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Old January 17th, 2007, 04:31 AM   #1
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amateur lightning questions

Hey everybody
I'm fairly new to lightning.. most of my experience has been editing and just point and shoot action.
Now I've been hired for a job, where I have to consider the light a bit more, and therefore I thought this might be the right place to pose some questions.

The shot is in front of a desk with a man from waist up, standing about 20 inches from a white wall. There's a pretty good light in the room from several flourecent tubes in the ceiling, and one of these tube-sets is almost right above the person I want to film.
This of course causes shadows under the eyes and chin which I seek to eliminate.

Unfortunately my budget is quite low and the light-equipment I have consists of 2 500w halogen lamps on adjustable stands, and 1 150w halogen on a floor stand. besides I've made a reflektor of foamcore covered with tin-foil.
I know this a a very 'cheap' setup, but it's just an amateur production, which I of course want to do as good as possible :)

I've been trying with just using one of the 500wats and reflecting it onto the person from an angle in front of him, and this eliminates the shadows quite well, but I just thought some people might have better ideas with what options i might have with my very limited resources??
should i use the other lights as well in some way?
Been thinking about putting hanging some sort of blanket or fabric in the back to avoid the white wall and bring some more warm feeling into the shoot?

Sorry the language (english is my 2nd language) and for the possibly very noob questions, but in my searching around I haven't really been able to answer my questions. Most lightning guides I've read assumes that you have quite more expensive equipment and that you aren't filming a person so close to a wall (20inches).

Sincerely
Soeren Bo
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Old January 17th, 2007, 06:26 AM   #2
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For the background you could cut some shapes in heavy duty aluminum foil and project a pattern onto the wall with one of your lights, placing a gel over the foil to produce a colored pattern. Re the fluorescent, just turn it off since it might contribute bad color.
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Old January 17th, 2007, 10:32 AM   #3
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Mmmm the problem is that if I turn the halogens off, the ceiling flourecents will cause shadows to fall under the persons eyes, making him look awfully tires :) or a bit creepy, so I'll have to stick with some of my lightning equipment.
The background I don't really know about.. have to try it.
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Old January 17th, 2007, 12:05 PM   #4
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Jim is asking you to try turning off the overhead flouescent lights and control all of the lighting in the room.

Put a pattern on the back wall with colored light (perhaps a colored party bulb in a clamp light) shown through a pattern cut out of aluminum foil or cardboard (beware the heat from the light).

to get a softer light from the worklights, point them at a bedsheet hanging from a couple of stands...this will soften them and give you a better light.

If you like the look of the top lighting from the cieling, keep them on and use a bounce card to "fill" under the eyes.

This site just started floating around here and has really good info ( http://www.englighting.com )...keep in mind, you don't need to use big expensive lights for these techniques, I use ACDelco clamp lights with 8.5" reflectors and GE Softwhite compact flourescent lights. I get great results with these lights (just have to be careful where you aim them, they tend to throw light all over the place).
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Old January 17th, 2007, 12:36 PM   #5
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You could also supplement your fluorescent lighting with fluorescent lighting.
Here is an inexpensive way to do it.

http://www.bluesky-web.com/broadcast...s-30bucks.html

Bill
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Old January 17th, 2007, 03:53 PM   #6
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Hey again
sorry for reading your answer too fast Jim.
Thank you all for the info and tips guys. I'll try some of it out tomorrow working tomorrow.

Cole: By using a bouncecard, do you mean bouncing the light form one of the 500w or just from the flourecent? and do you think that the foil covered board will do this, or does it need to be a pure white foamcore board? (I've been having quite some trouble finding foamcore boards)

Sincerely
Soeren Bo
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Old January 17th, 2007, 04:09 PM   #7
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I've been using the silver card more than the pure white...I spray painted mine on the back of a foamcore board. I believe I was refering to the cieling flourescents...but do what ever works for the scene.
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Old January 18th, 2007, 12:36 AM   #8
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Not quite sure who said it originally, or when exactly (in the history of cinema), but good lighting is often figuring out how to un-light. Basically, lighting can be used to reveal or hide information in the frame. By lighting only the essential parts, and un-lighting the non-essential, you end up using a lot less instruments, and often a lot less power. So before answering the how's, let's get an idea of the why? Why is this person important, and what is the end result. Is it an interview, a dramatic shot, a comedic shot.... what are you going for?

Next, while the 500 watt light at a low angle may ease the shadows under your subject's eyes, there's no such thing as "erasing" a shadow. Every light you add will add another shadow. You can fill dark areas, but fill will also create shadows - look at the back wall. In still photography (when working with human subjects), the first light that's set is the first key light. The first key creates shadows on the figure to define its shape. This doesn't mean you always have to shine a light directly at the subject - often it can be bounced off objects, or even come from a "practical" light that's in the shot itself. But before you go turning on every light you can find, set the key light, and make sure it is casting shadows where you want them. From there, you can add fill light, and start to paint in light elsewhere - like kick lights, hair lights, backlights, and accents on the background.

The beautiful thing about lighting is that there are no "rules." There are guidelines and approaches which many people have figured out over the years through photography, stage and cinema.... and those approaches may fit your situation from time to time....but no rules. The only wrong solution is the one that doesn't achieve your (or your client's) goal.
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Old January 18th, 2007, 01:06 PM   #9
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Thankyou for the input.
The shot is for a small video that'll tell people about an online-education, what the future jobs can be, and why people should take precisely this set courses. He will be the main spokesman in the video among other small interviews and shots of the possible work.

My intentions are that it should have a bit of a personal feeling to it - not too commercial-like-polished, but a bit more warm.
It's only for online streaming and therefore the video will be compressed a lot (flv8) - therefore i reallly need to get rid of the shadows under his eyes and chin, as they make him look more tired, especially after the compression.

I've been working with the ceiling flourecents on, because they give quite much light which is nice when you don't have a lot of good lightning equipment and a lot of experience in light setting.
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Old January 18th, 2007, 02:50 PM   #10
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It sounds like you're doing essentially waist or chest-up? If so, Cole had a good idea. Use the room lights, and simply place a white or silver bounce card in front of the subject, as close as you can get it without being in your shot...and angle it so it reflects the light from the ceiling up into the eye sockets. That will probably be plenty. If you can avoid adding other lights, it simplifies your life a lot.
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Old January 19th, 2007, 01:14 PM   #11
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yep.. I'll mostly be doing waist up and probably a couple of more close up to add a bit of diversity.
Think I'll try to get a small flourecent tube of the same kind as the ceiling flouroes and use that for the reflection with the foil-covered board I've got. So guess I'll hook up with another lamp as well.

Thank you so much for your tips and inputs.. You've inspired me to experiment a lot more :)

Sincerely
Soeren Bo
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