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Old September 10th, 2013, 01:29 PM   #61
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Hi:
I understand that you are setting a standard for the perfect lighting set up using LEDs and your DVD provides excellent instruction in a clear and concise manner. I have watched it several times.

However, it has raised a few questions. The Lite panels bifocus LED panels...the LED spot panels,, are new. No one else has them. Could one not use a Solar ENG in their place. It provides a nice fill as well as a focused beam?

What about the use of a window as a background? It has been suggested to me that a 10 ND gel on the window pane can provide an effective background and would thus negate the necessity of using a Solar 4.

Altogether, I wonder if you could supplement the DVD with some advise for cutting a few corners, equipment wise, by using the natural environment such as windows and hallways.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 06:03 AM   #62
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Hi Tim,

I'm not sure what you mean when you say: "The Lite panels bifocus LED panels...the LED spot panels,, are new. No one else has them." The bi-focus Litepanels 1x1 lights are not new and you should be find them at various retailers. But it doens't really matter anyway because I have never suggested anyone buy those lights -- so I'm not going to defend them against other types of lights. I really see no need for a bi-focus 1x1 panel in a typical light kit. But to answer your bigger question, no, a Sola ENG could not take the place of any 1x1 panel. They are two totally different types of lights, with different intensities, and totally different "looks".

And if you think gelling windows is a good alternative to having the proper lighting equipment, then you must not be very busy. Do know how much time it takes to gel windows and how much that stuff costs? I don't have time for that on a typical shoot. And what about all the other times when you need to blast some light through a cookie, or light up a background, etc. when windows are not even a factor. How are you going to do that with a roll of gel? Think about it.

The good news is that today there are are some newer, less expensive alternatives to the lights I show in my DVD. If I was building my kit today, I would go with a pair of Litepanels 1x1 LS daylight spots instead of the 1x1's I own, and I would use a Luma instead of Croma. But no, I'm not going to supplement my DVD with ways to cut corners because that would go against my core beliefs. Being successful in this business in not about cutting corners and saving a buck here or there on gear. It is about having the right gear and knowing how to use it quickly and efficiently in nearly any situation you are faced with.

I'm not saying everyone needs to have the same lights I use because there are many ways to skin a cat. And depending on what someone shoots (and what client's expect) they might be able to get away with a much smaller kit -- but let's not fool ourselves into thinking they will be able to handle the same situations that someone with a fully equipped light kit will be able to tackle.

And time is money. I want to be fully setup and ready to roll on an interview in 20-30 minutes from the time I have my gear unloaded, and I want to be able to deal with almost any location I'm likely to be faced with without a lot of drama. But if I've got a roll of gel and a couple of under-powered lights, what am I going to do? And even if I find a way to make it work in a given situation, I'm probably not going to be ready to roll in 30 minutes. And how often am I going to find myself under-gunned and under-powered for what I really need? ALL THE TIME.

Before you start cutting corners, look at it his way: Unless someone is a hobbyist, this is their profession and they need to have professional tools that will get the job done right, get it done quickly and efficiently, use equipment that looks professional to clients and colleagues, and hold up to the rigors of production for 5-10 years.

When you amortize the cost of a nice light kit that fits the needs I have just outlined, it's really not that expensive. Let's say my kit costs $6000, even thought it's not really that much. But let's just say that it is. If that kit serves me for just 5 years (it's already going on 3) that works out to $100/month. That is nothing!!! And in reality that kit will probably serve me for closer to 10 years, so do the math. In fact I have a lot of gear that I still use that is over 15 years old.

Show me the professional who can't justify that kind of investment, and I'll show you someone who should start looking for another occupation. Going LED has cut the amount of gear I need to haul around by at least 30%. It allows me to work faster than ever before. It allows be to incorporate daylight and windows into my shots that I never could do with tungsten. I don't have to worrry about blown bulbs. Talent and crew stay nice and cool. I can run everything off of batteries. And I my setup time is faster than ever. All without sacrificing any quality in the shots

So if you want to talk about cutting corners, you've asked the wrong guy. :-)

How to Set up and Shoot Awesome Interviews with LED Lights

Doug
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Old September 11th, 2013, 10:23 AM   #63
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Doug,

Thank you for that reply. Most of what you just said applies to EVERYTHING we do, not just lighting. I completely understand that people have to deal with budgets, but I believe what you said: that as professionals we should have and use professional tools to be able to get the job done correctly, quickly and effectively. What you sort of implied but did not say outright, is that we also need to charge a professional rate to support having those tools. I know I'm just an old fart, but I have been around long enough to see this self-destructing race to the bottom that the video (and audio) business has been in for so long. Yes, the cost of pro gear has certainly come down over the years. But I believe we all do ourselves a big disservice when we take jobs for less that what it costs to keep the lights on (in this case literally!). In my position now, I hire outside freelancers to do work and I have had to fight hard with the pennypinchers in the organization to be able to pay a fair professional rate. So not to pile on Tim, who I know is just looking for ways to maximize his profit and get better at his job, but I agree wholeheartedly that cutting corners is not the way to go!
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Old October 6th, 2013, 02:20 PM   #64
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Hi:
Have another question about LED lighting. I am wondering if the endorsement of Litepanel products comes because Litepanels has overcome the problems that I have just read about here:

Any truly color accurate LED panels out there? - Lighting - Cinematography.com

Is this article accurate?

I am sure you are familiar with all this. It seems quite alarming and the facts seem to have been out there quite a while. So I would be interested to know why you still went ahead with your purchases seeing as what you bought may become outdated very quickly by new technology
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