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Old October 20th, 2007, 06:46 PM   #1
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Xl1s / Arri / Lowel Test Footage. Need Feedback

I shot some test video with my XL1s and would like some feedback. It was lit with an Arri 650 (bounced off the white ceiling for a back light), and a lowel DP (750watt bulb) in a chimera soft box for the key. I used an Audio-Technica AT4073A on the camera.

Any and all feedback welcome.

Thanks!

http://youtube.com/watch?v=BBwKSf2lN2g
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Old October 20th, 2007, 09:28 PM   #2
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The backlight isn't working. The brown hair of the musicians is blending into the black background. The softbox up front gives a decent look but there needs to be visible backlight to define the shape of the subjects. Where was the 650? I think it needs to be moved farther back and maybe pointed directly at the musicians. I would think that if it was behind them already that there would be some spill on the background after the ceiling bounce.
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Old October 21st, 2007, 03:03 AM   #3
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I would have LOVED to put a light behind them but they basically had their backs to the wall. NO room whatsoever to put a light behind them. I had the 650 to one side and pointing it at the ceiling to try to get some separation.

What would some other options be to get that separation without making them move?

Thanks a lot for the feedback, it really helps.
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Old October 21st, 2007, 03:10 AM   #4
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I would suggest using uplighting from behind the drummer. Maybe off to one side at floor level, tilted up to give a splash of light across the wall. A colored gel and/or a cookie pattern on that light would also help.

-gb-
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 12:44 AM   #5
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I had the 650 to one side and pointing it at the ceiling to try to get some separation.
What Greg said. Hey, just something that a buddy of mine always reminds me to do; when you're setting up your lighting, make sure you turn each of your lights on and off one at a time to see what affect its having. Remember to look with a discerning eye, in this case, not the over-all lighting but what affect is the "backlight" having, if any at all. I "solo" all of my lights when I'm shooting, so I know what each light is giving me. It really helps in giving you a realistic assessment of how well the lighting scheme is working.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 01:12 AM   #6
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Maybe not zoom in so close on the drummer too, because he's moving around quite a bit.

I'm not sure that lighting up the black background will do much more than giving you bright dust on top of the background. It looks like a super dark cloth, so you wouldn't get much out of it with even a white light on it. You *could* try a white posterboard behind the drummer, stuck on the wall. Like Foamcore or something. Then you'll easily see him and it might look nice too.

How many takes of this did you do? Overall it looks really good, though around 2:45 the drummer is playing a totally different beat than we're hearing.

Maybe I'm biased as I've been playing drums for 23 years, but others might notice that too. All in all, it really looks like a multicamera shoot, which is impressive. :)

The sound isn't bad for a mic mounted on the camera. It might be helpful to block the kick drum a bit though, to lower the volume of it a little. The rest of the kit is quiet and a bit distant compared to the kick drum. I though it was mic'd, listening to this through my Sony MDR-7506 headphones. The balance is really good, but a mic over the drums mixed with the one you used would make a nice combination (left and right and then pan them center when you edit and adjust the volumes til the drums sound right).

Again, nice work. ;)
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 10:29 PM   #7
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I'm not sure that lighting up the black background will do much more than giving you bright dust on top of the background. It looks like a super dark cloth, so you wouldn't get much out of it with even a white light on it. You *could* try a white posterboard behind the drummer, stuck on the wall. Like Foamcore or something. Then you'll easily see him and it might look nice too.
Eric, I think you might be confusing "background lighting" with "back lighting". We're not suggesting lighting the background, but instead angling a light in from the side or behind to back light the muscians. Big difference. A backlight on a subject will define the subject from the background and make them stand out, especially if the background is black.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 10:33 PM   #8
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Eric, I think you might be confusing "background lighting" with "back lighting". We're not suggesting lighting the background, but instead angling a light in from the side or behind to back light the muscians. Big difference. A backlight on a subject will define the subject from the background and make them stand out, especially if the background is black.
I wasn't confusing the two, I guess I just didn't distinguish which post that was in response to. :) I was referring to post #4 from Greg about splashing color on the wall.

I agree, a rim light would do a lot (you see, I even know the proper terms ;) but I think a different background color would help out quite a bit too. An outline is cool, but so is overall contrast.

Eric
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 01:32 AM   #9
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a rim light would do a lot (you see, I even know the proper terms ;) Eric
Very clever, very cheeky, but not quite right =)

I totally disagree that they need to change the background. If a black background was what they wanted to go with, no reason at all why it wouldn't work with proper lighting, and Greg's suggestion of a cookie pattern is a good one.
I certainly wouldn't take your suggestion of a white background. It would then most likely become problematic to make the background darker than the talent, considering the restrictions Oliver was faced with in terms of space and available lighting. Not only that, but dirt, dust, scratches, creases and whatever else would show up MUCH more on the white background, unless you want to overexpose the whole background. Opps!
A black background for video is a good choice, because you can set the level so its just a nice saturated black, even is some parts were a little grey or dusty.
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 01:51 AM   #10
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Most descriptions of back lights usually say something like 'also known as a rim light' =P

Anyway, I wasn't saying do the entire room in white, that would be horrendous. Just adding something, such as white, medium grey would work too, behind the drummer. Then you could splash color onto the background, as well as doing the backlight, or to work similarly to a back light. Yes bright white would be a bit strong most likely, but only if lit directly. A flag on the keylight would keep some of the light off that, and then a deep colored gel aimed at the panel, at an angle, through a cookie, a plant, whatever's around, might be kind of cool. Obviously a random white square will look out of place if the rest of the lighting was kept the same. There wouldn't be any dirt, dust, scratches, wrinkles on a brand new piece of foamcore, or at least I hope there wouldn't be! :)

A black background is an easy way out, sure. But to get a little creative with very few lights, some various other background colors could work nicely. Some dark grey sheets draped along the background, wrinkled and ruffled, would allow for some nice color splashes and be very inexpensive, and break up the typical black background quite nicely.

I've worked on plenty of public access live band programs and just have gotten a bit tired of the 4 or 5 guys jamming in front of a black drape look. Some ambitious groups would bring in some candles and some scarves and pin them to the backdrop (the scarves, not the candles ;) but overally, black is pretty boring, albeit easy and effective.

More cowbell!
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 02:07 AM   #11
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"What would some other options be to get that separation without making them move?"

Without changing the background, you need to get a light back there. Greg Boston's idea of a "kicker" might not work on a movie, but for a performance it should be just fine. You can also put a small light on a boom if you have one available. It is probably cheaper to move the musicians forward. If you need to save space, don't light with a softbox. Instead, bounce the light off the front wall or a white card on the front wall. That should save you a few feet but the light stand will still be in the way of the camera movement.

Even if you change the background, you still may need a back light so I would try the light first before spending money/time on the background.
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 04:15 AM   #12
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Most descriptions of back lights usually say something like 'also known as a rim light' =P
A rim light is used usually for interview or product situations... any DP I've worked with or know would talk of a "rim light" in the context of one subject, and is more akin to a "hair light".

Eric, you sound more like you're trolling to try and see if you can spot the wrong terminology, and I don't think you have. I think your lighting suggestions would look terrible. A piece of foam core just stuck in the background behind the drummer would look just stupid, colored light or no and no amount of type faces =) ;p =P or whatever are going to make your suggestions better. Think about what you are saying.. how are you going to place the foam core in there? On a stand? Leaning against the curtain on the floor? Even if you could hang it from fishing line from the ceiling or something, it would just be this white square just sitting there, and I'm sure it would distract the viewer eye from the forground.

Eric, a good DP can get creative while still using a black background. I find the remark its "taking the easy way out" more of a pot shot, and the tone of your responses cheeky ("I even know the right terminology"). Being a good DP is about knowing how to work with light, and work with what you have, not try and seem clever because you think you know more than everyone else. When you say you've gotten tired of the "black drape look" maybe its because you've reached your own creative limitations.

The suggestions of using a cookie (uh, ok Eric, Cucoloris, happy now?), back light, or kicker are way better.

I really hate how in this forum you try to put good advice out there, like really help someone out and put out some positive energy, and then someone just hops in and starts in with the crap. Its unfortunate, and its unproductive.

Oliver, I hope your next shoot goes well. I know how tough it can be when you have to shoot in tight quarters. We just finished shooting rooms in homes that had been done over by an interior designer, and a couple those were really small and tight... Post again if you shoot some more.
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 01:41 PM   #13
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Bert, I wasn't being negative at all and I'm not sure why you're resorting to insults now, but I was just trying to offer a few other suggestions. I'm sorry if you can't see it that way. All of your responses to me have been negative and you suggest I'm looking to correct people on terminology instead of offering advice. No one else has replied saying 'stop offering terrible advice, you're completely wrong on everything you've said'.

Oliver, I wish you the best with your project, and if you see some positive value in my suggestions about miking the drums with 1 additional mic to get a nice balanced sound of the entire band, at least I've done something positive.

Eric
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 06:55 PM   #14
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I'm looking to correct people on terminology instead of offering advice. Eric
Eric, maybe you simply don't know internet etiquette. So to make it clear, when you responded with "you see, I even know the proper terms ;)" it comes across to me as you're trying to say we were incorrect to use the term "backlight", and you're being cheeky about it. If that was not your intention, why didn't you just say "backlight" instead of making it clear to everyone that you felt "rim light" was the proper term? I take that as an insult.

Your second to last post talks about people "taking the easy way out" so I don't think your plea of innocence is legit. I don't even know where you're getting "insults" from, other than my saying that I think your idea of a whiteboard was stupid, and I stand behind that. I'm asking you, visualize what that would have looked like on Oliver's set. I whiteboard. Just hanging there. Behind the drummer. It would have just looked totally out of place, been a distraction, and to me, as a DP, a really bad idea.

I feel like you came on this thread trying to out do everyone else's comments. Wether you like it not, that's how you came across.

My previous post may seem harsh, but look at what you're saying before that... "easy way out".... "to get just a little creative". Eric, that's comes across as pretty condescending, as does your insincere "I'm sorry if you can't see that way". Take some ownership for how you word your posts, and in the future respond with a bit more maturity and thought of how your comments will be precieved by someone else.
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 07:12 PM   #15
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Eric, maybe you simply don't know internet etiquette. So to make it clear, when you responded with "you see, I even know the proper terms ;)" it comes across to me as you're trying to say we were incorrect to use the term "backlight", and you're being cheeky about it. If that was not your intention, why didn't you just say "backlight" instead of making it clear to everyone that you felt "rim light" was the proper term? I take that as an insult.

Your second to last post talks about people "taking the easy way out" so I don't think your plea of innocence is legit. I don't even know where you're getting "insults" from, other than my saying that I think your idea of a whiteboard was stupid, and I stand behind that. I'm asking you, visualize what that would have looked like on Oliver's set. I whiteboard. Just hanging there. Behind the drummer. It would have just looked totally out of place, been a distraction, and to me, as a DP, a really bad idea.

I feel like you came on this thread trying to out do everyone else's comments. Wether you like it not, that's how you came across.

My previous post may seem harsh, but look at what you're saying before that... "easy way out".... "to get just a little creative". Eric, that's comes across as pretty condescending, as does your insincere "I'm sorry if you can't see that way". Take some ownership for how you word your posts, and in the future respond with a bit more maturity and thought of how your comments will be precieved by someone else.
I said I knew the proper term to show *you* not that everyone else is wrong, but that I speak from experience as well. Do a search on rim light and back light, watch the DvCreators.net DV Enlightenment DVD, talk with photographers. Many people (though apparently all wrong) interchange the two terms. I wasn't trying to imply anyone else was using the wrong terminology here and apparently that rubbed you the wrong way.

I am not trying to put anyone down and it's interesting that no one else here has commented on my suggestions. But then, I think they've probably stopped reading by this point.

I don't troll, I understand Internet etiquette, having had Internet access since 1992. I've played in many bands and recorded many bands playing live in television studios and on stages and in clubs. Black backgrounds ARE easy, and they work. That does not make anyone lazy, if the tried and true works and looks good. But I was trying to offer some other inexpensive ideas to liven things up a bit, as others here are, or were, apparently.

You clearly have it out for me and I do not appreciate it. I will not be responding to this thread any longer, there is no point.
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