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Old September 25th, 2005, 01:46 PM   #1
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Interview Lighting - Suggestions?

I'm interested in buying a set of lights for interviews.

I was thinking of this:
1 Tota-Light 750W into an umbrella for Key
1 Omni-Light 500W into an umbrella for fill
1 Omni-Light 250W for backlight (would I need any diffusion for this?)

How does this setup sound? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old September 25th, 2005, 04:18 PM   #2
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1- What's your budget?

What are your needs? How important is portability and setup speed?
Do you want to use your light kit for anything else?

2- You'll probably want lots of random stuff, like:
Stringers / extension cords - preferably of good guage
Blackwrap
Color correction gels
reflector (can use white foamcore; can cover it with crinkled aluminium foil for higher reflectance; there are portable reflectors like flexifill that are a little more convenient)
black foamcore (white on black foamcore is better as it's white foamcore on one side and black on the other)
Random grip stuff- i.e. clamps to hold the backlight from the ceiling, or from a ceiling fixture or pipe
clothespegs / C-47s
Something to carry all that stuff.

3- If you want to run all three lights at once, you should run them off two different circuits in the location. 1500W will blow a fuse if there is anything else on the same circuit.

If setup speed is important, then that can hurt you because you'll need to run a stringer from a different circuit.

4- Other things you might want to look into:

Fluorescent lights, like the ones described on Walter Graff's website.
http://www.film-and-video.com/broadc...s-30bucks.html

Using soft boxes instead of umbrellas. You can get more control over where the light goes.

Lower power lights. If your camera is sensitive, you don't need that much wattage (unless you want to fight with the sun).
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Old September 25th, 2005, 04:28 PM   #3
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Im on a very, very, tight budget.

I'll really only be using the lights for interviews.
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Old September 25th, 2005, 04:33 PM   #4
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You might want to look at some of the lights from rostronics.com then

Also check out the low budget lighting article stickied at the top here. You may be able to score good lights off eBay or used. *eBay can be sketchy.

2- You can get away with using 2 lights and a reflector. One soft light for key. A hard light for back light. A reflector to bounce the back light for some fill.

A third light can be used to add accents on the background or whatnot.
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Old September 25th, 2005, 05:36 PM   #5
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Whats the most ammount of wattage an average circuit can handle?
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Old September 25th, 2005, 07:25 PM   #6
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North America:
Voltage is 110V.
Fuses are typically 15A or 20A. Assume 15A. They won't blow at exactly 15A because of variation in each fuse.

Wattage = voltage * amperes
So, a circuit can take up to about 1650W.

The rule of thumb is to multiply amps by 100W to give yourself headroom. Things won't almost perform when run at full capacity.

Other appliances are also probably on the circuit, while can make the fuse blow. Multiple rooms may be on the same circuit. You can tell whoever normally works/lives at the location not to plug anything into ___ circuit, but they may forget.

If anyone knows more about this, please chime in.
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Old October 9th, 2005, 08:42 PM   #7
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Some suggestions on lighting and for shooting interviews:

In order to maximize the use and low power output capability of your lighting - shoot in the dark! Do your interview in a location without windows where sunlight will spill in or alternatively do it after the sun goes down. If it can be helped, do not use the regular lighting fixtures from the room while you're conducting the interview and recording ie. overhead florescent lighting, etc.. Other sources of light only mean you need MORE wattage and power for your lights in order to compete with them.

If you must shoot in the day then you'll have to use the sun as your backlight or key and then use reflectors as your other light sources. ie. fill, back, or key.

KEY LIGHT - indoors dark room
500w- 700w diffused through shower curtains or umbrella can be used as your key. Once you have the money getting a soft box would be your best bet but for now the other methods will work just fine. Place the key light 45 degrees off your camera angle and slightly higher then your subject.

FILL LIGHT
For your fill just put a reflector on the other side of your subject to bounce your key back onto your subject as the fill. You can use a Photoflex reflector disc, foam coar or if you really want to go cheap buy one of those car windshield reflectors for $7. It will work just as well and this will give you a nice workable contrast ratio to work with.

BACK LIGHT
Now you've got your key and fill and things are starting to look great. Next you might want a back light or hair light. (This is different from your background light). The back/hair light gives that nice white rim or edge around a person's hair and shoulders. For this simply place the light behind the subject out of frame and aim 45 degrees down. If the subject is sitting in a chair you can actually put the light 4 feet behind them at the same height as their head aimed at the back of their head. This kind of back/hair light is best done with a fresnel (lens focused light) type of light opposed to an open face light the Omni or Tota you mentioned because it is narrow and focused and won't spill all over the place. Also a dimmer on this light is handy so you can vary the intensity of the light and set it just right. Ideally 100w to 150w Arri's or LTM pepper light. If you need to improvise buy a 35watt quartz spot light from home depot and attach to a stand.

BACKGROUND LIGHT
If you've followed this up until now, you've got a great looking subject expect there's only one problem left - the background is completely black! Where's the background? You haven't lit it yet but you have unlimited options for this. You can use a backdrop and light it from behind with almost anything from work lights to a fresnel. You can also light it from the front side using a fresnel and barn doors to create some pattern or shape to the light going on the wall or better yet objects in the background such as a table, plant, etc... Add a colored gel and finally things are starting to look like an interview.

TIPS
When it comes to lighting remember you can always vary the power of the lights be moving them further or closer to your subject, bouncing them more or less onto reflector sources or also by using scrims.

The most important thing to consider when buying lighting is really know what each one will be used for and how it will be controlled.

In summary:

- SOFT KEY LIGHT: 750 to 1000watt softbox, umbrella or shower curtains
- FILL: Reflector
- BACK LIGHT: 100w to 200watt fresnel with dimmer, or 35watt quartz work light close to subject
- BACKGROUND LIGHT: Fresnel 300w suggested or other spot type of lighting

Hope this helps.
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Old October 10th, 2005, 12:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan
North America:
Voltage is 110V.
Fuses are typically 15A or 20A. Assume 15A. They won't blow at exactly 15A because of variation in each fuse.

Wattage = voltage * amperes
So, a circuit can take up to about 1650W.

The rule of thumb is to multiply amps by 100W to give yourself headroom. Things won't almost perform when run at full capacity.

Other appliances are also probably on the circuit, while can make the fuse blow. Multiple rooms may be on the same circuit. You can tell whoever normally works/lives at the location not to plug anything into ___ circuit, but they may forget.



If anyone knows more about this, please chime in.
Glen,

Agree with the math but... Voltage here in the US is 120 VAC. Therefore,

Wattage = voltage(120) * amperes (15) = 1800
So, a circuit can take up to about 1800W.


Usually, any other loads can (and probably should be to prevent unwanted noise) turned off. Running 1500 Watts off a circuit should usually work with "current, (no pun intended) wiring." I would be leary of pulling of 1K watts through older wiring.
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Old October 10th, 2005, 12:49 PM   #9
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Is it 110V, 115V, or 120V? I've seen all three figures quoted for North America.
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Old October 10th, 2005, 01:06 PM   #10
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My mulit-meter shows 120 +/- about .2 VAC when plugged into the wall.
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Old October 10th, 2005, 02:05 PM   #11
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I bought the Britek 1400 Watt Dual Power 3 light Kit from Rostronics for doing interviews and Iím real happy with it. Tom from Rostronics will work with you to put together a kit thatís right for you. Their customer service is outstanding. I substituted a second softbox for the umbrella and got the heavy duty stands. I also got a boom for the backlight and a reflector.

Umbrellas have a lot of spill and are hard to control. A softbox is just much easier to work with. With lighting interviews, less is more. You donít want to blow the talent out with light. If you use a reflector or bounce card for the fill, youíll still have an extra light to light the background using a cookie cut out of foamcore for an interesting contrast. I would use a light you can focus for the backlight this way you can pinpoint where the light goes (not an Omni. Get a Lowel ProLight instead). Also get barndoors so you have more control over spill.

Lowels are great lights and will last a lifetime. I could never tell someone not to buy Lowels if they can afford them. If you are on a tight, tight budget as you say, youíll get more lights for your money with the Briteks.

~jr
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Last edited by John Rofrano; October 11th, 2005 at 11:50 AM.
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Old October 10th, 2005, 07:19 PM   #12
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JohnnyRoy: I find the barndoors on Lowell lights will eventually get flimsy when under heavy use.

At Ryerson University, they have the Lowell 250W lights there (open face pro lights I think) and they get abused a lot. They have some Arri lights which are in better shape, but it may be an unfair comparison because they dont get used as much.

I like the compact size though. That light would certainly make a good light for back light and background lighting.
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Old October 11th, 2005, 12:11 PM   #13
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Glenn, I havenít used the Briteks enough to know how they will hold up either but you point is well taken.

Andrew, Also if you are new to lighting interviews, you might want to get Walter Graffís training DVD Vignette Lighting Series: The Headshot. Itís $24 well spent and will show you a setup with just an Omni, ProLight, a reflector, and a back light. For more in depth training on a variety of lighting techniques (interview, product, board room, podium, green screen, etc.) we have our Light It Right training DVD with Vic Milt. I learned a LOT from Vic on this DVD and the results were very evident on my very next shoot. Heíll show you how to build inexpensive nano-lights and uses them in almost all the shots.

~jr
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Old October 11th, 2005, 12:29 PM   #14
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John that setup sounds extremely familiar to what I described in my post.. except no one has commented. The results are pro if followed - either way best of luck chosing lights and conducting your interview!

Cheers
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Old December 3rd, 2005, 01:39 PM   #15
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hi,
i only have 4x1000w lights, mainly for music videos. If i wanted to create natural lighting effects am i right in assuming I'll need some lower wattage lamps? Also what benefit does an umbrella give you?
Thanks
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