Umbrella Lighting tips & Positions (low light restaurant-URGENT.) at

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Old July 10th, 2006, 12:56 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4
Umbrella Lighting tips & Positions (low light restaurant-URGENT.)


This week I will be joining a team of Professional Broadcast Videographers.
During our first event, we will be filming various interviews.
The location will be a low-light restaurant.

Since the restaurant will have very little lighting, I will be bringing two of my lights.
2 Tota lights (with barn doors) and 2 white umbrellas (Lowel Tota-Light Kit.)

In order to get the best facial lighting, where should I position the lights and which way should the lights and umbrella’s be turned (PLEASE provide a very detailed response-should they be turned to or away from the person and etc.)

Also, should I use my wireless Lavalier microphone (Sony UWP-C1) or my handheld microphone for interviews (Sony UWP-C2)?

This is very urgent. Any and all responses will be very much appreciated.

Thank You,
Warmest Regards,
Mikhail Sandler
Stanley Sandler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 13th, 2006, 09:45 AM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 108
Umbrellas can give you very soft lighting; I've used them for people and product shots in similar situations to yours. Like softboxes, there's often beginner confusion with 'em... people will use a too-small, and/or, too distant umbrella or softbox, and end up with deep shadows and hard edges, and wonder what the deal is. For soft light, you need a large "panel" of light, close to your subject. In the case of an umbrella, that "panel" is the round (or octagonal) inner-surface of the umbrella, which is lit by (in yor case) a Tota pointing back in to it.

The "open", "inside" part of the umbrella points towards your subject; your lights point at the inside of the umbrella. Think of it this way:

Subject (faces camera) --> Tota light (points toward camera, but the umbrella is in the way) --> Umbrella (inside points towards subject).

Or... O=subject, --> = tota, )= umbrella:

O --> )

The distance from the tota to the umbrella (if adjustable) determines how large a soft light the umbrella interior becomes; and, for decent soft lighting, the umbrella should be close to the subject; as close as possible if you want to go really soft. (And use the largest umbrella possible for the softest light).

There's a ton of info here and on the web for basic three-point lighting, so I won't cover that here, other than to mention that a foamcore reflector is often adequate for fill, especially if your lights are broad & close. Those totas are HOT up-close, and having one less will be kind to your talent.

Also, I'm a big believer in using as much ambient light when it's appropriate, so if you have a visible window or background, look into color balancing your lights to match anything you're holding in the background
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Old July 26th, 2006, 11:47 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Northern Ireland
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If you want the most natural effect, try bouncing the light off the walls and ceiling behind and above (if the walls and ceiling are white). If the walls are dark, then use a large 'shoot through' umbrellas or, try a gold lined reflector umbrella as the fill light and the large shoot through as the key light.

There is no formula for lighting as such because lighting depends upon the mood you want to create and your tastes. The only thing that I would say is that you could try some backlighting to produce more depth to your image.
Howard Bull is offline   Reply

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