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Old January 20th, 2006, 09:54 AM   #1
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8ft ceiling lighting tips????

Ive heard that just aiming your lights at the ceiling (in 8' or less ceiling hieght) to get an even, and soft light is the way to go. I've been trying this with my home depot work lights and have been getting fair (at best) results and this is with the "regular household lights" on too. It's a white ceiling but the reflection could be better. Should I put tin foil on the cieling. Does anyone have any experience or suggestions for this type of lighting. The main reason I want this lighting technique is to hide the lights and just "aim up" and be able to shoot in all directions of the room without revealing lighting efforts on the footage and get decent lighting results. Am I asking for too much?
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Old January 20th, 2006, 01:26 PM   #2
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Bouncing light off a low ceiling (I'd call 8 feet "low" for lighting, though it's a common residential height) can be difficult for anything other than still photos.

For a natural, soft look, you need to illuminate as large an area of ceiling as possible, so a fairly broad chunk of light will be needed on the ceiling; this usually means positioning light low enough to spread. Which makes it hard to (a) not shoot the actual lamp, and (b) deal with spill from the sides of the lamp. Often you'll get better results from several smaller lights, aimed to flood more of the ceiling. Of course, with an 8' height, it's hard to avoid the actual ceiling in a shot (which would generally be blown-out on tape or film, or at the least look pretty unnatural).

Often a combination of judicious ceiling bounce, re-lamping existing fixtures with the highest wattage they'll safely take, and scrims are called for.

To add more light, you can also try lights outside windows, with sheer fabric over the exterior window opening... only good if the "view" isn't needed (and you usually need sheer curtains to sell this).

One of the best soft lights you can use is making a 4-5 foot boom out of pipe, conduit, etc. and mounting it to a c-stand, and clamping a sheer fabric to it so you get something like a 4' wide x 8' high scrim, and light this from behind. If you cheat the light more to the top, the light will fall fairly naturally.

Natural interior lighting can be really tough; if you're mixing techniques as above (with existing light as well) I recommend bringing a pocket digital camera, set for the same color balance as your video cam. It's a quick way to see how a CCD will handle lighting levels and color temps. It won't be spot-on, but will get you very close. Good luck... it can be frustrating, but getting a pretty, natural-look is dang satisfying (and will impress your peers to no end!)
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Old January 20th, 2006, 03:53 PM   #3
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Polecats are handy to get lights above your subject. Hanging Kinoflos from them can give a reasonably soft light despite the tight headroom. It should still leave a foot or so above your actors.

Bouncing lights off the roof gives you little control but raises the overall light level.
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Old January 20th, 2006, 05:26 PM   #4
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Im not sure what a polecat is.(well actually it's a skunk in Kentucky, LOL) and I'm also not sure what a Kinoflos is either. Could you please elaborate Mike. Thanks so much.
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