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Old March 31st, 2006, 12:46 AM   #1
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instructional dance dvd lighting suggestions

Hi all. A partner and myself are planning to shoot an instructional dance dvd in a typical dance studio. We're looking for some recommendations for lighting, i.e. three point/four point, continuous tungsten, equipment, etc. I've read on the board that some people have suggested JTL Everlights, Briteks, softboxes, reflectors, c-stands with removable bases, etc. We're thinking about going with 3 JTL Everlights or Briteks that are around 500 watts to 700 watts a piece. Does this sound practical, or is something else in order?

Here are some capture of some lighting setups with gobos. This is the look we are after.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/39299278@N00/120610353/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/39299278@N00/120610354/

If you check some of the pics -- do you guys have any idea of how many ellipsoidal spotlights / lekos were used? How many spotlights can a c-stand hold (have no idea)? Would you guys suggest two to three regular fill lights, gels, etc? Just looking for general guidance, but specifics are welcomed too.

Also, I've found some rental shops (any suggestions around Philadelphia) around my area. However, I don't have any insurance for the equipment, which is the prerequisite for the rental houses. Any recommendations on where to get insurance?

Thanks
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Old March 31st, 2006, 03:19 AM   #2
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Allan,

Good luck on the video... I teach dance sometimes also, and have tossed around the idea of doing this with some of my full-time instructor friends.

You can probably get away with a single gobo light... personally I find the backgrounds like that a little distracting though.

The key is going to be lighting the dancers, which is a very different thing than lighting anything else. Typically on stage dancers are lit with powerful side lights - not at all like lighting actors. The reason - and this works for you too - is that you want to highlight the edges of the legs and arms to show the movement most clearly. In that first photo the dancers are getting lost against the background... with strong side lights from both sides you would see their lines much more clearly. Using the JTL softboxes would be fine as long as you are not moving off their axis more than 5 feet or so.

I like the JTLs a lot, and the cost is great. If you have access to the studio and can shoot many days if you have to, then you really want to buy and not rent...

Anyway, have fun, and let us know how it turns out.
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Integral Arts, IMDB
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Old March 31st, 2006, 12:02 PM   #3
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I very much agree with Barry that "conventions" such as 3-point lighting don't apply. As he mentioned, side sources are frequently used, and are used in the examples, to provide dimensionality.

If you have a sound rental co. in your area that also does lights for small bands, you might find you could do it without insurance if you rent some light stands with four pars aka. par cans on each one. These are so inexpensive (compared to video lights) that they'd probably just need your credit card guarantee.

Fashion show/dance events frequently use these sorts of lights for "side booms", that's what you'd ask for.

But anything goes in dance - you're making art here. Silhouettes. Top lighting. Minimal detail. Whatever supports the mood of the dance.

In the examples, 1-3 lekos were used for the backgrounds, probably as wide as possible such as a 6x9. The pattern was probably in a leko. It might have been one leko and a couple fresnels. You could sub in par cans for the background, but patterns are usually done with a light that focuses such as a leko.
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Old March 31st, 2006, 12:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Gribble
Allan,

Good luck on the video... I teach dance sometimes also, and have tossed around the idea of doing this with some of my full-time instructor friends.

You can probably get away with a single gobo light... personally I find the backgrounds like that a little distracting though.

The key is going to be lighting the dancers, which is a very different thing than lighting anything else. Typically on stage dancers are lit with powerful side lights - not at all like lighting actors. The reason - and this works for you too - is that you want to highlight the edges of the legs and arms to show the movement most clearly. In that first photo the dancers are getting lost against the background... with strong side lights from both sides you would see their lines much more clearly. Using the JTL softboxes would be fine as long as you are not moving off their axis more than 5 feet or so.

I like the JTLs a lot, and the cost is great. If you have access to the studio and can shoot many days if you have to, then you really want to buy and not rent...

Anyway, have fun, and let us know how it turns out.

Hey Barry. What kind of dance(s) do you teach? If there's a market for those dance videos, why not?

I guess you've used the JTL everlights already. If so, what models are you using? (looking for specific light models to use on the shoot). I've duly noted the recommendation to shoot the instructors with side lighting. If we are beyond 5 feet (assuming on the same side axis?), will the light effect be too weak?

Thanks Barry.
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Old March 31st, 2006, 12:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum
I very much agree with Barry that "conventions" such as 3-point lighting don't apply. As he mentioned, side sources are frequently used, and are used in the examples, to provide dimensionality.

If you have a sound rental co. in your area that also does lights for small bands, you might find you could do it without insurance if you rent some light stands with four pars aka. par cans on each one. These are so inexpensive (compared to video lights) that they'd probably just need your credit card guarantee.

Fashion show/dance events frequently use these sorts of lights for "side booms", that's what you'd ask for.

In the examples, 1-3 lekos were used for the backgrounds, probably as wide as possible such as a 6x9. The pattern was probably in a leko. It might have been one leko and a couple fresnels. You could sub in par cans for the background, but patterns are usually done with a light that focuses such as a leko.
Hey Seth. Thanks for the suggestion you and Barry wrote about using side lights. What do you think might be optimal placement for the side lighting? (i.e. directly on left and right, same axis, distances?)

I will look into rentals regarding four pars / par cans on a light stand, or something similar. Do you have any suggestions for certain kinds of lekos and accessories for the gobos? Setup / configuration?

Thanks Seth.
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Old March 31st, 2006, 05:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Tabilas
...What do you think might be optimal placement for the side lighting? (i.e. directly on left and right, same axis, distances?)...
um. Welcome to the world of lighting, a study in itself. There's much more to it than reading instructions, trial and error is a great technique. Problems arise where you don't have the opportunity or don't make an opportunity to see how it looks before you have to roll tape on the dancers.

Here's what I would do:

Get familiar with all the lights well before you need to use them.

Allow an hour for lighting. You'll need a dancer or two, or someone to stand in for them.

Bring a larger monitor, (at least an 8" field monitor but could be bigger) and a cable that connects to your camera. 20' is nice. Set up the camera on a tripod on a wide shot of the performance area, and point the monitor towards where you'll be adjusting lights.

Note that the big monitor is not just so that you can stand far away, it's really really hard to evaluate lighting on a 3" lcd on your camera.

Start with a tree of lights at 90 degrees, straight out to the side. Move it far enough away from the dancers so that you have even light (to your eye and the camera) of your tallest dancer, from their feet to their hands raised above their head. If there will be jumps or lifts, have them stand on a chair and raise their hands over their head.

Look at the image. Want more detail? Bring the lights closer to the camera. Less? Move them further away. Try it with the lights as high as they'll go, as low as they'll go, etc.

Once you're generally liking the look, try the second tree on the other side, it doesn't have to mirror the first tree, it might be better if it didn't. Further away might be nice too. Think about the mood the dancers are trying to convey and try to reflect that in the lighting.

Make sure you're covering the area the dancers will use. It's not good if they dance right out of the light.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Tabilas
...Do you have any suggestions for certain kinds of lekos and accessories for the gobos? Setup / configuration?...
In a studio with limited depth you'll want as broad a leko as possible, that's probably a 6x9. Altman is a low cost standard, ETC Source 4 is the new standard for those who want more control. You certainly don't want a leko that will leak light out to the side of the instrument. Discuss gobos with your supplier, and, once again, think about visual design to support a mood or emotion. A leko could be low or high, depending on where you want the light to come from. It's probably closer to the back surface than the dancers will be. A leko weighs something, maybe 20 lbs? So, you need support strong enough to hold it. Make sure you have the supplier run through the controls with you.

Bring gloves. All these lights get hot.

A par can is lots lighter, and is fine for putting color on the wall. Get some gels at least for the background. You may or may not want color on the dancers, if so, it doesn't take much.
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Old March 31st, 2006, 05:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum
um. Welcome to the world of lighting, a study in itself. There's much more to it than reading instructions, trial and error is a great technique. Problems arise where you don't have the opportunity or don't make an opportunity to see how it looks before you have to roll tape on the dancers.

Here's what I would do:

Get familiar with all the lights well before you need to use them.
Seth, this is a wealth of information. Thanks very much.
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