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Techniques for Independent Production
The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.


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Old January 14th, 2002, 03:46 PM   #16
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Cheers guys for all the help, it now means I will have to invest in a lighting kit, light meter and up my budget a little bit, but any way it will be worth it in the end.

Thanks Chris for help with the -3db question, it answered the question and it was something I was expecting.

Little tip try using a Cokin P series filter, far more cheaper than Canon own, and come in a varity of effects.

Chris I also hope that my name is alright, if you have'nt worked it out its Ed Smith.

Ed

I sent a message before this but it did not seem to appear. Sorry if this is repeated!
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Old January 15th, 2002, 09:34 AM   #17
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I managed to fish out my dads old SLR light meter, but how do I know what ISO/ ASA setting to put in it? Dose the XL1 have a standard ISO/ ASA setting (100/ 200/400/800 etc)?

This light meter I have to set the ISO/ ASA level and turn the aperture dial to find the best shutter for it, would this be any good? If not can somebody advise me on what type would be best?

All the best

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Old January 15th, 2002, 09:46 AM   #18
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See "XL1 ASA Rating, Parts One & Two," under Camera Head in the XL1 Watchdog Articles Menu.
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Old January 15th, 2002, 09:53 AM   #19
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Cheers Chris.

Its a great help, I must commend you on such a fantastic website, with out it I don't think I would have brought the camera!!

What do people prefer, Red Heads, Blondes or Lilliput?

Apart from the wattage what are the differences, which ones would be best for lighting, a broard area outdoors?

Ed

Last edited by Ed Smith; January 15th, 2002 at 03:28 PM.
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Old May 19th, 2002, 12:46 AM   #20
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One of the regulars here sent me an Email asking about more information on shooting with natural light and requesting any books on lighting. His question was prompted by my earlier post on Nestor Almendros. Here's my reply.

Ellis,

I had forgotten I had placed a message about lighting in DVInfo. In fact I just got the Almendros book. I had to wait for two months before Amazon found a used copy. I recall reading the book when it was first published. It's an elegantly written book told informally in the first person. Almendros takes the reader through all his films in chronological order beginning with his early experimental films in Cuba. Although it's not quite a "how to" book, Nestor is full of tips and ideas. One can't help but pickup some of his techniques. I highly recommend it as interesting reading if for no other reason. Check out Amazon and have them look for a used copy. I paid $20.

I can't really recommend any particular book on lighting. There are many but they all seem to miss the mark - they are either too narrow in scope or too broad. The Almendros book is good in that it pulls you into his influences which he translates into his personal lighting techniques. He talks a great deal about Vermeer and how he used light in his paintings.

I'm currently trying to write an illustrated article for DV Watchdog based on my experience with MiniDV, directing, and lighting. [Chris, trust me, I will get that article written.] The short of it is that it's either all or nothing when it comes to lighting. It's best to try to use available light with just the barest use of instruments - natural lamps, white board reflectors and the like. Once you begin to add light then you've got to go all the way and you'll soon find yourself right where you didn't want to go. This is what, by necessity, we ended up doing in our shoot.

It's really all a matter of experimentation, of trial and error. I've found the XL-1 cameras not to be the best when it comes to dealing with low lighting no matter what anyone or the specs say. Those cameras need as much light as you can supply. Even with lighting instruments, we often found ourselves shooting wide open and at a +6db just to get an acceptable picture. We also had to do quite a bit of brightening in post.

I hope this has been helpful. I know Chris would rather keep this kind of dialog up on the board where everyone can benefit. Feel free to continue the chat on the site.
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Old May 25th, 2002, 12:42 PM   #21
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About the name thing. I'm Josh Bass, and I'm an alcoholic. . .wait sorry. . .videographer. If there's an easy way for you to change the name, I can further annoy you with silly questions using the name my mother gave me. I put the user name because the form asked for one. . .if it had said real name, I would have put that.
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Old May 25th, 2002, 12:44 PM   #22
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Also, about the lighting thing. . .I shot this little demo reel recently around my house, just to show someone how I shot, and I kind of liked the look of using the available light. Am I alone, or do I just have bad judgment?
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Old May 26th, 2002, 05:14 AM   #23
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$30 usd worklights

I light with 500w halogen worklights (they come two to a stand, so it's essentially 1000w) that I got from Wal-Mart for $30.oo. Has anyone else tried this method, particularly people who have also used more "pro" setups? I'd be interested in knowing how they compare.

This method has worked fine for me thus far, but the project I'm working on is a little minimalist anyway (a mockumentary). Now I just need to figure out how to rig some barn doors that can handle the heat that the lights throw off.

-Shawn McBee

P.S. As far as the name thing, I'm JediBugs all over the internet and have been since I dialed in on that 14.4kbps modem oh-so-long ago. It's habit and easy to remember when you always log in with the same name.
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Old May 27th, 2002, 03:24 AM   #24
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Am I correct when I assume that the lightmeter (when used for
video) is primarely used to measure contrast? So that you know
your not over or under-exposing?

Okay. I also got a question for you people with Lowel light-kits:
if I can only afford to buy one kit (with 3 or 4 lights in them),
which one should I get? They will be used to light indoor primarely

Should I also get bounce bords, reflectors (gold, silver?)

I just don't have the money to buy more than one of these kits.
It will probably get even more expensive because they have to
ship it to me (am glad Lowel does have european power
connections available).

Any thoughts? Suggestions?

Thanks!
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Old May 27th, 2002, 04:42 AM   #25
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jedibugs:
I've used a friends 500w worklight set up, much like you described, when I needed all the light I could muster on a shoot. Well, the lights didn't do much. Their color temperature was much warmer than my tungsten 1k ArriLites. They just didn't fit in with my bank of Arri's.

Now it doesn't mean that you can't use them for any film work. They're good enough for simple lighting schemes. They are a little weird to work with, but I'm sure you can come up with some creative solutions.

Rob:
I'd get their Ambi kit or something around that. It all depends on your budget. These kits are small, the lights are small and are very versatile. The great thing about the Tota's is that you can put a 1k lamp in them. That kit comes with EVERYTHING you might need, and some things you might not. You might also like the Tota/Omni Core kit. Download their catalogue and check out the kits. But I suggest the Totas and Omnis. Small and a lot of power.

You can't really go wrong with Lowel on small/medium productions. I used Lowels in pro shoots, bluescreen work. I'd also advise looking on ebay for used items or kits. That's where I sold my Ambi Kit.

Bounce cards you can get an art store, use foam core. Or you can get a photoflex, with gold on one side and white on the other.

As for light meters you can use them to check overall ambient light and certain light details to keep a constant light exposure to match shots or an entire scene. Generally you know when you're over/under exposing through the view finder.
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Old May 27th, 2002, 06:21 AM   #26
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I've found that a good alternative to the gold & silver reflector screens are the sunshades you buy to put in your windshield to protect your dash from the sun (not the cardboard ones, but the ones that collapse into a little bundle and FWOOP open when you need them). They're esentially the same thing, only a bit smaller and come in a variety of colors like silver, white, gold, I even have some chrome-like shiney ones.

Thanks for the advice Justin. I had noticed the warm look, which has worked pretty well on my projects just far, but I wonder how well a blue or green gel would negate that?

-Shawn
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Old May 27th, 2002, 10:26 AM   #27
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Justin,

Thanks. I'll take a look at those you mentioned. Why did you
sell your Ambi?

Thanks again!
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Old May 27th, 2002, 12:40 PM   #28
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I needed heavy duty lights, that I could easily cut down with cookies, flags, and doors. That is the one thing that Totas and Omnis are not well suited for, easy drop-in cookies. They have a specialized scrim system. The drawback is that the Arris are double the cost.

I was also upgrading pretty much everything in my setup. Bogen head to Sachtler, Lowel to Arri, VX1000 to DV500 to mini35.

I started out much like you Rob, weekend warrior. Now I'm "full time". This year, my accountant tells me, "Just call me the moment you think you'll break even."

Ha.

Okay, perhaps I should stop writing long answers to short questions. This is like online therapy.
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Old May 27th, 2002, 07:57 PM   #29
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No! Don't stop writing long answers to short questions! And I'm going to need to see you at least three times a week for the next five years.
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Old May 28th, 2002, 02:58 AM   #30
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Thank you Justin! Your answers are invaluable, thanks!
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