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Old September 16th, 2010, 08:51 AM   #1
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Reception Lighting

Sorry if this question has been asked many times before!

I started filming weddings a few months ago and as yet have not been using any lighting whatsoever during the reception. Due to the fact I am charging quite cheap prices, it hasn't really been a problem, and clients seem to be happy with the relatively dark first dance footage.

So.. I want to increase my prices eventually and so I really need to invest in better equipment. I think I'm going to start with lighting, but I have no idea what to buy. I don't really want to spend more than a couple of hundred pound.

Any advice on what I could buy would be great!

I use a Z1 and I'm thinking about buying the Sony HVL-20DW2, but I would really like one or maybe two standing lights aswell...

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Old September 16th, 2010, 10:43 AM   #2
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I am really not a big fan of on camera lights. I prefer some freestanding lights, but the catch with these is that they are more in the way than most videographers prefer to be. Your best bet is to find a set of lights that are relatively small and sneak them into corners or next to the DJ. That way it doesn't appear to be a huge setup.

Also, if the reception has mood lighting, you don't want to ruin it by washing out the dance floor. Try to get a set with dimmers and some diffusion will also help. I like Lowell lights and if you got the money, litepanels rock.

I am interested in what others think about this subject too, so I will be lurking.
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Old September 16th, 2010, 11:19 AM   #3
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I used to use external lights back when I had the FX1 and Z1.
It was to 500w in a soft box but sometimes I was told to turn them off by the caterer or the bride's mom.
Now that I have the fx1000 and the 7D I use only light (LED) on camera and will never go back.
and if I want to be creative I hold the light by hand to avoid direct light.
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Old September 16th, 2010, 04:34 PM   #4
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We carry a couple of Comer 1800 lights with us. We can either mount them on stands or on the camera. Some of the online demos (including YouTube) are not that great, and it's a shame because the lights perform brilliantly (a lot better then many online demos would make you think).

They use Sony compatible batteries and run for hours and don't get hot. They also have a built in dimmer.

If you are feeling a bit cheap then the 900 is also available, but I recommend the 1800s.
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Old September 16th, 2010, 05:19 PM   #5
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I'm kinda in the same boat as you James, and im using a V1, which is even worse in low-light! I gotta say though, intrusive lighting on the edges of the dance-floor would really kill the mood for the bride, groom and guests in my opinion. I know other videographers who don't bother and just make do with the capabilities of their camera and brighten in post if need be. I find the venue/dj lighting just helps create the atmosphere of the first dance and ensuing drunkenness. I haven't had a wedding yet where the lighting is a serious problem but I guess that's when a camera mounted emergency light would come in handy?
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Old September 16th, 2010, 05:50 PM   #6
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Hi Jordan

I only use freestanding lights (softbox with 4 x 50w CFL's) but only for the speeches. I found that if you do use a dimmable LED light on camera it works really well and you can effectively just light the B&G enough so you have a decent image...most venues are happy to lift the light level for speeches and cake cutting but always dim them for the first dance...that's why the on-cam light is there as some venues REALLY dim the lights so a non lit B&G would hardly even feature on the video....I just use a couple of cheap eBay ones (under $100) and they work beautifully without killing the mood!!

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Old September 16th, 2010, 06:17 PM   #7
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sounds like theres quite a difference of opinion!

think i might just go for an on camera light for now, and get some standing ones later on. do you reckon the Sony HVL-20DW2 would be ok, or would an LED light be better? the Comer 1800 looks interesting..

cheers for the posts
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Old September 16th, 2010, 06:56 PM   #8
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The Sony light which I had once is a very good light except for the fact that no matter what I did including using TuffSpun on it threw a rather harsh spot instead of a nice even flood. After I went back to my Anton Bauer with the softbox there was an immediately noticable difference. Now I use an LPMicro and while some don't like the light I love it and forgive the shortcomings for the light weight and lack of need for a big heavy battery on the light. In the 2+ years I've been using it I've never had a problem with either the light or the results but like any other piece of gear you have to know the linits of what you can and can't do with it or any light.
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
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Old September 16th, 2010, 07:47 PM   #9
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We've found the answer to Don's problem, - seven, yes seven layers of lighting parchment (doesn't burn, doesn't change the colour) inside the lamp. Mind, it knocks the light right back too but we use ours for fill for close interviews only.

In my view and experience there are only two ways to properly diffuse light a) bounce it but the amount you need to illuminate rockets or multiple (and I mean multiple) little lights spread all over. But this simply raises the overall light level. In both cases if you're lighting for portraiture you still need key, fill and back lights.
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Old September 19th, 2010, 09:32 PM   #10
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I use Comer 1800 lights both on camra and on light stand. Here's a video clip of first dance,

YouTube - Rima and Daniel's First Dance
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