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Old June 20th, 2012, 02:12 PM   #1
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Help with lighting for interviews mostly

Hi,

I am trying to get some lighting (I have a small LED to hook up to the camcorder) for some interviews I have coming up, and looking around at lighting I see everything from Lowel RIFA ex to $100 systems on Ebay using those curly type lighbulb.

I know that you get what you pay for, and if you go cheap, then that's what you have. But I do know that from different boards there are lots of people shooting documentaries and interviews who don't have much money and do have lighting, so maybe there is something which is cheaper and semi durable, or cheaper and good as long as you take good care of it.

Main issue here is that I've read the other threads and I can't afford the $1000 units, the Chinese Ebay units are getting awful reviews, DIY I can't do as I have no skills with building anything. Lastly, it appears that a lot of the replies in other threads look for 2 lights.

Most of my interviews will be planned ahead of time allowing for setup time and breakdown time, however I don't think anyone wants to spend hours setting up a light.


BN, Porters, Ebay,

Brands? Household light bulbs, or the ones that you need gloves to put in, LED.

Are there any suggestions you can offer to me please, as I've said in other posts, your opinions mean the world to me, thanks so much.
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Old June 20th, 2012, 04:05 PM   #2
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Re: Help with lighting for interviews mostly

You're getting these things out of proportion. The chinese are not getting awful reviews, they're getting comparative reviews against similar equipment at maybe four time the cost - so of course the build quality isn't so good, you need to test and maybe fix the electrics and all the other complaint areas - BUT, and it's a huge BUT - you get an awful lot for very little - and you can live with these issues, because they're still better the rubbish work lights or bodged up domestic stuff. For interviews you need at least 2, possibly 4. Depending on how you set the interviewees, you can use two keys, with each one being used to help fill the shadows from the other one - then maybe a back light.

I think you need to try to borrow some so you can experiment before you buy anything!
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Old June 20th, 2012, 07:27 PM   #3
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Re: Help with lighting for interviews mostly

For my quick down and dirty interviews I use 2 or 3 of the 160 leds I bought off of Amazon. I set them up in about 2 minutes and set them as needed. On a boom on a stand on camera or any combination. Using the Sony 970 batteries even at full power I get about 3 hours out of them. Again I use these for down in the dirt type interviews. Usually last a few minutes each maybe 4 or 5 in a row then an hour of seminar then a few more interviews. Are they the best No. Do they do the job? Absolutely.
Pretty cheap too.
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Old June 21st, 2012, 06:09 AM   #4
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Re: Help with lighting for interviews mostly

Bob - I use the fluorescent http://www.amazon.com/Stellar-Photo-Video-Compact-Fluorescent/dp/B003MC1QLK?tag=battleforthew-20 for interviews. It's soft, bright, and you can shoot through the middle of it for a single light setup in a pinch. It's better to have two or three, of course, but it's the only light I know of that can make a single light setup look good.

Here's my setup: https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-p...2/P1010176.JPG

Here's the review that convinced me to buy one: Review: Stellar Lighting Diva Ring Light

And here's a video review from Olivia:

Good luck with your decision!

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Old June 21st, 2012, 09:52 AM   #5
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Re: Help with lighting for interviews mostly

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
For my quick down and dirty interviews I use 2 or 3 of the 160 leds I bought off of Amazon. I set them up in about 2 minutes and set them as needed. On a boom on a stand on camera or any combination. Using the Sony 970 batteries even at full power I get about 3 hours out of them. Again I use these for down in the dirt type interviews. Usually last a few minutes each maybe 4 or 5 in a row then an hour of seminar then a few more interviews. Are they the best No. Do they do the job? Absolutely.
Pretty cheap too.
Hi Don,

Do you have a link to the LED's you use or could you tell me the name. I'm interested in getting some very quick to set up lights for run and gun situations.

Thanks
Garrett
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Old June 21st, 2012, 12:20 PM   #6
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Re: Help with lighting for interviews mostly

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Bruner View Post
Bob - I use the fluorescent Diva Ring Light] for interviews.
In my opinion the ring light reflected in her eyes (:07) looks terrible, and would be completely unacceptable in any shows I have worked on.
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Old June 21st, 2012, 04:34 PM   #7
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Re: Help with lighting for interviews mostly

Garrett,
Go to Amazon and search for Neewer. They make a lot of different products for photo/video. All pretty inexpensive and certainly not as good as other stuff out there but I've been using these since the beginning of the year and they've worked out well for me.
The filters that come with aren't as true as I'd like them to be (the "3200 specifically) but with a bit of gel it works out pretty well.
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Old June 21st, 2012, 06:20 PM   #8
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Re: Help with lighting for interviews mostly

Thanks Don,

I'm really just looking for something cheap, gets some light on the subject, sets up quickly, and I don't have to worry if it gets knocked around a bit.

I'll check them out.

Garrett
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Old June 21st, 2012, 09:13 PM   #9
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Re: Help with lighting for interviews mostly

That's exactly why I bought them. Fast setup, cheap, decent throw and small compact to carry.
I even have a remote on one of them (thanks to Chris Harding for a bit of help wiring it-I can stand about 100 feet away and pop it on/off. It makes people crazy)

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Old June 21st, 2012, 10:29 PM   #10
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Re: Help with lighting for interviews mostly

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Fett View Post
...Are there any suggestions you can offer to me please...
Lighting is a journey and you must start it with something. If you keep going, you will end up getting a set of nice lights and the other stuff that goes with it.

But if you just want someone to tell you what to do, here: Get used Lowel lights from ebay to save some money. A RIfa 44 (or bigger if you can afford it. the 44 is only 250w which is low. 500w softbox is better), and two Pro lights (one 120w and the other 250) with barn doors and gel frames is a start. THese are all tungsten indoor lights of the same color temp. Don't mix in LED. They are different color temp. Get a couple dimmers for the Lowel lights at Harbor Freight (they are router controls). Add a case of some kind for the fixtures and some black 3-prong extension cords. You'll need 3 light stands. Air softened are preferable. 8-10 footers (aluminum not steel) should do nicely.

Search here on DVinfo using the terms "lighting kit" an you will find many many threads asking the same things you ask.

Here's an article on lighting kit philosophy I subscribe to: Light Kit

Some great tutorials on lighting are here (especially the on on Chiaroscuro and the Depth of Field myth): Walter Graff - Instruction
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Old June 21st, 2012, 10:31 PM   #11
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Re: Help with lighting for interviews mostly

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
In my opinion the ring light reflected in her eyes (:07) looks terrible, and would be completely unacceptable in any shows I have worked on.
I totally agree.
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Old June 27th, 2012, 10:04 PM   #12
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Re: Help with lighting for interviews mostly

Hi Les,

Thanks for the reply.

I can't afford to start off with 3 lights.

You mentioned don't go with 250W so here are the only 2 EBAY links for 500W

Lowel LC-55EX Rifa-Lite-55 500w 21"x21" | eBay $550

USED Lowel LC-55 Rifa Lite LC55EX LC55 Camera Light 500W | eBay $395

250W Lowel LC-44EX 250W Rifa eX Softbox Light | eBay $340

You get the idea. I wish I could afford more, it's already sad that I feel by the time I get geared up decent, my camera will be obsolete and I won't have enough money to invest in another camera.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Wilson View Post
Lighting is a journey and you must start it with something. If you keep going, you will end up getting a set of nice lights and the other stuff that goes with it.

But if you just want someone to tell you what to do, here: Get used Lowel lights from ebay to save some money. A RIfa 44 (or bigger if you can afford it. the 44 is only 250w which is low. 500w softbox is better), and two Pro lights (one 120w and the other 250) with barn doors and gel frames is a start. THese are all tungsten indoor lights of the same color temp. Don't mix in LED. They are different color temp. Get a couple dimmers for the Lowel lights at Harbor Freight (they are router controls). Add a case of some kind for the fixtures and some black 3-prong extension cords. You'll need 3 light stands. Air softened are preferable. 8-10 footers (aluminum not steel) should do nicely.

Search here on DVinfo using the terms "lighting kit" an you will find many many threads asking the same things you ask.

Here's an article on lighting kit philosophy I subscribe to: Light Kit

Some great tutorials on lighting are here (especially the on on Chiaroscuro and the Depth of Field myth): Walter Graff - Instruction
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Old June 28th, 2012, 07:01 AM   #13
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Re: Help with lighting for interviews mostly

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Fett View Post
...I can't afford to start off with 3 lights....
I suggest starting with a softbox, a dimmer, two stands and a reflector. Mount the reflector on a stand. Add a Pro hair light when you can later. A Rifa 55 will do a lot for you and last. Use the reflector as a fill light.

Lowel Omni lights may be inexpensive on eBay and give you a start as well but untreated give you "hard" light. I have 4 of them. You can add a softbox to them later with something called a speed ring but bottom line is softboxes are not cheap. They are however, the mark of great interview lighting.

The Lowel Tota is an open face fixture that can also be turned into a softbox with a speed ring. Again, not cheap. You end up getting close in price to the Rifa but lack the portability.

All of these hold their value and could be flipped to get some of your money back.
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Old June 28th, 2012, 10:49 AM   #14
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Re: Help with lighting for interviews mostly

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Fett View Post
I can't afford to start off with 3 lights.
If that's the case, then I'd certainly echo Bill's suggestion of the 18" Diva Ring Light, I use one as both key and fill, with a Chinese 700 LED panel for a bit of a back/side light, and for a cheap and simple combo, it really works a charm.

Being cool-running lights, they also don't get your interviewees working up a sweat.
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Old June 29th, 2012, 07:21 PM   #15
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Re: Help with lighting for interviews mostly

I don't want to seem like "that guy" who asks for help and then says that's not good enough.

I'm with the other 2 people who don't like the look of the ring light.

Does anyone from the list have reliable used gear they would like to sell to a noob just getting into the business. I'm in the US, so not sure it would be economical to ship from overseas.

Thanks to all...
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