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Old June 11th, 2007, 10:43 AM   #1
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On-camera lighting for event videography

In The Netherlands, we have a lot of "dance events". I am contracted to do a registration of some of these events. So it will require shooting in extremely low-light (with lasers and discolights in the darkness). I reckon that I will need a good on-camera lighting solution. I was thinking about a Litepanel but there might be other good solutions. My main concern with the Litepanel is if it works in very dark areas or not. I guess that at parties after weddings the lighting situation is about the same. I am convinced of the Litepanel for documentary work etcetera but I need to make sure it will work in my situation. I am getting an Anton Bauer Dionic 90 kit as well so I will use a powertap connection. How is the Anton Bauer ultralight? Does it work in indoor situations?
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Old June 12th, 2007, 06:59 AM   #2
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Nothing screws up a good shot more than an on-camera-light. Unfortunately that’s a necessary evil but not necessarily a hopeless situation.

The secret of using a top light is to make it look like that there’s was no light there, or at least to make it look different from what’s the traditional crappy look of an image illuminated by a top light.

Don’t try to illuminate the entire scene with your top light because it will not work. If you do that you will have a well exposed foreground and everything else behind will go dark. You should not worry only about purchasing a powerful light but one that’s fully adjustable (dimmer) and has a good selection of accessories. The powerful light however will allow you to add a small softbox and the dimmer will let you adjust the light to your needs. There's some sort of notion out there that because it is a top light it's OK if it's a cheap one, on the contrary, to improve the traditional crappy look of top lights I would buy the best there is, one that has most adjustments and the most extensive line of accessories.

An Anton Bauer Ultralight is a good one but it doesn’t have a built-in dimmer and the AB external dimmer can be quite expensive. It’s a good light particularly if you are planning to add an UltraDAYlight (HMI) in the future. Frezzi have some good ones with dimmers and so is PAG, and of course Lowel makes a very good one with lots of bells and whistles, perhaps the Lowel might be your best solution for your particular situation. Also the new line of LED lights is quite good and very controllable; among them are the Zylight and LightPanels.

Disco light and lasers are not dark light sources, actually they can be quite bright, the problem is that they are very direct point light and they’ll illuminate only small areas, but you’ll want to maintain that effect. If they can add some fog to the scene, as they usually do with disco lights, it will really help the image as the fog will light-up and spread out the disco lights. Fog will actually reduce the contrast (blacks) in the image.

The following rules should apply every time that we use the on camera lights not only on disco lights.
Try to get a decent exposure of the ambient light first, even if you have to add a reasonable amount of gains to your camera. You still want the effects of the colorful disco lights to be well visible. Do not overexpose those lights or the shot will look awful. Once that’s done adjust your light to bring up details on the foreground making sure that the difference between the foreground and the rest of the image is no more than one F stop.

You can reach a little further into the image by raising your light above the lens. There are extensions on the market for this purpose. This will allow hitting the foreground with the fringe of the light and basically go over people’s heads so that the light will reach further into the image without overexposing the foreground.

So in conclusion the basic technique in successfully (if you have to) using a top light is to get a decent exposure of the scene and then use the light only to get good details in the foreground and to fill shadows created by other lights (overheads).
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Old June 14th, 2007, 08:50 AM   #3
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nino is exactly right - as always. as far as an actual fixture, you might consider a zylight as they can balance to match any ambient light source and are dimmable. i have one - (the Z50) and love it.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 09:01 AM   #4
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I am thinking about getting a Zylight Z90. The problem is that they have no dealers so with warranty I would have to ship it back to them. But I do like the options it offers with all the color/light settings digitally.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 08:03 AM   #5
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i understand that concern - however, i had one small issue with one of the first Z50's and charlie at zylight was VERY responsive and quickly shipped me a replacement. its a small company, they believe in their product and they value their customers.

(disclaimer - i have no official affiliation, but do own their product)
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Old June 16th, 2007, 11:41 AM   #6
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Floris, why don't you get in touch with Zylight at support@zylight.com and ask if there is a service center in Europe. Zylight is a new company with an excellent and innovative product. Unfortunately for any new company setting up worldwide distributorship is not an easy task and that takes time. The product needs to become well established in the domestic market first where it's easy to control and correct any problem.
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Old June 16th, 2007, 11:45 AM   #7
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I am already in touch with Zylight and we are working something out. Thanks!
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Old June 16th, 2007, 01:29 PM   #8
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Zylight is great but the Z50 is not bright enough for me, the Z90 is 3 times brighter so should be plenty but cost too much, so I went with the sony HVL-LBP, it is a 5600K light, I just buy a Gam 3/4 CTO and put it in between the grill and the lens filter and it looks great, that will bring it down to about 3200K with only 1/2 stop loss, stil alot brighter than the Z50, it also have a condeser lens, which is very handy if you are shooting from a distance, it will double the intensity but with a very narrow spread, (spot light), it also has a builtin diffuser great for close up, but best of is is the battery 970 will last almost 3 hrs., now I don't have to carry my 17 pounds beltpack battery anymore. The spread is not as wide as the Z50 but it is still good, so if you don't need instant switch from daylight to indoor or color, consider the Sony, I think it is great for the price.
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Old February 22nd, 2008, 09:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nino Giannotti View Post
...and of course Lowel makes a very good one with lots of bells and whistles, perhaps the Lowel might be your best solution for your particular situation. Also the new line of LED lights is quite good and very controllable; among them are the Zylight and LightPanels.

Which Lowels are you referring to: the ViPs (dimmable on camera lights)?

If so, what is your experience with them? I considered buying them for the same club type event shoot, but didn't because they are rather large.....

Thanks,
Carmen
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Last edited by Carmen Neely; February 23rd, 2008 at 11:30 AM.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 09:56 PM   #10
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Does anyone have experience with this camera light?:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ro_LED_on.html

It is only daylight color temperature, but you could always gel it.
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