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Old May 9th, 2006, 09:49 PM   #1
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Location: Minnesota, USA
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cheap lights for indoor 3 point lighting?

I'm a 10th grader, and I've been making short videos for about a year now. I started making 20 second clips at a time with my digital camera, and now I got a MiniDV $200 JVC palmcorder, cheapest I could find. I've been shooting with this for about 4 months now, and I've discoveredfew settings that I can use to my advantage (white balance, manual exposure, manual focus).

Once in a while, I get pretty good looking footage, but it's all coincidence. However, I've noticed that footage inside is a lot darker, more saturated, and more yellow than I would like it. However, outside it looks good. So I've been reading about 3-point-lighting and was wondering what kind of lights would help me get clearer, lighter, nicer footage than I am getting now? Please keep in mind that this would have to be a do-it-yourself kind of thing, since I don't have money for professional lighting kits or anything like that.


Ernesto Llano is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9th, 2006, 10:22 PM   #2
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Hi Ernesto,

If you're on a really low budget, you can use the construction work lights to get more indoor lighting. If you have white ceilings, bounce them up there to raise the overall light level in the room without blinding anyone. There are several good books about lighting that you might want to read. Three point lighting is about getting good exposure levels, but it's more about 'modeling' with light. Modeling helps create a 3 dimensional appearance out of a 2 dimensional medium such as film and video.

Finally, I am going to move this thread on over to our lighting forum called "Photon Management" so that you can get good feedback with your question.


Greg Boston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 10th, 2006, 09:37 AM   #3
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Lighting correction in post


It may be difficult to get the yellow out via indoor lighting on a budget. Most indoor lighting contains either red or yellow (incandescent) or green (fluorescent).

Your camera may have color correction, but most inexpensive cameras don't. Although, most inexpensive cameras also don't have fully manual operation.

Another way to get the right color is in your post production editor, via color correction. You didn't mention which non-linear editor you were using. Several have color correction in them which may be a less expensive way to overcome lighting problems.

I would not discourage you from trying to get better overall lighting but in a pinch, post color correction may be a work arround for you.

By the way (BTW) if your editor supports color correction, less is better.

Good luck and welcome to DVi.
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Jesse Redman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 10th, 2006, 05:04 PM   #4
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Mixed color temperatures is really difficult to get rid of in post.

Basic white balance can be done in camera, or in post.
Many cameras have manual white balance to let you set that.

2- If you want to avoid mixed color temperatures, then you will need your lights to be of the same color as the room lighting.
Tungsten-based lights range between 3200K-2800K and lower. Professional tungsten lights are 3200k unless stated otherwise.

Daylight ranges, but is much bluer compared to tungsten.

Fluorescents ranges widely, but is typically greener + warmer/cooler than everything else.

If you don't have any color correction gels, a simple way to get even color temperature is to bounce the light off the ceiling. Because that kind of light is so soft, it will mostly blend in with any fluorescent fixtures in the room.

Otherwise, get yourself some color correction gels. Film and music video shoots typically throw them away once they're done... so you can get some for free that way. You should also be able to get some for free from equipment rental houses.
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Old May 10th, 2006, 05:32 PM   #5
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Location: Sauk Rapids, MN, USA
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I use $10 scoop lamps with clamps from Home Depot. I put GE Soft White flourescent lights that screw into normal fixtures...about $5 / light. If the shot looks too yellow, put a piece of white printer paper up in front of the camera (being lit by the lights you're using to light your scene...just have an actor hold it up). zoom into it and white balance.

It sounds like it's adjusted to the outdoor setting or white balanced outside. This will push your outdoor scenes blue, so you'll need to rebalance when you go outside again.

for 3 point lighting:
main light
30-45 degrees right
30-45 degrees up
fills the shadows caused by the key
30-45 degrees left
30-45 degrees down
darker than the key (move light farther away or smaller bulb)
outlines subject - separates from background
behind subject
45-80 degrees up
25-45 degrees left

I've got tons of information up a couple of places:

and a new piece I'm working on to cement all of the information there:

I'm doing lighting next, just got done with the camera bits.
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