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Old September 2nd, 2011, 04:43 AM   #1
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Lighting in a hospital room: a few questions...

Hi,
I've got a project coming up that's gonna require doing some interviews in a small hospital room. The number of people to interview is quite large (one at the time though), and the rooms are all different. So I'm trying to put together a kit that's both light/quick to set up and as versatile as possible.
To try and maximize patient/interviewee comfort and also due to the hospital rules here, one of the requirements is that we are able to complete one full interview (open the door, set up, interview, pack up, close the door) in about 30mns.
Also, the amount of equipment we can fit into one of these rooms is limited. Depending on the room, power supply varies from average to almost unusable (0.5A).
To finish with, there's the question of controlling/blocking both room lighting (some of which you can't switch aka emergency exit signs etc) and daylight coming from those huge windows.

So, based on that info, what would you suggest we include in our kit so it allows us to be ready to film in a heartbeat while remaining reasonnably sized (no more than two 60X30X30cm bags) and versatile enough to be adapted to each room characteristics?

I should add that although I'm not a big fan of leds at all, it looks like in this case a small battery operated kit consisting of 3 to 4 units would do the trick. That's Key-Fill-Backlight-Background light.
I'll be using a HMC150 for this project, so a Panasonic D54 style battery compatible Led unit would be ideal.
I've spotted this unit here that's quite popular on Amazon, but the ridiculously low price and lack of real specs are ''Watch out! You get what you pay for'' warnings I can't ignore:
http://www.amazon.com/LED-CN-160-Dimmable-Camcorder-Panasonic/dp/B004TJ6JH6/ref=pd_cp_p_1
I spent hours on these fora to try and compare all led options, but it's all getting a bit overwhelming right now, so I guess I need some proper 121 advice.

I'd be grateful for any thoughts, comments and suggestions.

Edit: I forgot to add that we don't want a harsh look. We're after a dreamy looking, smooth and almost soft focused look and as a result, soft lights would be prefered.

Mikael
En-image Multimedia
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Old September 2nd, 2011, 05:41 AM   #2
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Re: Lighting in a hospital room: a few questions...

I think you are dealing with outdoor and flourescent light already so adding a third color temp will make it hard. Some led units are cheap and cast some off color hues. You may want to consider lights that let you adjust the temperature such as the Lowel Blender. You want to do some test shots and look at it in an nle if at all possible so you don't ruin the whole shoot with bad lighting.

Hopefully you have an assistant. I would think a dolly for your tripod would prove invaluable so it stays setup as you move about the hospital. Ditto a battery powered light on a wheeled stand. Lavaliers are probably difficult so a boom and a sound op will make setup fast.

My two cents

Last edited by Les Wilson; September 2nd, 2011 at 08:00 AM. Reason: typos
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Old September 2nd, 2011, 06:04 AM   #3
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Re: Lighting in a hospital room: a few questions...

Hi Les, and thanx for your reply.

"I think you are dealing with outdoor and flourescent light already so adding a third color temp will make I hard."

The main fluo lights in the rooms are all around 4400 color temp, but can (MUST! :-) be switched off. The windows however are particularly huge, which is nice for the patient, but a nuisance for me, as it's a light source that's gonna change depending on TOD and weather. So I'll need to block the light coming from that, unless my light kit is not powerful enough and I need to use available light (in which case I might have to gel the window_something I'd rather avoid due to the size of it)

I will indeed be working with an assistant (who can hold reflectors and other stuff) and a sound person (so sound is not my concern here)

"Ditto a battery powered light in a stand"
That lowel blender you suggested seem perfect. Pricey at almost 600$ though...
DO you know the light output at 1M? Lowell says 56W equivalent, but that doesn't tell me much...
Also, what's the pattern like?
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Old September 2nd, 2011, 07:59 AM   #4
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Re: Lighting in a hospital room: a few questions...

The Blender made my shortlist but I didn't get it (I go the LEDzilla for it's size and fresnel lens) so I have no experience with it. My point was to look at those LED fixtures that allow easy adjustment versus gels. I'm sure there's reviews out there.

What I found dealing with using sunlight indoors, was that the color temperature varied quite a bit. It was rarely 5200K and sometimes it was 4200K, other times 4800K etc. I would expect you would have that problem in spades as each room may have a different exposure.
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Old September 2nd, 2011, 01:54 PM   #5
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Re: Lighting in a hospital room: a few questions...

Unless you take time to block out those windows, you may be better of using them as a 3/4 side/backlight and balancing the lighting to them. In a small room, I think a rented 575 HMI/softbox combo would serve you well. Doesn't draw much power (5+amps), and can be on a rolling stand to get from room to room.
In the US, almost all hospitals have dedicated circuits on the wall behind the bed for hospital equipment.
You could plug into those when not in use for medical monitors, etc.,or plug into the next room,etc.

Another option would be to block out the windows and use the same fluorescents as the room lights in your own unit. I've used fixtures with 4 2ft. flos for a key in these situations.They can provide just the right amount of modeling and look good when you white balance to them. Also, since they are pretty soft, no additional soft box is necessary. You could always use a sheet of light frost if the individual bulbs are visible in a reflection (glasses, etc.). A battery powered LED kicker could provide some additional separation if needed.

Hope this helps.
Ken
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Old September 3rd, 2011, 08:23 AM   #6
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Re: Lighting in a hospital room: a few questions...

Thanx to both of you for your suggestions.
I'll keep them in mind when doing a test session in the next couple of weeks.

Btw, A HMI is out of the question, as it runs too hot for the patient (something I'd forgotten to mention was redhibitory as far as equipment choice is concerned)
I think I'll try a mixture of small flo fixtures (a couple of dimmable 2X55W bank should be enough for a talking head, whilst remaining small enough to fit in a reasonnably sized bag) as well as a few directional led aparatus used as a kicker for separation, as per Ken's suggestion.
Also, Les, how happy are you with those LedZilla? DO they have a nice distribution whilst keeping a strong enough output to be used within a 1.5 or 2 meters range?
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Old September 3rd, 2011, 09:00 AM   #7
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Re: Lighting in a hospital room: a few questions...

I am happy with the LEDzilla because they were perfect for what I needed... I was traveling more than 25,000 miles to 6 countries and needed something small, lightweight and good on batteries. The unit is well enginneered with built-in barndoors (I never used) and two flip-up filters which I used alot. The LEDzilla is really only useful within 2 meters.

What I didn't like is that it's 56K instead of 52K color temperature. So shooting daylight scenes in the shade or with windows indoors required a drop in the temperature. I glued a 1/4 CTO to the diffusion filter to get 48K. But that drops the light output. So in that way, the Blender that adds light when you mix so it would have been better at the cost of space which, in the end, I did not have. lowel.com has light performance data on the unit here:
Lowel Blender

Also, the LEDzilla is a fresnel so you can adjust the wash from flood to spot. I felt it was nicely even. The Litepanels Sola is another fresnel LED that has a lot more power and I might have gotten it except it was too large and drew more power than my SWIT batteries could provide while also running my camera.

Below is a frame grab off a set that used a window and the LEDZilla at about 1.2 meters from the subject with it out of frame to the right while the window is out of frame to the left. There's a review of the light with some videos that you can find pretty easily with some searches. I think you have to want something small in size to go with the LEDzilla. YMMV
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Old September 3rd, 2011, 07:54 PM   #8
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Re: Lighting in a hospital room: a few questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Wilson View Post
…due to the hospital rules here, one of the requirements is that we are able to complete one full interview (open the door, set up, interview, pack up, close the door) in about 30mns. Also, the amount of equipment we can fit into one of these rooms is limited. Depending on the room, power supply varies from average to almost unusable (0.5A). To finish with, there's the question of controlling/blocking both room lighting (some of which you can't switch aka emergency exit signs etc) and daylight coming from those huge windows.
By your description, it doesn’t sound like you have the time or manpower to black out or gel the windows – so you will have to work with the window light. In that case you are going to need a daylight balanced source with appreciable output. You might want to consider Kino Flo Barfly fixtures. They aren’t much bigger than the 1x1 LED panels, put out a lot more light, can be lamped daylight, draw little power, and offer much better color rendition - especially when it comes to flesh tones which is critical when shooting interviews. A distinct advantage to Kino Flos over LED panels is that their discontinuous color spectrum can be easily corrected with gels, LEDs can not. Which makes Kino Flos, in my opinion, a better key source for documentary interviews because they will render flesh-tones better. Once the green spike of Kino-Flo’s True Match tubes have been corrected by the application of minus green (magenta) gels, the resulting spectral distribution is nearly continuous and contains a greater proportion of the long wave length colors that are so critical to rendering flesh-tones accurately.

As can be seen clearly in the side-by-side comparisons contained in my newsletter article, skin-tones are significantly altered by the steep drop-off of long wavelength colors in LED light sources. Kino-Flo’s high CRI True-Match tubes, on the other hand, contain sufficient light in that critical part of the spectrum to render skin-tones realistically. Once corrected for their green spike, Kino Flo True Match tubes provide a nearly full spectrum source capable of rendering flesh tones realistically. With Phosphor White LEDs, it is nearly impossible to correct for their deficiencies with gels.

Another drawback to LEDs in this situation is that they put out so little light that you won’t be able to waste any to softening it with diffusion. The bare LEDs will not only give you a harsher look with multiple shadows, but will also make your subjects uncomfortable. John Rossetti, a well known DOP in London recently related on the Cinematographer's Mailing List : "It does not matter how many LED's there are in the head, its still a point source, from the talents point of view.... I have had some well known names refuse to be lit by them." The Kino Flo Barflies will not only give you more output, but the quality of the light will be much softer and easier on you subjects eyes.

- Guy Holt, Gaffer, ScreenLight & Grip, Lighting Rental & Sales in Boston.
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