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Old May 1st, 2010, 08:01 AM   #1
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basic question - studio shoot lighting..

Hi,

On Monday I'm the cameraman for a studio shoot of a promo for a festival.. I don't have much experience with studio lighting but want to have some idea of whats best to use before then (we will go to choose the lights to rent on the morning with the director and producer)..

From what I understand so far it will be a plain white studio (Mini Studio - 150 euro per dag), it will probably be a wide shot with a lot of people entering from each side, could be around an 8 metre wide framing space. The director wants an even softish kind of lighting on the space.

My experience is limited to a more basic interview 3 point key/fill/backlight technique.

I'd really appreciate any suggestions on which kind of lights and how many lights you'd recommend based on the limited information I've given.. (2,3,or4 lights, flourescent? with or without softboxes? diffusion? daylight balanced??)

Thanks very much!
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Old May 1st, 2010, 10:26 AM   #2
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You would light the space from overhead with what are known as space lights. They are fixtures that most stages have that utilize several tungsten fixtures within one framework that is covered with diffusion. It sounds as if lighting it any other way will cause shadows and the lights and stands will be in your shot.

Here is an image of a stage with a LOT of space lights for the film Lemony Snickets http://www.iatse728.org/history/gall...son_lemony.htm

Dan
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Old May 1st, 2010, 11:22 AM   #3
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Thanks Dan..

I'm not sure if the rental house where we're going will have them but I can try. As a backup plan do you have any suggestions for other techniques? If i had to go for a 3 or 4 point lighting technique which lights do you think would work best?

Would a set of flourescent lights with softboxes work in a kind of 4 corner, 2 in front 2 behind setup? The 8 metres was maybe an overestimate, how about if it was more like 5 or 6?

Thanks again!
Manus
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Old May 1st, 2010, 11:41 AM   #4
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With space lights you can need to add some fill because they can be too "toppy", especially in a small studio like this.

It's very hard to get a sense of size from photo, but high soft light would be the best option. We did something in a small studio by rigging a 4ft X 20ft wooden diffusion frame using 216 white diffusion in the lighting rig and having a number of Redheads evenly spaced along it firing through it. This was frontal above the camera, there were some back lights used to make it a bit more interesting. However, it wasn't a pure white studio, so you'd want to use soft lights for any back light, however, hanging the space lights at the rear of the set and the large frontal diffusion frame rig could give you both. China balls are another possibility instead of space light's.
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Old May 1st, 2010, 12:30 PM   #5
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I don't think a lot of rental houses have space lights although the bigger ones will. In all the cases where I have used space lights, they were at a stage and the stage provided them. I like Bryan's suggestion, I too would consider an 8x8 or 12x12 silk or diffusion rigged with some large instruments behind it. The cool part would be that all of that could be rigged from the grid so you would still have the freedom on not worrying about seeing a lot of stands and Chimeras from the floor.

Dan
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Old May 1st, 2010, 12:44 PM   #6
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Thanks.. attached is a pic the director sent from the last shoot they did there.. I dont really see anywhere above where you could put a wooden frame rigged with different lights behind, if i understood you correctly?

Maybe China Lanterns taped to the ceiling? Not sure if the studio would be too happy about taping stuff to their clean white paint job though..

Just to get back to basics though, when you want to evenly light a larger area you'd need something like flourescent lighting? Is it also possible to use redheads or fresnels with diffussion? Softboxes? How would you then handle backlighting? Or would this be impossible considering the larger area and not having lights in the frame (I think the subjects will be shot entering an empty white set from left and right and shot in full profile)

Cheers,
Manus
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Old May 1st, 2010, 02:32 PM   #7
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Redheads and Fresnel are used with diffusion all the time. The China Ball I mentioned is a 1k light. you can clamp it to their lighting rig, or if they've got structural roof beams/ trusses to those.

I wouldn't tape, but you can get autopoles, basically poles that ve clamped between two walls and you can hang lightweight lights from those.

Manfrotto 032B Auto Pole : Teamwork Digital Ltd, Suppliers of Professional Digital and Large Format Photographic Equipment

A number of companies eg Matthews, make heavier duty versions. However, if it's a studio I'd expect some sort of rigging system already in place, otherwise it's not really a studio, just room (OK just seem the photo - it's just a room).

Make some goal posts using either 2 x C stands or heavy duty light stands - the ones used for HMIs and run a scaffolding type pole across between them. That or use C stands, or heavy duty stands and use those to mount the frame on either side - remember to sand bag the stands. Ask the rental company what they've got for doing this
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Old May 1st, 2010, 11:50 PM   #8
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Manus,

You're giving us only 1 of the dimensions. 8 meters (around 21 feet wide) says little about how high and how DEEP the space is you need to light.

Light, falls off SHARPLY over distance. So in a 3 dimensional space like a box you need to consider at LEAST 3 elements to get smooth, even coverage. The first is the reflectivity of the space. The second is the number and wattage of the fixtures you have available - and finally, there's the mounting geometry - how evenly can you space these lights along all each axis. Too few lights and you get dark spots. Uneven spacing and you get dark spots.

And once you achieve smooth lighting of the surface of the set, you have to go back and look at lighting your TALENT.

Essentially the larger the set, the more space you have between light fixtures, the larger (softer) and more powerful those fixtures will need to be.

If your set is 21 wide x 10' high x 10 feet deep, you need to fill more than 2000 cubic feet of space with light.

I'd guess the MINIMUM you'd want to have available is 8-10 4 bank kinos for the stage (3 each for the rear wall, cove area, and floor. - plus another 9 or so fixtures to work as key, fill and backlight for each third of the stage as people are moving around.

That's where I'd start.

Your mileage will certainly vary.

Good luck.
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 02:22 AM   #9
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Thanks very much..

Seems my 'basic' question isnt so basic! Anyways its a low (almost no) budget shoot that im doing for experience and to expand my network, but always good to have as much knowledge as possible before arriving there. Hopefully with a combination of me, the producer, director and the light rental shop which is just next door to the studio we'll be able to come up with a good setup that works ok.
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 11:18 AM   #10
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Based upon your picture, you don't have a stage, you have a small, white room with a low ceiling and no grid. So forget space lights and China balls, your ceiling is too low, even if you set up polecats or cross bars. Forget suspending an 8x8 or 12x12, you don't have nearly enough room.

You look like you are stuck with lighting from the floor with either fluoros or Chimeras. Simple. That's all you have vertical room for.

It's tough to do a studio type shoot when you don't have a studio.

Dan
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 03:06 AM   #11
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Yes, nothing big.

Perhaps, the only real top light could be bounce off the white ceiling, 2k blondes are pretty good at that, although the heat can build up if they're left on for too long.
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Old May 9th, 2010, 07:15 AM   #12
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Manus, what are you shooting? If there are people, how many? Are they talking to the camera or to each other (assuming there is more than one)? What's the purpose of the shoot?
Don't jump into the lake until you know how deep it is.
Gary
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Old May 10th, 2010, 04:49 AM   #13
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thanks gary.. it was last monday though!..

sorry i didnt update.. it went pretty well, actually i had completely the wrong idea about the shoot, there were about 30 actors but not on screen at the same time! there were one or 2, max 3 at a time, but dancing around so the frame and space that needed to be lit was about 3x2, much smaller than i thought.. in the end we used 1 kinoflo and 4 fresnels.. kinoflo for fill, fresnel with softbox for key, one fresnel to light the back wall and 2 as backlight.. the backlighting could have used more coverage and i thought it was a bit too soft in the face but the director wanted it that way.. any suggestions for improvements welcome!

i'll post the video when i have a link

(it was for a house festival - http://www.housequake.nl/ in between the djs on a big screen theres some clips of people dancing (and hugging/kissing - the casting agency stupidly forgot to mention that part to the talent so not all of them were up for it!), holding up 'hello' signs in different languages saying goodbye etc)

cheers,
Manus
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basic question - studio shoot lighting..-untitled-2.jpg  

Last edited by Manus Sweeney; May 10th, 2010 at 05:37 AM.
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