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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old November 19th, 2007, 08:55 AM   #1
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Lighting

Anyone using any studio softbox lighting for receptions? We were thinking of using one for one of our Lowell studio lights, knocked down to about moonlight level. That way the couple would not know exactly where I was at if using an onboard light. Thoughts?

John
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Old November 19th, 2007, 09:09 AM   #2
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Wouldn't be powerful enough and a softbox is not only ostentatious, but also a bit of a health hazard depending on where you put it.
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Old November 19th, 2007, 10:00 AM   #3
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Hi John,

At Video 06 I saw the Greenwoods show an example of how they use a softbox at their receptions and at Expo 07 I saw how Jenny Lehman uses a light with an umbrella at her receptions. I made a post on the subject on another forum, so I'll just copy and paste it here.

Since August of 07 we started bring along a soft box for lighting at the reception. For those of you who have come along on the Wedding Observation, you have seen what it looks like.

I thought I would list the equipment we are using and show a brief sample of some raw footage using this technique.

Here's the gear.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...W_Softbox.html

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

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

I use this setup during the Grand Entrance, 1st Dance and Parent Dances, Toasts and Tosses. I communicate with the DJ so he knows when I will be using it and I emphasize that the combination of soft box and dimmer, it's not a blinding light. I also emphasize that I will not use it during the general party dancing.

I place the soft box up high, near the DJs speakers or lights. That way it just looks like an extension of his gear and it does not stick out. Most people don't even look at an object 8-10 feet in the air. I use the dimmer to gradually bring up the power. Without the dimmer it would go from nothing to 500 watts. With the dimmer it goes from nothing to about 250-300 watts, gradually. I usually have the dimmer around mid way to just above mid way.

By having the light up so high it does two things. First, the light covers a larger area, the entire dance floor, and two, it's not a distraction. Here's the key. 25 watts at eye level is much more obtrusive than 250 watts 10 feet in the air. Additionally, a soft box provides very even, soft light.

In this sample you will see that even the shadows are very soft, which shows the light source is soft and not harsh. The first clip was just before dark. Under the tent it was pretty dark. In the second portion, it was totally dark. There was a lighting shining from the house, but it did not provide much light on the dance floor. Remember, this is raw footage with dissolves placed between the three clips.

http://tulsaweddingvideos.com/video/SoftBoxLighting.wmv
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Old November 19th, 2007, 01:38 PM   #4
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Mark:
Thanks for the extensive feedback...exactly what I was looking for. In particular the dimmer switch is something I was going to try and rig myself but at $24 it's not worth the time and effort. I am going to go this route for wedding in December.

John
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Old November 19th, 2007, 10:18 PM   #5
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I 've been using a small rifa for a couple of years. Never had any problems - photographers love it - most of the guests think the dj bought it. Most reception halls are lit like warehouses - a couple of small rifas can really enhance the atmosphere. Always mount on a heavy c-stand with sandbags and gaffer tape to secure the cable.

just saw Marks list - I do the same except a smaller light and a beefier (c) stand. I prefer the smaller rifas because they can be lamped for 12V.

Mark is that an ungrounded dimmer? You can buy router dimmers from home depot for around the same price - much safer to use the ground. I built my own which are integrated into extension cords. I had a fire in a business I owned - very nearly bankrupted me - so I'm a bit of a safety nut.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 01:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Moon View Post
Mark:
Thanks for the extensive feedback...exactly what I was looking for. In particular the dimmer switch is something I was going to try and rig myself but at $24 it's not worth the time and effort. I am going to go this route for wedding in December.

John
Hi John,

You are welcome. I like this system so much better than just relying on our two on camera lights. I'm sure you will love it.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 01:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ralph View Post
I 've been using a small rifa for a couple of years. Never had any problems - photographers love it - most of the guests think the dj bought it. Most reception halls are lit like warehouses - a couple of small rifas can really enhance the atmosphere. Always mount on a heavy c-stand with sandbags and gaffer tape to secure the cable.

just saw Marks list - I do the same except a smaller light and a beefier (c) stand. I prefer the smaller rifas because they can be lamped for 12V.

Mark is that an ungrounded dimmer? You can buy router dimmers from home depot for around the same price - much safer to use the ground. I built my own which are integrated into extension cords. I had a fire in a business I owned - very nearly bankrupted me - so I'm a bit of a safety nut.
Hi Peter,

You are right, the photographers love it. I see how two smaller rifas would be better than my one rifa 55, especially when you consider you can run the smaller rifas on 12v. I already had a rifa 55, so that is what I bring. If I didn't already own a rifa 55, I would buy two rifa 44s. There is not that much of a price difference between one 55 and two 44s. The dimmer is ungrounded.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 01:53 PM   #8
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Mark - How do you power the riffa 44 on 12v? I'm guessing its a battery beltpack which would make it portable in a way?
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Old November 20th, 2007, 05:27 PM   #9
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Hi Zach,

Yes, you could power it with a battery belt. The advantage would be that you would not have to plug in into the wall, band or DJs power strip.

In the reception venues I have been in since using the rifa, I have not had a problem with finding an outlet, but I know that some older venues do have limited outlets.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 05:44 PM   #10
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I use the rifa pro package at my day job, but have always had them powered by the nearest outlet. I am very interested in going your route with the rifa 44 but do not know what kind of battery beltpack is needed. Hate to be a pest but any recommendations as to what I should use? Thanks.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 06:19 PM   #11
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Hi Zach,

I have only had experience with two battery belts. Both were NRGs. An 880 Power Pro Plus and a 970 Power Max. They are pricey because they are relatively light weight. The 880 weighs about 5 lbs and the 970 weighs about 8 lbs. The 880 is around $375 and the 970 is around $500 plus.

Because the belt will not be around your waist, but at the base of a light stand, I would look for a battery belt that would be heavier, but cheaper.
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