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Old October 25th, 2006, 07:23 PM   #1
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Lighting for low-budget commercial

Hey guys, I'm hoping you'll be able to give me some guidance. I'm going to be shooting a commercial in a few months that will be low-budget. Location will be traditional office building (cubicles, offices, ect.) and I need to get some lighting equipment for this. About 3 people will be in a shot at any given time, and I'll be shooting with my FX1 if that matters. I plan on using this lighting gear in the future for similar projects...maybe some interviews, ect. Size/portability shouldn't be much of a concern as this will be an all day shoot.
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Old October 25th, 2006, 07:31 PM   #2
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what do you want it to look like? Start with that. Have you scouted yet?
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Old October 25th, 2006, 07:49 PM   #3
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if you want to keep the realistic office look and presuming it is your office is lit with florescent lights then all you'll need are a few Kinos for fill. If you are really on a low budget then buy some fixtures at Home Depot.
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Old October 25th, 2006, 10:17 PM   #4
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Budget is about $3-4k including shooting, editing, actors/actresses. I've been looking at the kinoflo's due the the whole flourecent thing, but don't know much about them/which ones to get. We're shooting sometime around late December/early January, and haven't picked a location yet. The business has a small cubicle area that we might shoot in, but we sorta want a more open area (like the office scene in The Matrix- and no, we're not doing a Matrix spoof) I'd be open to renting the equipment, but I have never found any place to rent anything video related in my area (Northern VA) it always seems you have to be in LA or NY for equipment rental. How much do you think we should expect to spend on a good Kinoflo setup for purchase or rental? Also we may be shooting some greenscreen work down the road. Is Kinoflos good for that as well?
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Old October 26th, 2006, 01:01 PM   #5
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$3-4k sounds pretty low. if I were you, I'd skip the Kino's. They're great, fabulous lights....but if you're in an office you'll have to balance out the green of the other lights, which may negate an HUGE advantage to using the Kinos. You can get by with a LOT less, especially on such a small budget. If you're allowed back to scout again, pull a tube out of the overhead fixtures and write down EXACTLY the model, color temp, etc...

Grab some sort of 4-bulb fixture from home depot and those same bulbs and go from there. With a jury-rigged light stand and a bounce card, you can do a LOT. If you're not getting enough output, get another fixture with tubes. You could probably buy 3-5 home depot fixtures for the rental on 1 kino unit. And dimming, while convenient, is FAR from essential. Use some opal or gridcloth on the front to soften the light and take away some brightness. Need less brightness? Back the light off. Need less? Add more opal or gridcloth.

Basically if you're shooting video in a room with industrial flos as your "fill," there's little advantage to using color-corrected dimming fixtures. Save the cash and pay yourself more (creative fee).
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Old October 26th, 2006, 05:06 PM   #6
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Well the budget I gave is for this particular project. I want to buy a kit that I'll be using for about 8-12 projects for this company over the next year. So up to about $2500 is what I'm willing to pay for a start. We may be shooting outside occassionally, assuming I don't go with regular Homedepot flos, what should I be looking for?
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Old October 26th, 2006, 05:42 PM   #7
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Shooting outside and inside on that budget... I'd steer you away from lighting outside. Bounce and scrim and you can do it no problem, but you'll be hard pressed to find HMI power enough without going over your budget.

If you're trying to build a kit, there are a LOT of posts about that in every budget including $2-$3K range. I'm a fan of the right tool for the job. But if the job is what you say, you'll have to gel your lights to go green anyways. Plus, it's usually a pretty large lump of cash to get soft light 4' x 1.5'. So why not just spend the $50 on the perfect lighting for this project, and build your kit later when you really need it. If you're concerned about how it looks to have off-the-shelf flos on set, try the Kino 4-banks and just use regular tubes. You can't really go wrong, they're great lights. In the office setting, there is no point to using kino's tubes, because again - you'll have to add green to them. Buy their tubes later when you need to match to something...in the meantime pay $2/tube for this job. If you can find some sort of fresnel to use as a hair light, you can get a nice separation too. Basically, if it's a high-key office background, 2 lights may do it.
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