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Old January 12th, 2012, 06:09 PM   #1
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CoolLights LEDs vs. flos for event with audience

I'm going to be shooting an event that will have two speakers (host and guest) seated, in front of an audience of about 100 and I'm torn between using a couple of CoolLights LED 600s (actually the CoolLights LED 600 and a similar no-name LED) and two fluorescent banks, the CoolLights 655PMD (a 6x 55w flo bank) and a similar no-name 6x 55w flo bank.

I prefer the softness of the flos and they're brighter overall, but they're several times larger than the LEDs and bulky -- a real pain to transport.

The LEDs are a breeze to transport -- just two small bags and you don't have to worry about breaking a bulb, but the light is harsher. (I know I wouldn't want to look at it for 90 minutes even in my periphery.) The LEDs need a 1/4 or 1/2 minus green to knock down the green spike but that's not a big deal. (The CL 600LLED comes with minus green acrylic filters.) I tried a softbox on the CL600 but it really cut down on the output.

I haven't shot talking heads in front of an audience before so I'm looking for opinions from the experienced. Or just strong opinions.

Also, I'd love to use a couple of rim lights on the speakers, which I would normally do in an interview environment, but there aren't usually 100 people behind the camera when I shoot an interview, so I'm concerned about blinding the audience.

Opinions?
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Old January 16th, 2012, 10:13 PM   #2
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Re: CoolLights LEDs vs. flos for event with audience

add some 1/4 diffusion to the LED's. that said, you need to rig them from the ceiling one way or the other. if its a drop ceiling cicsor clips work great.

personally I'd be using more traditional leco's for the job, set on stands against the walls, hung on pipe grid if its there.
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Old January 20th, 2012, 08:12 PM   #3
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Re: CoolLights LEDs vs. flos for event with audience

Steve,

Thanks for the suggestion about the ceiling, but it's a multi-story open space -- ceiling is a good 30' above the speakers and inaccessible. Leaning toward using the flos, but I got some Rosco 3026 tough white diffusion; I'll test that out on the LEDs along with 1/2 or 1/4 minus green.
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Old January 20th, 2012, 09:34 PM   #4
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Re: CoolLights LEDs vs. flos for event with audience

I'm with Steve on this one. Lekos from the back of the house or from the sides...clean light and out of the way of the audience.
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Old January 20th, 2012, 10:05 PM   #5
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Re: CoolLights LEDs vs. flos for event with audience

Every seminar I've done over the last 10 to 15 years has had lekos on a truss or stands at the back of the audience. The best part is how directional you can make them. Takes a bit of time to set them up right but they work like a champ.
Rent them and charge the client.
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Old January 21st, 2012, 04:23 AM   #6
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Re: CoolLights LEDs vs. flos for event with audience

Will the LEDs be bright enough? If there is already light in the space, then you might find they have trouble competing if they're far enough away to be not seen on a wide shot. Like the others, I'd certainly be getting the hot, barn door fitted kit out for this one - high and probably diffused.
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Old January 21st, 2012, 10:44 PM   #7
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Re: CoolLights LEDs vs. flos for event with audience

Hey Greg

I have the same sort of scenario at weddings with speeches and for me fluos do a better job!!! Because I only have one speaker at a lectern, I use a single 8 bulb head with 55W spirals in it BUT I face it away from the talent and bounce into a silver/black umbrella!! This gives really nice overall light and I don't get any complaints about "where are my sunglasses" any more.

Yeah, LED's are more convenient and quicker to setup I must admit but harsher. I have my 8 lamps in little polystrene/cardboard boxes and before the event I just screw them into the head...haven't bust on yet!!!

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Old January 21st, 2012, 11:38 PM   #8
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Re: CoolLights LEDs vs. flos for event with audience

There are many factors unnamed in this scenario which is often the case when lighting advice is asked for here. How wide will the widest shot be, i.e., how close can the lights be to the subject? Where is the camera going to be in the room? What is the ambient light level, if applicable? Is it during the day, and is there mixed light in the ambience already? A diagram would help all of this make the most sense. Without enough information, it's not easy for even the most experienced DP or LD to make recommendations.

That said...the advice on lekos is solid but it sounds like Greg is making a choice between the flos or the LED's. Greg, if you haven't had the opportunity to use lekos (aka Source 4's), they are a fantastic tool for many situations and a staple of my basic lighting package on nearly everything. For this application, they have punch, clean color (tungsten remains the most faithful for skin rendition) and the most controllable beam pattern of any units available, due to the four shutters that cut light with razor precision. Eventually I'm sure there will be LED versions (you can get a very bright daylight version via the Jo-Leko module for the Joker 400 and 800) and, I'm hoping, more continuous spectral versions of LED's...but for now, it's the best way to go in this situation as you can keep the units on the periphery, away from the audience.

Make a sketch of the setup including how close you feel comfortable bringing the lights in without blocking the audience's view, and we can evaluate more from there. Also indicate what camera you will be shooting with as that dictates your required light level.
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Old January 22nd, 2012, 11:49 AM   #9
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Re: CoolLights LEDs vs. flos for event with audience

Thanks to everyone for their interest and advice! This forum is just a trove of information. To respond to recent comments:

Chris, the silver/black umbrella sounds like a good idea, but I don't have one and the event is tomorrow, so no time to implement it. Also my flo banks are pretty large, with 6 x 55w tubes, not a single head, so I don't know if an umbrella, as you describe, would work. I have a pair of 5-head 55w spiral flos in their own silver softboxes with diffusion, but they are *impossible* to transport or even break down easily. They're okay for studio use, though.

Charles, and others, the Lekos sound like a great tool for this event, but this may be the only time I shoot this kind of situation, and there's no budget for renting them. (I'm doing this job pro bono.) Besides, the location is extremely fussy about what they allow into their space so my footprint -- both in terms of space and electrical draw -- has to be as small as possible.

Thanks to all!
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Old January 22nd, 2012, 06:02 PM   #10
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Re: CoolLights LEDs vs. flos for event with audience

Good luck Greg!

Yeah, I used to use the standard 5 spiral bulb heads and a softbox and found that softbox assembly was not only the longest assembly time but also took up huge amounts of space too. It became a chore for me! Using just the head ..I can screw in the spirals and then slip in the umbrella and I'm done and even with a 43" brolly it seems to take up less space and I can have it higher!!

The 55W tubes might be a little bulky if you are expected to stay discrete ...since the gig is upon you, just use what you have!!

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Old March 4th, 2012, 01:59 PM   #11
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Re: CoolLights LEDs vs. flos for event with audience

Thanks agin to all those who posted on this topic. If you're interested in how it turned out with the lights, disparate cameras, etc., I've written up a blog post here: Behind the Production of the Founder Dialogues VII Video | willoughby films

I've asked my share of questions on this forum -- thought it was time to return the favor and maybe share some answers as well.
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