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


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Old October 13th, 2008, 10:41 AM   #1
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Reception Lighting

I'm about to shoot a reception where the only lighting is going to be a gobo light on the dance floor and the walls will be washed in a blue light. The table center pieces will be lit with pin lighting.
I am bringing these lights- The Wireless RECEPTION LIGHT by Darrell Boeck to the party. Any pointers will be appreciated.
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Old October 13th, 2008, 12:29 PM   #2
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- position the light so it isn't facing the guests if at all possible

- position it up against a wall if possible (for safety reasons)

- use the barn doors to keep the light where you want it

- be aware of casting your own shadow on the subjects while filming

- try to turn the light on BEFORE you need it, so that it doesn't draw attention


Hope that helps a bit.
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Old October 13th, 2008, 05:10 PM   #3
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That's a tough one.

It's got me thinking, and I don't mean to derail the thread...

A few years back, I saw an interview with a Gaffer on The Real World. For scenes where cast members went to a dark bar or restaurant, he a small, homemade, battery operated, upside down-Chinese Lantern that he would place on the center of the table to illuminate the faces of the characters. It gave off a nice soft light and looked nice enough that it could pass as part of the decor. Any know if something like this is available for sale commercially? I always thought it would be perfect for wedding shoots in situations like this.

Now to your problem, Tom. I would take Travis's advice. - Expecially about turning it on early to avoid attention. Also, a small camera-mount light (I use a dimable Frezzi Micro would help. They can also mount on small light stand.
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Old October 13th, 2008, 06:02 PM   #4
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I am VERY interested in how those lights work when you are done working with them, some sample footage and a review would be awesome.

As for advice, I would doe exactly as Travis said to do, It sounds like he's done this a few times.
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Old October 13th, 2008, 08:58 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Louis Maddalena View Post
I am VERY interested in how those lights work when you are done working with them, some sample footage and a review would be awesome.

As for advice, I would doe exactly as Travis said to do, It sounds like he's done this a few times.
I'll post the First Dance. Shoot is Oct 25.

This will be the first time to use these puppies. Thought I would place one next to the crane and another one at 90 degrees just off of the dance floor. They are pretty mobile, so I should be able to move one over by the cake when it's time for that event as well.
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Old October 13th, 2008, 11:19 PM   #6
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Yeah I'm pretty interested to see what you get. I'm currently using a light that has two 300w bulbs, so depending on the situation I can go with 300w or 600w. I'm not sure a 35w or even a 75w bulb would do what I wanted it to do.
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Old October 14th, 2008, 02:25 AM   #7
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I'm currently using a light that has two 300w bulbs, so depending on the situation I can go with 300w or 600w.
How in heavens name do you keep the mood with so much light? Isn't every guest yelling: "turn that light off!" ???
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Old October 14th, 2008, 12:18 PM   #8
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Kees, I used to have the same mentality. I refused to use a light because I didn't want to break the mood. However, if you use a light properly, you can actually enhance the mood.

The key for me is to keep it out of the guest's eyes as much as possible, and only use it for the special dances. I had one reception where the guests didn't seem to care at all about the light, so I left it on (300w setting) for everything. If you use the light properly it actually highlights the dance floor and creates MORE mood by separating it from the rest of the room, which is perfect for say .. the first dance.

Personally, I like it much better than using an on-camera light, since those do seem to make people more uncomfortable.
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Old October 15th, 2008, 02:45 AM   #9
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You are very right about the on-camera light. It makes people feel uncomfortable most of the time. But when I throw my 75 watt light in, directing it to the ceiling to get a smooth lighting, most of the time people begin to complain direct after the first dance. "Hey, put off that light...", "You spoil the mood with your light...". I have a strong feeling that it has to do with them feeling uncomfortable being filmed in the first place. As long as it is B&G being filmed everything is OK but when they are filmed themselves it suddenly isn't accepted anymore.
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Old October 15th, 2008, 12:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Tom Sessions View Post
I'll post the First Dance. Shoot is Oct 25.

This will be the first time to use these puppies. Thought I would place one next to the crane and another one at 90 degrees just off of the dance floor. They are pretty mobile, so I should be able to move one over by the cake when it's time for that event as well.
I think that you'll love the overall look.

I built my 2 reception light kits from arts form B&H (same as the Reception Light). I did order 2 remote controls from Darrell at Reception Light though. The only difference is that I use 2 large Becor Lead Acid battery belts at the base of the lights stand and can run for over 5 hours if needed. The belts add great weight to the base, so they won't tip over, but are light enough to move if needed.

I run 2 Reception light on both sides of the dance floor near either the DJ or stage for band. I have also found that placing one light on opposite ends of the dance floor (front right and rear left) can produce some nice even lighting.

Everyone thinks that they are part of the light show for the DJ or band. Also the overhead lights add some great depth of field to your overall image. Not flat, like with only using on camera lighting.

The lights are out of the line of sight for guests as they are 10-11 feet up.
I use 50-75 watt bulbs in each, so they aren't powerful enough to overpower the DJs lights, but give just enough light to give me the ability to not run an on camera light and run at 15db on FX1s (which is clean). Or if needed we use Sony dimmable HVL-LBP LED lights for some fill light.

The lights are tuned on before the reception starts, and turned off during dinner, and back on again after dinner. Noone bats an eye towards the lights.

I worked a wedding last month, where the dancing was in a tent with only a string of rope lights on both ends of the tent and some votive candles placed on a fountain in the center of the tent. The DJ had no light. So if it wasn't for my 2 lights, the guests wouldn't know who they were even dancing with. We still used onbaord lights for fill, but they were dimmed to their lowest 10w setting.

Unfortunately I am not editing these yet. I have one video to finish before I get to the first one. But I have viewed the footage, and I love the look of all of these videos.

Off camera lighting is the best way to go.
Self powered like Reception light even better, as there are no cables to run. 35-50 watts are more than enough for most. A 300 watt light is too much for my taste, as I don't want to ruin the ambiance of the evening, just subtlety enhance it enough to produce great looking video footage.

I am a control freak who likes to be in control of as much as possible so this goes from lighting (which will in most cases be turned way down by the venue), to my audio (which I mic the venue with recorders and mics. Don't trust the DJ enough for board feeds), to mobile support (either tripod, monopod, or even better DVMulti Rig support. Since I can move freely, noone blocks my shot, as I can move and reframe at a moments notice).
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Old October 15th, 2008, 01:08 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Kees van Duijvenbode View Post
"Hey, put off that light...", "You spoil the mood with your light..."
This must be a regional or cultural thing. As I have never had a complaint from a single guest when using either onbaord or off camera lighting.

But I also have to agree about off camera lighting being better for guests. When your light is mounted high up out of their line of sight and angled downwards it creates a nicer image and more relaxed environment for them.

I can't tell you how much easier it is to get candid footage from guests without them running away from you wehn they see this bright orb moving across the dance floor in their direction.
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Old October 15th, 2008, 04:19 PM   #12
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Tom its better to buy an umbrella reflector; much better for the these occasions and use a dimmer as well so you control the light.
http://www.adorama.com/images/large/PTSL54.jpg

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Old October 15th, 2008, 04:42 PM   #13
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I have been thinking about lightning long and hard myself, I don't like to blow the venue out with light however shooting without light is not an option either, there are no catch lights in speakers eyes and the production suffers in all without any light. The key thing many tend to forget is that one can paint with light to create the scene you want. As wedding videographers we are more than just camera men, we have to be sound engineers, editors, director of photography, stylists, business strategists, the go to guy when things go wrong and lighting specialists. When I'm asked about reception lighting there really is no "one" product that will do it all. I have been toying with the idea of using "stage" lighting to enhance the mood of a wedding rather than compromise it. There really is no reason that the only lights you use should be white light, instead think outside of the box and throw in some colour, effects, and always watch out for the guests, no one like light in there eyes even if it only 10W, I doubt this is cultural, bright light hurts. Don't go and buy expensive lights because they are expensive, light is light in the digital world, you can go wild with anything at your disposal. Some of the lights in my kit is standard 500W work lights ($5), beautiful results.
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Old October 15th, 2008, 04:59 PM   #14
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Tom its better to buy an umbrella reflector; much better for the these occasions and use a dimmer as well so you control the light.
http://www.adorama.com/images/large/PTSL54.jpg

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I have an umbrella reflector and a nice softbox as well, but I'd rather use the barndoors because those allow me to control where my light is going. A reflector helps diffuse the light, but then it spills everywhere. Not saying it shouldn't be used .. just that I prefer to have control over where the light goes.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 06:10 PM   #15
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[QUOTE=Louis Maddalena;950831]I am VERY interested in how those lights work when you are done working with them, some sample footage and a review would be awesome.

I posted this video on another thread, but I thought I would follow through on your request as well:

www.bluestarvideo.com/files/video/dragon.wmv

I would recommend using the 75 watt bulb and removing the defuser lenses. Use these lights for the main events and turn them off when you don't need them as the battery lasts about an hour at that wattage level.
Pretty simple to set up and works like a charm.
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