunlight is blue(ish) and tungsten lighting is red(ish) so the balancing in the camera sorts it out so that things look 'normal'.

Sunlight outside on a blue object with white balance properly set makes the blue object appear slightly brighter than a red object next to it. Do the same indoors and the blue object is a little dull compared to the red object which appears a little brighter than it is.

White looks the same in each case, but as we see by the light reflected from a body, if they are complimentary, more light reflects.
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 11:11 AM   #13
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Thanks all for the answers so far and I don't mind the long posts :) It got a bit too technical for me in the beginning but the last answers cleared some unanswered questions up. Now I'm a bit more confident doing this. The rental company said they would supply 3200 and 5600 k lights so I just need to get in real early the shooting day to try some things out.
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