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Old April 20th, 2011, 12:46 AM   #16
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Re: Lighting advice, time to purchase.

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Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
I think I'm confused by the scenario.
Yes sir, it is confusing and overwhelming to me as well. The mainstay of the project is going to be filmed in chroma-key in a makeshift studio. We also have a number of interviews and two people discussions to filmed on-location(s). We have spent have a considerable amount of money on quality audio and video equipment. We skimped on lights because we could fake the lighting (surprise) and we didn't really know what we were lighting for until recently.

As we prepare to begin filming for real, we need to find a versatile method of lighting that will accomplish the task on a budget and yet not be completely hokey-dokey. $1k is great but $1,500 not out of the question. Over the next 2 years we expect to reasonably spend $4k-7k on lighting (including a meter).

What we currently have for lights is cheap. A Britek 650w spot, a pair of 300w floods, 2ea of 4x4 reflectors and diffusers. It's not much but it will get us our first project. We already plan on re-shooting the entire thing in <2 years once we have more resources for a better production value.

We have another project on the same scale that we will begin developing once this project is finished. We should have our first Arri's by the time we shoot it.


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Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
For a studio set up in your bedroom involving a greenscreen....
You seem to believe in flo's for this purpose and you're right; all the chatter from DP's about CRI and flicker does worry me, listening to the pros saves me headache.

If you're confident then I may give the flo's a shot. I can certainly afford to purchase 4' doubles with some of the better standard flo lights available. (in fact I believe have some hospital grade fixtures in my garage rafters, still boxed)



Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
For travel, ....LEDs in my experience (about a year) travel EXTREMELY well, they are very lightweight, hard to FUBAR, low energy. The color is okay, about as okay as fluorescents. I think LEDs would make hotspots on your greenscreen that could potentially be overcome, but it's not something I would assign to someone with little/no knowledge about lighting on a strict budget 800 miles from home in a doctor's office with 3 kids.
On location we aren't planning on using chroma, although we don't know where we're going to film. We only have commitments for people to film with us. When filming with professional clinicians it is important for us be competent, or at least appear so. We really don't want to carry in a truck load of equipment and string power cords around a psych ward or someones home. The construction lights are out of the question.

Being able to travel is important to us personally and professionally. Normally we like to travel as a family, the last 2 year all the vacations have been 'for purpose trips.'



Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
There is an adage in business that you can pick 2 of three: time, quality, good. Can you give me an idea of where you sit on these three?
We want quality and creativity, time is something I can afford generally speaking. The time frame for this project has been shortened but we have several months to get it finished. Editing is my strength.


At this point we are convinced we can work with the improvised flo's on the chroma, I can use masking as my fall back on that. We are also going to look at buying a few LED's to help us with the talent, which probably more important. I think we are going to go with some combination of the CL-LED60056S and CL-LED25656S cool lights. There is some love about the cool lights we can't ignore.

You have certainly given us much to think about Mike, that's what we were hoping for. I'm feeling more confident about the lighting at this point.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 01:55 AM   #17
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Re: Lighting advice, time to purchase.

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Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
Mark,

In all honesty, reading back over this thread, I think you're in pretty far over your head....

Good luck.
I couldn't agree with you more Bill, it became something very large, very fast. And of course, that is what prompted my inquiry, and I would like to thank you for taking time to really consider my situation as you have, and to respond frankly from your experience. You mentioned reading the thread over, thinking back on your own development as a professional, and I appreciate what you have said about my strengths as well as the difficulties of getting it right given my current situation. It is a truly humbling aspect of life as any sort of artist, that an enduring record exists of every learning experience -- and when my wife first discussed the idea of doing a video version of her courses with the university, she got a terrible case of cold feet. She didn't want to do it at all because she feared she'd make mistakes and they would be recorded eternally for all time. Finally I had to look her in the eye and say: "Get over it." In the end, sometimes the 'perfect' can be the enemy of the good. I realize I am going to make mistakes, but I can't be afraid to make them. Otherwise, I won't be able to learn anything at all. And fortunately I've got captive talent. ;)

What is so valuable about the project we'll be doing is the years of clinical experience and research involved, and any production value is just 'gravy.'

Again, I appreciate what you had to say, and take it to heart. We will strive harder to make the best production we can. Thank you, Bill.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 03:06 AM   #18
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Re: Lighting advice, time to purchase.

Frankly I'm interested to hear what others have to say about my idea of the 4' doubles on three (or four) sides lighting the keywall. I personally can't think of a better way on a budget.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 09:55 AM   #19
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Re: Lighting advice, time to purchase.

A 6x9 greenscreen is small enough that two 4' four bank flos will provide enough coverage (probably, two bank flos would get the job done also). I don't see a need to have to rig one to come in from the top. And if it will be a greenscreen, there won't be a problem with using household i.e. non color corrected fluorescents. I would place the flo's a good 6 feet away from the greenscreen to provide even coverage. If the intention is to use the screen in a vertical configuration with some of the length as a floor cove (if you are considering seeing the base of the stool, you will need the green to continue forward and under the stool), it will start to get more complicated and more units may be required to help fill in the variations as the material changes angle. That said, chromakey software is far more sophisticated than it used to be and it's pretty easy to feather the key from a background that has a certain amount of inconsistency, if necessary. And of course, only the green that surrounds the subject/desk in the frame needs to be correct, the rest can be removed via garbage matte if necessary.

Lighting the greenscreen is kind of the easy part. Making the subject look top-notch is, as Bill noted, something of a craft. While the standard 3-point lighting is where most people start, there are many other ways to skin this cat depending on what look you want to emulate. Probably the best thing, Mark, is if you had a reference still of an existing "talking head" that represents the look you want to achieve. We very often get questions in this section of DVI along the lines of "how do I light this scene" and the result is 15 people offering completely different opinions, while the reality is that there could be literally hundreds of ways to do it. "Newscaster" is pretty specific but there are more or less glamorous versions of that out there.

While a couple of soft sources acting as key and fill on either side of the camera is the traditional approach, you can also set a large soft key essentially above the camera with a soft fill under the camera, which is a bit more of a fashion look but very flattering. While a lot of folks use hard lights for backlight, to me that is a pretty dated look and I usually prefer a more subtle soft backlight, like a flo or softbox. The exact height/angle to the subject makes a significant difference. The lower it gets, the more of a shiny rim it will create; go higher and it becomes more textural, illuminating and sheening the hair. Too high and it can start to hit the top of the nose.

Well, that's off the top of my head...

BTW, what happens to the bed and other furniture when you are shooting this using the whole length of your bedroom...?!
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Old April 20th, 2011, 07:16 PM   #20
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Re: Lighting advice, time to purchase.

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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
A 6x9 greenscreen is small enough .....
My thoughts are to build a simple wooden frame and line it with double fixtures (8x4' doubles. upper, lower, sides) then put a white foamboard shield/reflector around the circumference to isolate it. 6' off the chroma is doable at the cabin, I would have to jack my frame a few inches but I can do that. I also think it makes sense for me to buy the higher CRI standard bulbs, for future uses. (As I understand you: the bkgnd color doesn't matter since it will be eliminated).

I'm a Vegas guy and the chromakey in it isn't that great. The uni provided me a nice copy of Adobe that has better tools and I've worked with it enough now to get good chroma results. Worse case can I export a pre-keyed file to Vegas. As for matte cutting, I'm not scared to do that.

As much as we would like to get a full body or walking shots, we are aware that we aren't anywhere near there yet. It becomes exponentially more difficult without a large painted stage and lots of dedicated lighting. ...some day though.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Lighting the greenscreen is kind of the easy part. Making the subject look top-notch is, as Bill noted, something of a craft....
True. While it's all science it takes an artists eye to produce something pleasing to look at. In the past we have achieved good looks when we apply ourselves to the task, its not something completely new to us. Our lights are limited. We have the britek halogens and some daylight clamping CFL's we bought a few years ago. One soft-box, an umbrella and several Wescott reflectors. We have some gels and warming filters on our B&H wishlist. We're also deciding what combo of cool-light LED's to get. -- while it's not a dream lighting kit it will afford us options to work with.

I wish I were able be more helpful with what I want Charles. It's difficult for me to look at someone and plan to recreate the look. I study different looks and effects and I have a good eye for hues and colors. My approach is more of "what do I have" and where do I want to go. My wife has a very fair complexion and breaks out with freckles during the summer. What I can tell you is that I want to warm her with a softer relaxed presence. For her complexion we hope to do more with lighting as opposed to heavy make-up. Again, we look forward to trying some gels and seeing what it's like to have some control with the LEDs.

Being able to look at it and knowing exactly what to do may be above our experience, but we understand the methods have the time to adjust and experiment. Having a large monitor will be very helpful to these old eyes, the camera LCD gets pretty small when finer details matter. -- Once we find the look we like, we lock it in.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
While a couple of soft sources acting as key and fill on either side of the camera is the traditional approach, you can also set a large soft key essentially above the camera with a soft fill under the camera, which is a bit more of a fashion look but very flattering. While a lot of folks use hard lights for backlight, to me that is a pretty dated look and I usually prefer a more subtle soft backlight, like a flo or softbox. The exact height/angle to the subject makes a significant difference. The lower it gets, the more of a shiny rim it will create; go higher and it becomes more textural, illuminating and sheening the hair. Too high and it can start to hit the top of the nose.
3 points is our plan, it's good that you offer us something where we can step out of the boundaries a little. We will give it a try and see if we can relax the presence making the 'conversation' easier to digest.


We feel it's important to present with subtle flair, we are trying to escape the usual lecture feel and bring some level of relationship with the speaker. Coming across as dry and boring or uptight and stringent are problems as we see it. Learning comprehension is always better when the students are relaxed and comfortable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
BTW, what happens to the bed and other furniture when you are shooting this using the whole length of your bedroom...?!
Oh boy Charles, that's a sore subject with my wife, literally. The bed and springs stand upwards over the sliding glass doors, the dresser and roll-top didn't move. We (the crew) sit on the love seat next to the camera, using the night stands as a coffee table, marking time and watching for loose clumps of hair attempting to become famous.



A few of our own production notes we've been addressing. Our test shoot was to test the system and see how well it all went together.
The dresser and desk both needed to move, they really limited the movement of the key and fill light. I raised the key light high to gain some distance. You can see the steep angle on the face of the netbook. (not an issue if we film at the cabin).

We found the mic set up below and infront of the talent was greatly effected by her hands. We bought a heavy boomed C-stand system and second MK41 super-cardioid to come from above (+ a lav)

We've been monitoring the camera on a very small display from a mobile DVD player, we now have 27" monitor capable being connected straight to the camera. The larger display is going to pay off for me, my eyes just aren't what they used to be.

We're going to use the 24" monitor as a teleprompter attached to the talents netbook, to keep her face on camera better. She's not reading a script, she just has notes and runs with it.

My wife is an experienced speaker and has done a few dozen voice-overs, this is the first time her delivery has been to the camera, which was uncomfortable for her at first. During the 3nd night she found her groove and really improved her presence and delivery. (She was a nat'l debate champ in college).

I washed out some of the color and depth with the constricted lighting set-up, and the ceiling reflections from the construction lights knocked out my depth from the back.

At this point it makes the most sense to film at the cabin where we have more room and we don't have to worry about competing with the nearby airport.
I believe the home-flo's will increase the value of my chroma. That more control with my talent lights will increase those values as well. Changing the location to the mountains will increase the value of the set. -- All very important issue that improve the total production value.

Bill mentioned the financials of the project; We expect the projects will pay themselves off inside of 2 years but having my wife home on Thursday nights makes it worth all the effort. ;)

I've attached some samples of the chroma results we got. Fast movement chroma ghosting bothers me personally, although it's mostly negligible to most viewers. I have 3 samples where you can see artifacts on her moving hand. 1) fast movement, 2) moderate movement, 3) almost still.
Attached Thumbnails
Lighting advice, time to purchase.-fastchromomotion.png   Lighting advice, time to purchase.-slowchromomotion.png  

Lighting advice, time to purchase.-nochromomotion.png  
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Old April 20th, 2011, 09:16 PM   #21
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Re: Lighting advice, time to purchase.

Looks like you are in good shape Mark, lighting looks natural.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 09:43 PM   #22
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Re: Lighting advice, time to purchase.

I can't say enough about how great is that people like us, who really want to become better, can come here and get input from people who have a passion for creating video. We appreciate all the input we've received and will do our very best to create something worthwhile.
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