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Old June 22nd, 2007, 08:05 PM   #1
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Lighting questions

Hey all,


I'm in the process of shooting an instructional DVD in a woodworking shop. All the action is mostly happening around the table saw but I need to stand quite far from the saw to get a good overall view of the scene. My first session didn't turn out so well. I think I don't have enough light (3x 250W lights on tripod).

My budget is also limited and can't afford those fancy light box costing 1000$ each. Renting can be an option but each shoot is done out of town and I'm gone for 1 week each time. I'm a little concerned I'll end up paying too much to keep them so long.

As a possible solution, I was wondering what kind of results I could expect from using some powerful halogen lights on stand (http://www.amazon.com/Designers-Edge...dp/B000E8X4EC). The same type they use in construction. I'm not sure about the color temperature of those lights but I was thinking of using them obviously not pointing directly at the scene but more to light up the place (bouncing off the ceiling / walls). I would still use my 3x 250W lights.

I would be curious to know if it's a route you would advise.

Thanks for your help!


Benoit
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 10:13 PM   #2
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Good question, but I think it may be in the wrong forum.
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 10:17 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Benoit Bissonnette View Post
Hey all,

I'm in the process of shooting an instructional DVD in a woodworking shop. All the action is mostly happening around the table saw but I need to stand quite far from the saw to get a good overall view of the scene.
Have you ever watched shows like The New Yankee Workshop on PBS? It's rare to have a "a good overall view of the scene" all the time except as an establishing shot. From then on, it's a lot of close-ups.
See if a local library or community college has woodworking videos you can borrow. Then study them to see what they did right and wrong.

Quote:
My first session didn't turn out so well. I think I don't have enough light (3x 250W lights on tripod).
What was the problem? Were the shots dark, backlit, etc.? Can you post a framegrab so we can offer some advice?

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My budget is also limited and can't afford those fancy light box costing 1000$ each. Renting can be an option but each shoot is done out of town and I'm gone for 1 week each time. I'm a little concerned I'll end up paying too much to keep them so long.
Have you checked with pro rental shops in your area? I can get a 1K Lowel Rifa in Toronto for $40/day. Week-long rental are generally a 4-day rate.

Quote:
As a possible solution, I was wondering what kind of results I could expect from using some powerful halogen lights on stand (http://www.amazon.com/Designers-Edge...dp/B000E8X4EC). The same type they use in construction. I'm not sure about the color temperature of those lights but I was thinking of using them obviously not pointing directly at the scene but more to light up the place (bouncing off the ceiling / walls). I would still use my 3x 250W lights.
Don't bother with Amazon. You can get similar lights at places such as Rona, Home Depot and most other major hardware stores.

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I would be curious to know if it's a route you would advise.
Some people like them but I've never been a big fan. I'd rather spend a few dollars more for the real thing.
Depending on the size of the shop, bouncing these may not work.
The colour temperature of these lights is not consistent. They vary anywhere from 2500 to 3500 degrees K. Normal quartz lights are 3200K.
You also don't have accessories like barn doors, etc.
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 11:52 PM   #4
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Personally, if I could do it all over again, I'd skip the work lights and just go straight for lights designed for video. It's more money up front, but in the end, you'll more than make up for it with the time you save. If you can't afford softboxes, diffusion/frame panels are a good and flexible option.
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 08:28 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Michael Wisniewski View Post
Personally, if I could do it all over again, I'd skip the work lights and just go straight for lights designed for video. It's more money up front, but in the end, you'll more than make up for it with the time you save. If you can't afford softboxes, diffusion/frame panels are a good and flexible option.
Most people seem to feel this way. Worklights are a phase most of us go through and then when we're more skilled we seem to need more control than these offer.

But if you're trying to economize and feel you need to go this route, I would recommend fluorescent shoplights with electronic ballasts and daylight tubes of CRI 85 or above. That should give you really good results without breaking the bank and also you won't be heating up your workshop in the middle of the summer either with two or three thousand watts of lighting. You may want to consider not mounting them overhead too much though. Overhead lighting never looks as great for many reasons. Plus you can't aim directly at your work so you'll have more shadows with overhead lighting. Mounting the shoplights on some kind of stand would probably yield the best results. Having a three or four of smaller 30w or 40w daylight CFL's (like Home Depot N:Visions) for closeups would be great too. Mounted also on stands and in some kind of fixture which allows you to point them at your work to get more lumens and remove shadows where necessary.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 06:58 PM   #6
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Considering that 500W halogen worklights are very inexpensive I'd say just get two of them. Bounce them off of white walls or styrofoam boards and use your 250W lights for spots/accents. A lot of eng TV lighting is done by bouncing lights off of walls and ceilings because it's a very easy way to evenly illuminate a whole room - nothing wrong with that for an instructional DVD, is it?

I wouldn't mind a small difference in color temperature - when your open face/fresnel lights are 3200K and the worklights are 2800K just balance to the 3200K ones and you'll get a tiny little touch of warmth. I'd say it looks better than when everything is totally neutral, especially when your main theme is "wood" :)

Quote:
Worklights are a phase most of us go through and then when we're more skilled we seem to need more control than these offer.
I totally agree, but worklights are so inexpensive, why not use them for a while? They are perfect for bouncing them off of walls.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 08:43 PM   #7
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Lite touch

You can use work lights with color correction if that's all you can afford, but as a next step up, I think you will find Lowell Tota Lites to be among the least expensive and flexible of pro lighting gear, color accurates bulbs in various wattages are available, and you will use them for the rest of your shooting and lighting career. I always have two around, as they are tiny when stored.

I like to direct two per side through suspended sheets of grid cloth or opal frost. If you can afford a roll, you'll find it allows you to cut 6' sheets, hung from cross arms on light stands or any convenient homemade stand. You get a large, soft light source, the size of a large window, that wraps the subject nicely. Use C-47's (closepins) for bottom weights.

Keep one side farther away or use only one light to give a more dimensional contrast ratio. Use both sides tighter for closeups. I use the same technique with fresnels when I have room. I also like lowell's umbrella-like Softlight, really fast setup, and occasionally use it with the front diffusion panel off to cover large areas.
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