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Old February 28th, 2011, 09:43 PM   #16
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Re: 2k Blonde or 1200wLED?

A Baglite is nice, but a bit limited in its use since it a rather large fixture with no focusing. Great for tungsten softboxes due to their even, broad throw. Bare, its certainly no replacement for even a 2k at a distance from the subject due to a most 2k's ability to focus into a spot.

A similar, less expensive option to a baglite might be a couple of lowel totas. Totas are made so they can be stacked in an arrangement that looks much like a baglite, or used as separate fixtures, which is nice especially since they could be one tota-baglite or six totas and break down into a small kit. Of course the softbox mounting options might not be as elegant, but are easily set up with umbrellas or umbrella softboxes.

Also, I agree about 2 1ks over a 2k. I almost never see 2ks except in studios, mostly for those heat and power reasons you mentioned.
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Old February 28th, 2011, 10:28 PM   #17
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Re: 2k Blonde or 1200wLED?

Thanks to everyone so much for the responses. I kept thinking that I was missing something in regards to the groundswell shift of shooters to kenos and LEDs in that they seemed to me not to give the same level of 'grunt' as something as brutal as a blonde. However, using an EX with a 35mm adapter and f2.8 lenses has had me taking a step backwards in terms of the overall increase in sensitivity of cameras. I'm waiting for the dust to settle on the large frame sensor cameras now appearing which of course seem to be just so incredibly sensitive and noise-free but soon will be shopping for a new 'image-acquisition device'.

The big question I've been thinking about for a while is about no longer having to light for necessity but for pure aesthetics. It doesn't matter if you're in the expressionism or naturalism camp, you'll now be asking yourself, what can I add here - if anything - to make the image more fully express what it needs to?

Thanks again!
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Old March 1st, 2011, 12:01 AM   #18
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Re: 2k Blonde or 1200wLED?

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Originally Posted by Michael Power View Post
\ you'll now be asking yourself, what can I add here - if anything - to make the image more fully express what it needs to?
Or, just as interestingly (and often overlooked): what can I subtract? Negative fill or eliminating light sources can be a powerful tool to shape the look of a scene. Many a cameraman has gone through the process where as a young man you are all about adding light, and as you mature you start turning it off. I'm pushing myself through the latter now in my third decade of lighting, and it's great to be working with cameras that can accommodate amazingly low light levels.

That said--there is a place for big guns. I just shot a music video with the performance section in a barn; the interior levels were quite low key as if motivated by lanterns (1930's era) but the highlights were provided by units blasting through the slats in the doors behind and in front of the performers. I used 10K's for both mounted on platform dollies riding laterally on track, suggesting headlights of approaching cars. The 10K's were probably 25 feet from the artists. I shot on 1DMKIV's at 1250 ASA, at f2.8. The light from the 10K's was barely above exposure, with everything else underexposure. Anything smaller than a 10K wouldn't have even cut it. I would have spec'd 20K's except that we would have started to have to beef up the platform dollies etc. Honestly I expected more stop but the slats cut out a lot.

There's going to be a need for big units for a long time to come. It all depends on how large your setups are.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 02:13 AM   #19
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Re: 2k Blonde or 1200wLED?

Strangely, with soft light aesthetics there seems to be a lot of big lights in use. I know of one DP who lights small rooms with a 12k HMI fired through a diffusion frame, this can also be caught and bounced off poly for fill and you're shooting at f2.8.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 02:39 AM   #20
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Re: 2k Blonde or 1200wLED?

Yup. On a recent 5D job shooting day interiors I had two 18K's and two 4K pars as well as smaller stuff. It may seem completely incomprehensible or like fabulous overkill if you aren't used to working with big guns, but it's all in how you use it.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 03:41 AM   #21
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Re: 2k Blonde or 1200wLED?

I am certainly going with less is more and have been putting 250w bubbles in my redheads and using them as a more direct source with diffuser mounted in square strand gel frames, it makes them like mini softboxes.

I have also added a fresnel lens to one of my 250w redheads and it gives me a bit more control as a direct source.

I tend to use my 800w redheads as bounce sources and the two sachtler 1k fresnels I got of e-bay for $100 as the big hard source lights.

I suppose most of my shooting these days is with the HPX301 and as it's 1/3" chips like the lens to be as wide open as possible I can get away with less lighting
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Old March 1st, 2011, 05:09 PM   #22
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Re: 2k Blonde or 1200wLED?

This is an interesting discussion and the allusion to the heavy duty wattage required for a softer or more even lighting set up makes you think of great cinematographers like Gordon Willis and Vittorio Storaro. An even more interesting reference comes to mind, if any of you collect old American Cinematographers, go back to the feature article on the lighting and shooting of Men in Black. I can't recall exactly, but the nerve centre of the characters' operation was lit by something like 36 x 12k lights through scrims which started melting the sets but otherwise gave this beautiful fill in a huge hangar of a space.

Do you find with the faster (ie more sensitive) cameras, you're ND-ing them a light to maintain control over the lighting set up? There have to be times when in order to create a look on a big space, you bring in your HMIs only to have to shut down rather than shoot at f16?
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Old March 1st, 2011, 05:33 PM   #23
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Re: 2k Blonde or 1200wLED?

Have yet to experience anything like that. I rarely find myself at overt stops. More likely I can opt to rate the camera lower (i.e. DSLR at ISO 160, or standard camera at -3db gain) if necessary, but rarely add ND.

A lot of this has to do with how one uses and configures the light. If you think about having an exposure at f2.8 with a 650 into a Chimera, then obviously swapping out the 650 with a 6K is going to result in a very hot exposure. In that instance, I wouldn't use such a big light. Where I use them is for a different type of setup, where the unit is bouncing into a large fill, working in a book light (bounce combined with diffusion), or several other methods of creating a large source that result in a very directionless, uniform source, but require progressively more wattage to achieve. So the stop may end up being the same, it's just that you have pushed the light through various layers and it loses punch along the way. Even when it comes to bounces; there's a very different quality when you bounce into show card, foamcore, ultrabounce etc. vs bleached muslin, but you lose a lot more output with the mus.

It should be indicated that the goal of this is not to blanket the set in soft even light--said sources can often be notably directional, they don't have to come from behind or near camera. Natural light tends to wrap around a subject rather than have the clearly definable sourciness of a chimera or diffusion on light. Even a large fluorescent does not have the same look. It's not always desirable or required, it's a choice.

In the instance I described above, I had ND9 on the many windows of the location and needed to balance to the results. To get my interior up to where I needed it but still provide a nice directionless, ambient feel took a 4K shooting into a series of bounces set up in a way that I can't describe as it is a trade secret! And to provide the look of daylight streaming in the windows, I needed 18K's from the exterior because the ND was robbing them of 3 stops of light (making them effectively 2500's.)

With all of this, we were probably shooting at 320 ISO at a f4 on the 5D.
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 03:03 AM   #24
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Re: 2k Blonde or 1200wLED?

As luck would have it, the spot described in my post above has just gone to air, so I'm now clear to show it on my site:

HSN promo
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 10:59 AM   #25
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Re: 2k Blonde or 1200wLED?

Charles how much of the look of the HSN job was achieved in post?
It looks so clean, bright and colourful, I can't get that kind of result with my EX1, even with a decent gaffer and kit.

Cheers, Duncan.
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 11:16 AM   #26
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Re: 2k Blonde or 1200wLED?

Almost none, Duncan. Color correction was very minimal from what I saw, just a few power windows here and there. Many shots were all but untouched (I wasn't involved, but I saw the rough cuts with camera originals).

We had a few shots in there from a Sony 700 we were using as B-cam but to me they stuck out significantly--just had a much more "video" look to them--I think the detail may have been cranked.

Art direction and wardrobe is always critical, and the locations and models were great. And the 5D added a lot. After that, I think I have to take credit for the look! While it is mostly a naturalistic (although high-key and pop-py) feel, as described earlier there's a lot going on under the hood lighting-wise to achieve that.

Sadly folks, I have just learned that the spots are not live yet so I have to pull this one off my site for a few days. I'll repost when it's back up.
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Old March 7th, 2011, 08:35 PM   #27
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Re: 2k Blonde or 1200wLED?

and the spot is up and running, so the link is back up.

DPhsn
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Old March 8th, 2011, 02:27 AM   #28
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Re: 2k Blonde or 1200wLED?

Charles, nice job. How long did it take to shoot that? As a boutique studio (me and an assistant) it seems like all those setups would take me days - with a full crew like you I would think it would take an eternity?

I doubt you would share this, but would you ballpark an overall budget on a spot like that?
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Old March 8th, 2011, 03:05 AM   #29
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Re: 2k Blonde or 1200wLED?

Hi Mike:

Thanks! However--are you suggesting that with a full crew it would take longer to get the same results than a two person crew?! that seems a bit whimsical...obviously with a full crew we are all working simultaneously to set up each shot (art department arranging the set, electrics doing their thing, grips doing theirs, camera, makeup/hair etc) while with less crew, you can only do one thing at a time and thus it HAS to take longer. We are always working at least one step ahead of ourselves; on the last day I had guys rigging three sets ahead of the one were on. Same thing for art department. There is such a thing as too much crew sometimes, especially on small sets; you can start falling all over each other. But there is a sweet spot of efficiency that makes these things hum. I've done plenty of shoots with small crews, including two man (just did one on Friday) and these days it's usually a frustration for me as I can intuit how much more efficient we could be if had more bodies.

This was a four day shoot, however we netted far more footage than was seen here; the first rollout is a :60 and a :30, and further spots will emerge over the next few months with different shots.

I can't tell you what the total budget was because I wasn't privy to it. Looking at the call sheet, the crew was about 30 strong; creative/management (4), production (3), camera (4), electric (3), grip (3), art department (3), PA's (4), and (1) each script, craft services, locations, animal handler.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 11:10 PM   #30
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Re: 2k Blonde or 1200wLED?

Charles, if it sounded like an insult, it wasn't - I have seen big crews that hum like a well oiled machine. I worked some of these sets early on, but emerged as a one-man-band and carved a niche for myself as such. In the past few years the only big productions I have been on are indy films, where you do as much teaching as you do shooting, and everything takes forever. I should have known that you'd have been with a crew of pros - I have done it and it is slick.

My eyes popped from my head when you said crew of 30. What a dream!
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