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Old August 29th, 2013, 12:19 AM   #1
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Suggestions for least intrusive way to light reception halls after weddings/events?

So I'd like a method to evenly add a lot of light to large dance floors and overall reception areas after my weddings which can sometime be as dark as a cave. As of now I have two comer LED lights that throw some light around but its kind of hard and directional, I'd like something a lot more diffused. I hate to admit it but I'm least experienced in lights, so I'm looking for some help. I've heard something about chinese lantern lights? Also would it be better to shiner powerful lights to the ceiling for bounce effect? When its *really* dark in a reception, I notice that the lights I have suddenly seem incredibly bright and blinding for guests when they are pointing down to a dance floor off a stand.

Thanks so much!
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Old August 29th, 2013, 10:28 AM   #2
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Re: Suggestions for least intrusive way to light reception halls after weddings/event

Unfortunately, if you want a soft source, it's going to be a large source. If it needs to be large and soft, then you're talking about lots of power as well. You can't get around physics.

Lighting the ceiling is a sure fire way to piss off any wedding coordinator, DJ, guests and facility coordinator. You'll get a soft, directionless light, but it will look like a cheap wedding hall that left it's overheads on. Talk about a great way to destroy your ambience. Why not use that hard light to your advantage as a back light, or rim light, then throw up another hard source as a key? You'll find lot's of creative shooters using flare to their advantage by shooting into the light.

I try to impress upon my potential clients the power of a professionally lit wedding venue. Don't make this your job unless you want to futz with lights, stands, cables, and gaff tape. Oftentimes, a cheap yet beautiful solution is a gobo projected onto the dance floor. It could be a monogram or abstract pattern, but it adds a dappled light that looks beautiful on video (just add a bit of fill for the faces). DJ's sometimes offer these for as little as $200. Uplights are also helpful in adding visual depth to a typically dark venue.
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Old August 29th, 2013, 11:29 AM   #3
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Re: Suggestions for least intrusive way to light reception halls after weddings/event

Lighting a dance floor, especially a dark one, is not an easy undertaking. There are really 3 methods in my opinion and the easiest and least expensive is telling the maitre D to brighten up the scene with the dimmer switches on the wall. If that is not possible, then I am left with 2 options. Halogen filaments or LEDS. The halogens are the least expensive and produce the most light. On an average dance floor ( say 40ft X 40ft) , 2 750 watters bounced off the ceiling will usually do BUT, there are a few factors to consider. The ceiling height and the ceiling color. If the height is too high , then there may not be enough light reflected to do the job, in that case to avoid blinding the guests, use an umbrella and bounce off of that, giving a nice wide coverage. Would have been easier for the maitre D to comply, after all it's their electricity just the same.
Led's can also be used in umbrella bounce mode but would require really powerful ones to do it. Think of something like 4 panels on each corner. Just watch out for the cabling on the floor if using AC off the wall.
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Old September 2nd, 2013, 11:28 AM   #4
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Re: Suggestions for least intrusive way to light reception halls after weddings/event

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oren Arieli View Post

Lighting the ceiling is a sure fire way to piss off any wedding coordinator, DJ, guests and facility coordinator. .
Yep - and I've done that a couple of times to convince them to leave the dimmer switch alone!
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Old September 5th, 2013, 10:45 AM   #5
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Re: Suggestions for least intrusive way to light reception halls after weddings/event

Yes, we all want that candle lit moody dark atmosphere that the coordinator, DJ and facility people want. The lighting level is in the Twilight Zone. Just enough to see people moving around but not enough to read the menu, But the mood is for the cavemen, the creatures of the night, perfect low level lighting that hides wrinkles and imperfect complexions. Perfect atmosphere for the DJ that can wreak havoc with his green and red lasers, spots, twirling light beams and strobes. That is exactly what the DJ ordered. But when the couple comes back from the honeymoon and complains of haw dark and grainy the video is on her mega size telly, then who is to blame ? The wedding coordinator ? The facility person ? the DJ ? Nooooo, it is the person behind the camera that allowed himself to accept the dark environment thinking his ultra low lux camera will save the day. When the light level is lower than my comfortable zone, I politely tell the couple that they will get a dark and grainy video as a result of not brightening up the scene a bit. They are given that option so that later on I can tell them I told you so.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 11:28 AM   #6
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Re: Suggestions for least intrusive way to light reception halls after weddings/event

Why wait until after the wedding (or during the wedding at the whim of the event coordinator's lighting lackey) to inform the bride and groom about the need for, and the beauty of, a properly lit venue. It's in my contract in black and white "client has been informed that a properly exposed video requires a certain amount of light that isn't often under our complete control." In the meeting stage, I'll stress the importance of a well-lit venue, going so far as to show them a demo from a professionally lit (upscale) wedding to a dark hall. Guess which one the brides always prefer?
I don't want to start futzing with uplights, umbrellas and softboxes on the day of. If I have a 2nd shooter, they are also busy. I'll keep a spotlight and light stand handy, but it's really more of a last resort than a first option for me. Then again, the FS-100 has been so much more helpful in this regard than the older light-sucking XH-A1 and it's horrid gain.
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Old September 16th, 2013, 01:13 PM   #7
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Re: Suggestions for least intrusive way to light reception halls after weddings/event

Instead of more light, how about moving to shooting with cameras that do better in low light?
Less gear to haul is one benefit.
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