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Old August 7th, 2006, 02:42 AM   #1
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Need quick help with 3 point lighting

Hi, I just discovered that I need to use a 3-point lighting setup for a video shoot I'm going to do. (indoors, black background, static subject) I have these two halogen shop lights as seen here:

http://82.165.178.48/de/catimg/small/L-850.JPG

What I've discovered I've been doing wrong is not having the lights up above the subject, but rather down clamped to tables shooting straight up at the ceiling.

But it sure seems like aiming those halogen lights at the subject would totally over expose the picture because they're so bright (not to mention blind the subject!). Can they even be used?

So basically I need help with setting up a thrifty 3-point light system for this instructional video. I have Walmart, Home Depot and Target to get supplies from.

If anyone can offer any ideas for what to buy and how to set up this lighting (such as getting the lights up above the subject) I'd be very thankful! I should also mention that the black background in this case is an actual wall so there isn't a whole lot of room for a back light?
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Old August 7th, 2006, 02:57 AM   #2
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You really need to have the lights on a stand or clamped to the ceiling.
They need to shine down on the person at about a 45 degree angle. You really need barn doors on the lights otherwise the light spills and fills the whole room.

For basic three point lighting you have the brightest light, the key light at say 4 o'clock position. The fill light at about 60% brilliance of the key light, so move it further away at about 8 o'clock position. And the back light up behind the tallent lighting a rim on their hair and shoulders. These lights are not that suitable as they lack barndoors and anyway of controlling the brilliance.

You maybe better off experimenting bouncing light off the ceiling, a light coloured wall or fabric, or a sheet of white board etc. These things get very hot so becareful they dont come into close contact with anything inflamable or can fall and hurt somebody.

If you are serious about video you will need to invest in some proper video lights.
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Old August 7th, 2006, 03:02 AM   #3
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Hmm.. Well I've been reading about peoples' successes with those bright halogen shop lights and I know they get damn hot ( I use gloves to move them around). The part I'm having trouble with is how to mount those lights so that I can refelct them off a foam core board or something, how to get the lights and whatever I'm going to refelct off of positioned and make them stay put.. Kind of hard to ask the question..
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Old August 7th, 2006, 03:15 AM   #4
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Hi Mike,

Without stands it's a bit tricky. Yes many have used these work lights with success including myself at times. You probably need to buy the ones on a stand. They are quite cheap. They tend to light towards the yellow side of the spectrum so when I use them I usually place a piece of blue gell over them or some light difuser material. Clip it on with wooden clothes pegs. Not the plastic ones, they heat and stink like crazy. On stands you can move, adjust height for best results. If you're in a jam can you clamp your lights to an aluminium step ladder or something?
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Old August 7th, 2006, 03:19 AM   #5
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ahh a ladder, I have one of those! good thinking...
This will sound dumb, but when you say blue gel, what exactly is that? is it actually gel you put on the glass? those suckers get hot, I can't imagine putting anything on the glass. -by the way, I removed the metal cages on them because of the shadows they cause.
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Old August 7th, 2006, 03:33 AM   #6
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Hi Mike,

For this quick job you can probably forget about the gel. It is used on stage, film and video lighting. A thin film like heat resistant material that comes in rolls in a multitude of colours. You need to go to a theatrical or tv production supply house for some.

Here's a couple of links that may help.

http://www.videoccasions-nw.com/votipmon.html
http://www.jorenclark.com/whitepapers/lighting.html
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Old August 7th, 2006, 10:58 AM   #7
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It is possible to mount a dimmer to a halogen light. It will give you a lot more control over the amount of light. The one concern that might come up using a dimmer is that they can put out a lot of electrical interference that can be picked up by mic cables if they aren't well shielded. Also the color of the light will vary as you adjust the dimmer. This is not a perfect soloution by any means but it is a cheap soloution.
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Old August 8th, 2006, 12:12 AM   #8
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As to the blue gel/yellowish light. You can white balance your video camera to a white card/sheet of paper, etc. no need in this situation for blue gel. The intensity can be adjusted by moving the lights farther from the subject.

If this is a one-off go with what you have, if you're going to do this a number of times, finding mountable lights with stands will save you a lot of time and trouble as well as being safer for the talent
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