Lighting advice, time to purchase. at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Photon Management

Photon Management
Shine an ever-loving light on you.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old April 12th, 2011, 06:21 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Kern County, Calif
Posts: 53
Lighting advice, time to purchase.

Ive come to a place where I need some advice from those who have the experience. Lighting is the venue Im least familiar with, so I apologize for my ignorance. Im not expecting a cookie-cutter solution, I am hoping for varied advice that I can use to come to my best conclusion on how to proceed.

Were shooting ~18 hours of chroma key in a news room like setup; the talent, my wife, is on a barstool behind a small desktop with a laptop. The studio is our bedroom which is 25x16, the crew consist of my wife and our daughters. - We filmed ~8 hours of practice to allow my wife to become comfortable and to asses where our weaknesses were. The results were great but we know we can do better.

What we are considering is lighting for the chroma-key and an overhead soft-box. All of our existing lights are halogen. How to light the background is one question and another is the overhead soft box. Im sure Im lacking more than just that also. Beginner rules apply; were just about to the end of our budget again (if not already well past it). We are pushing for the best results we can and hoping to do it under $500 no more than $1k for additional lights.

Here is the configuration we have in mind. (the room is actually longer up/down than my sketch).

My best judgment tells me, at this point, these are the lights I need to purchase.
SB001? = pair for light the chroma.
OSB02? = the overhead.


What we have is:
* 600w halogen with a soft box.
* 2x 300w halogen spots (1 umbrella diffuser and both have barn doors).
* 2x 4x4 diffusers
* 2x 4x4 reflectors.
* 8x 250w halogen construction lamps.

Were looking at buying a pair of 500w tungsten soft boxes for the chroma and 250w tungsten for the over-head light.
* Is tungsten, florescent, or halogen the best for lighting the chroma?
* Should the chroma be better lit than the talent? (how much power on the chroma?)
* Is tungsten, florescent, or halogen the best for the overhead lighting on the talent?
* How much power do I want coming down on the talent from above?


If there is any other major mistake Im making I would love to know. I hope to do the best I can even if that means I've got it all wrong right now..

Thanks for any input, Mark.
Mark Wheelan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 13th, 2011, 03:51 PM   #2
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,076
Re: Lighting advice, time to purchase.

Is renting lights an option?

How ghetto do you want to get? How handy are you at building stuff?

How good do you want it to look? How does it look now?

Why greenscreen and not a real background.
Mike Watson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 13th, 2011, 09:30 PM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Forest Acres, SC
Posts: 48
Re: Lighting advice, time to purchase.

I have a few basic questions, or observations that might help.

First, Using a broadlight directly overhead is not a conventional, nor very flattering method of lighting. It produces deep/dark eye sockets and gives the face a very rounded look. The shadows around the neck can also be a problem. I'd suggest a more traditional 3point approach (key, fill, rim). This, of course, requires more lights but it will make a huge difference in the look of your final product but it looks like you have some fixtures that could do the job.

Another thing that your doing is multicamera on a greenscreen. It's not that it's wrong, it's just not done very much except on virtual news sets that have live switching. If the talent is addressing one of the cameras directly, cutting to the other camera will be odd unless she turns to that camera and addresses it also. If she does that, you might as well shoot it single camera - which is much simpler on a greenscreen shoot as you will read next.

Good chromakey requires a rather long room because you need to physically separate the talent form the greenscreen (or blue). Too close and you will get spill falling on the talent, Not good. Unless you have a very wide backdrop you will need to have the camera some distance from the talent so you don't shoot off the backdrop. You could always mask that part off in post, but it's best to fill the frame with green.

The single most important thing to remember is to light the backdrop evenly and with consistent color. The 8 hardware store fixtures you have will work, but they might have drastically different color temps. They will most certainly have horrible spread, which is the smoothness of the pattern of light across it's pattern. Using a strong diffusion gel on each light will be necessary. I would also recommend using 1/2 Plusgreen correction gel along with the diffusion. Since the hardware store lights don't have barndoors or gel frames, you'll need to use your creativity to attach the gels. Make sure you don't get any of the spill from these lights on your subject. Use flags, black cloth, or foam board to block the spill.

Lastly, it helps to rim light your subject with a slightly warmer light (tungsten will work). This helps to define the transition between hard to key thing like hair and it reduces areas that may reflect the greenscreen (shiny skin for example).

I hope this helps.
Will Salley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 13th, 2011, 10:02 PM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,076
Re: Lighting advice, time to purchase.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Wheelan View Post
What we have is:
* 600w halogen with a soft box.
* 2x 300w halogen spots (1 umbrella diffuser and both have barn doors).
* 2x 4x4 diffusers
* 2x 4x4 reflectors.
* 8x 250w halogen construction lamps.

Were looking at buying a pair of 500w tungsten soft boxes for the chroma and 250w tungsten for the over-head light.
My math says that right now you're running 3200 watts, and after your proposed purchase you'd be running 4450 watts. In the states, a standard 15A circuit should run 1440 watts, so you'd need to spread these lights out on at least 3 (perhaps 4) different circuits.

I earlier asked "How ghetto" and "how handy", but assuming the answers are "pretty ghetto" and "pretty handy", I'd take three shop lights, one on each side vertically, and one above, horizontally, illuminating the greenscreen. I'd use the halogen with the softbox as a key, and a halogen with barndoors as a back, with a 4x4 reflector as a fill.

The aforementioned advice about plus green gels for the keywall lights and something warm for the talent is good advice.

I think this would get you "wow, that looks pretty pro!" comments from your friends. If you want "NBC Nightly News" quality, we can get there, but not in your bedroom and not from home depot.
Mike Watson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 14th, 2011, 06:54 AM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Boca Raton, FL
Posts: 2,979
Re: Lighting advice, time to purchase.

Some information that may be helpful:
YouTube - Walter Graff teaches greenscreen lighting

Green/Blue Screen Tutorial
Les Wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 15th, 2011, 12:25 AM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: San Jose, California
Posts: 858
Re: Lighting advice, time to purchase.

For the issues of heat generation, cost and power usage, I would suggest going almost entirely fluorescent. You can build DIY rigs on the cheap (for reference, I recommend Jay Holben's book "A Shot in the Dark") http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_10?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=jay+holben&sprefix=jay+holbenHe not only covers lighting theory, but also how to put together a decent DIY lighting rig on the cheap. Make sure to research your bulbs though. You'll want the best quality matched set you can find (most likely in the 3200K range). Buy enough extra bulbs so that you're not mis-matched when the time comes to replace a light. Pick up a bit of minus green (magenta) filtration so that any spill hitting your subject will be easier to key out. Tungsten might still be the best bet for your hairlight. I use the Prolight 250w with a snoot.
Oren Arieli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 15th, 2011, 01:11 AM   #7
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,076
Re: Lighting advice, time to purchase.

Do you ever feel like we come in here to give each other advice that we already know, and then the OP never returns?
Mike Watson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 15th, 2011, 01:20 AM   #8
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 172
Re: Lighting advice, time to purchase.

Oren mentioned heat generation.
Hot lights = hot room = unhappy, hot, shiny talent.
Maybe if you have heavy duty air conditioning you would be able to keep that room cool (enough), but I somehow doubt it. Especially if your 18 hours of shooting includes some sessions that are many hours long. Might be worth considering some lights that run cool and also get the benefit of low power draw.

(Mike -- yes, often!)
Keith Dobie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 15th, 2011, 05:38 PM   #9
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Kern County, Calif
Posts: 53
Re: Lighting advice, time to purchase.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
Do you ever feel like we come in here to give each other advice that we already know, and then the OP never returns?
Ha! We were reading last night before your post. Sorry for not responding, there was a lot discussion and information to digest and asses. Our schedule allows us to work on this in evenings and weekends when we don't have family business going on. (proud vanity: we have 2 daughters going to the California state science fair. Last year only one daughter was eligible, she brought home 2nd place).

We were doing audio test with the new mic set-up the last 2 nights. Wednesday we were here at home and out at the university last night.

In general we're trying to get above the ghetto level. We're at the chroma-key stage but we have ~8- hours of on location and interviews in several states, that comes this summer. For the interviews its important that we at least look like we know what we're doing.

From what we are reading, we're targeting a
decent pair of fluorescent soft-boxes
and a small roll of 1/2 +green gels to cover the chroma. Also some warming gels for the talent. Our thinking is that we can use the soft boxes for interviews and on location where we'll need to back the lights out further. (as opposed the const. lights). -- Any recommendation on warming gel colors for halogens on a fair complexion? (Irish). -- We plan on purchasing "xxxx" on Sunday before B&H closes for the week.

The room is 25', the talent is 10' off the 6x9 chroma key. The camera is ~12' from the talent, we can get the feet of the bar stool in the shot if we decide to (we're still trying to figure out if we want that).

I have additional 2 x 30A electrical circuits I wired in years ago when I used to run SETI on 16 PC's.

The 2nd camera on the chroma key is only for the last 2-4 minutes of each +40 min. segment, the lecture closing. (LANC controlled). The 2nd and 3rd camera will be more important this summer.



About the project.

The project is a postgrad psych class and is somewhat of an experiment, it began as something else. In short; the university got involved and they negotiated approval for the online curriculum which has traditionally only been accepted in actual classroom hours. As part of the approval agreement there is a time schedule that's ~6 months sooner than we originally planned.

Our decision to use the green screen is a combination of time and money. or lack thereof. The content is massive with tons of text and reference, and to a lesser extent graphics and inserted scenes. We also believe we can integrate some discrete learning techniques in an artistic manner to keep from being deathly boring as well.

We are the producers and it's all risk for us at this point. Our original plan was more of a nickle-dime project for CEU's, but now it's something considerably larger. Eventually we do plan on creating several CEU's modules for clinical professionals. -- So it makes sense for us to work towards that goal.

Over the last 2 years we have practiced quite a bit to prepare for this. We've shot a few video presentations and event promos for several local non-profits groups (for free). Over the last 8 years I've been shooting many of our kids school related events and producing videos for the school/kids (also for free)

It was just 5 weeks ago that we were informed about the new deadline, since then we purchased; a 3rd camera, two mics and minivan to get all the gear and the family to the locations. -- again, we're already well ahead of our planned budget.

Our gear: A pair of Z5U's+MRC1's, an FX1, a pair of Schoeps CMC641's, Senn MKH-416 & MKH-816T, Sony UMP lavs., x2 Sachtlers and a Lebec. The lights I mentioned above and most of the tid-bits it takes to make it all come together. -- Light are important but they are the one aspect you can fake, so we've left them for last and now we need address the issue. Eventually we plan on building a dedicated studio up at our cabin (where it's very quiet).

DVinfo is my go-to site, I have a Google search specifically for DVinfo on my quick launch bar. I'd say I read here 2-6 hours a month, every purchase we've made was based on what we've learned here, from you. I value the information everyone has contributed here, I've learned more pro-tips than I can count. We are meticulous about the project and have invested over a thousand hours developing it the last TWO years.

I'll add that I appreciate all of you taking your time to post in my thread. I find that most of the questions I have are already answered somewhere, so I've never needed to create a thread before. Admittedly we are a little nervous right now, we are also confident in our abilities.

Last edited by Mark Wheelan; April 15th, 2011 at 07:04 PM.
Mark Wheelan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 18th, 2011, 04:46 AM   #10
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Kern County, Calif
Posts: 53
Re: Lighting advice, time to purchase.

We decided to skip our plans for florescent soft boxes and look further. At this point we're considering a pair of cool light 600 LED's for lighting the green screen.

With the +green LED light, that may help illuminate the background chroma. By putting some -green on the rim might help to bring out the talent ....provided we keep our distance and not allow our light to blend.

We may be wrong on this but we'd like to go with 5600k LED's background lights behind our tungsten lit talent. If it works as we hope (5600k chroma lighting/ ~3400k talent lighting. WB on the talent.), it will help us to make the full transition to 5600k lighting on the next round of purchases.

(I'm still grasping the nomenclature for lighting)
Mark Wheelan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 18th, 2011, 04:48 AM   #11
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Kern County, Calif
Posts: 53
Re: Lighting advice, time to purchase.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Dobie View Post
Oren mentioned heat generation.
Hot lights = hot room = unhappy, hot, shiny talent.
Kern County get's HOT enough without benefit of video lights in the summer.
Mark Wheelan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 18th, 2011, 10:29 PM   #12
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,076
Re: Lighting advice, time to purchase.

I can think of nothing better to light a greenscreen than 4' fluorescents. LEDs are soft, but soft like 1000 tiny spotlights put together.

I am still in favor of 4' kino-flo style lights - one or two on the top shining down, and one on the left, one on the right.
Mike Watson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 19th, 2011, 04:08 PM   #13
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Kern County, Calif
Posts: 53
Re: Lighting advice, time to purchase.

Thanks for coming back into the thread Mike, Ill make the effort to be more attentive to it.

Florescent may be the way to go but the DIY method sure seems to be a finicky prospect. I am a pretty handy guy but the variables of DIY Flo lighting can be unforgiving from what I gather. The HO ballast are fairly expensive and dimmers even more so. I have found some good things mentioned about the unmatched Phillips TL950 or the BlueMax, which may be affordable for x6 paired fixtures. I guess maybe my inexperience and need to make it work right has me scared. -- Let me add the caveat, that we do plan on making substantial equipment purchases over the next 18months, including proper lights (read: a variety of upper quality lights).

While we may be guilty of consumer seduction by the nifty tech of LEDs, for us they do have several immediate advantages. When we shoot the interviews we will be shooting in doctors offices, hospitals and even in peoples homes. Having a smaller foot-print is certainly better for those shoots, not to mention the logistics of traveling 800 miles in a minivan with 3 kids. Having lights that are ready-to-shoot is important right now, I'd rather be able to focus on the project as opposed to worrying about equipment I built. -- The disadvantage is the LED 85 CRI although they do include corrective gels.

So I guess I would ask you: do you think I can get it to work with 1300w eqiv. LED thru soft-boxes or are you strongly against that idea?


*********

I know I may come across as persnickety, and I wish I was better able to help you help me. We are committed to our path and will be putting everything we can into it over time. Our niche is narrow and specific, our content has value and we want to develop it in the best delivery we can.
Mark Wheelan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 19th, 2011, 04:38 PM   #14
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,076
Re: Lighting advice, time to purchase.

I think I'm confused by the scenario.

For a studio set up in your bedroom involving a greenscreen and a desk on a budget, I would recommend 4' fluorescents in the above mentioned configuration. For a "low/no" budget, I would recommend buying 3x 4' shoplights from home depot and rigging something up ($100ish); for <$1000 budget I would recommend 3x 4' 2bank fluorescents from some off-brand - coollights or cowboy studio or ePhoto or the like; for >$1000 budget I would recommend 3x 4' kinos and probably a ton of other stuff.

For travel, fluorescent tubes travel better than I would have predicted before they came mainstream. 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.

But those two scenarios are pretty far apart.

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?

I initially had the impression that you were trying to pull off something with nothing, but you keep mentioning CRI and the like. Can you really see, with your eyes, the difference between a high CRI and a low CRI? I think a lot of concern is raised by hollywood-level DPs in forums like these about CRI and flicker and ballast (and so on), and while I certainly wouldn't shoot a National Geographic special without the absolute best, I think there are a ton of guys out there (you) who would be well served to order a couple of 500 LED ePhoto specials via Amazon Prime and have a go at it.

In short, I think 4' fluorescents are best to light your green screen. It sounds like you have a ton of lights already, and if you posted a few photos of your setup we could probably give you a few suggestions to make it better with what you've got. All the better if you gave us a $ amount to work with.
Mike Watson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 19th, 2011, 09:15 PM   #15
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Posts: 1,538
Re: Lighting advice, time to purchase.

Mark,

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

I can see you're smart and energetic and have the perfect "can do" attitude, but that combination works best if you have the luxury of TIME to buy gear AND gain the practical experience of using it before you attempt to create content that must stand the test of time. You DON'T want to look at your work in 1 year and feel miserable about it because while the content is fine, your methodology for recording didn't match the goals of the project. And let me clue you in on something.

Every single, solitary working professional here — if you ask them to look back at their work from their first 5 years of doing this— will CRINGE at how amateur they truly where while they were learning.

Travel to a wide range of situations and trying to achieve consistent quality is a LARGE undertaking. It's precisely why 60 minutes or 20/20 even today rely on pros that have BOTH large equipment lists AND the expertise to use the right tool in the proper situation.

Yes, often those pros pull out the same 5 tools and deploy them in close to the same way on many jobs. And if that was as far as it went, you could simply buy the five tools, study their use, and you'd be good to go.

But that's NOT how this actually works. At least not in real-world location video.

Here's why.

Your first 5 shoots in a light-walled modern academic office with no decorating or audio issues might yeild growing confidence and even acceptable results - but your NEXT setup in a dank, booklined cramped and cluttered office might lead to footage that you consider an abject failure. Because that particular situation is BEYOND your skills and equipment to address..

And dozens of things. A window here. Old fluroescent tubes there. Talent with a bald pate. Buzzy AC circuits. Or something as simple as high humidity making the talents faces shinier than usual - ANY and all of these can take a "this gear and what I know about how to use it works just fine" situation and turn it into a "take these back to the truck and bring me the (insert alternate equipment here) situation.

The point is that THIS is what separates the "I can shoot under any conditions" folks, from the "I've taught myself to shoot in THIS situation adequately." folks.

I'm NOT trying to dissuade you. Just make your expectations realistic.

The ONLY path to consistent, repetitive results in this business is knowing how to REACT to differences in the field.

This is what you'll be learning. But signing for the job without the knowledge already on-board is a HUGE risk.

Bite the bullet. Befriend someone who knows how to do this stuff. If they won't drive with you and the family, bite ANOTHER bullet and fly them to your locations. Yes, it's a pain in the ass and may change the profit profile of what you're doing. But it's also the smartest path to avoiding project implosion and eventual failure.

If you're personally NOT what the British call a "lighting cameraman" right now - you need to hire one.

If not, your time and efforts in this has a very low chance of success.

I know it sounds harsh. But it won't when this is all said and done and you're either sitting on a stack of really good content assets upon which to build your services reputation - or you're one of a thousand "do it yourself" video producers with a shelf of aging content that will never generate a return.

If your content is TRUELY worth committing to videotape for others, it's worth doing right.

You can LEARN - or you can DO. But in the arena of single-chance live recording - there's typically a HARSH penalty on anyone who imagines that they can do both at the exact same time.

Honestly, your thread title is in error. Your "time to purchase" was actually about 5 years ago. If you do it now, you'll be ready to go in ANOTHER five years. That's how it really works. Sorry.

My experience, anyway.

Good luck.
__________________
Classroom editing instructor? Check out www.starteditingnow.com
Turnkey editor training content including licensed training footage for classroom use.
Bill Davis is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Photon Management

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:11 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network