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


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Old January 19th, 2011, 11:52 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Michael Simons View Post
I find that 2 lights, 10-12 feet in the air will definitely ruin the ambiance of a room. Nevermind it's an insurance hazard. Plus, now you are blinding everyone on the dance floor. With an on-cam light, you're only blinding 1 or 2. ;-) Many banquet halls I work in, there is absolutely no room to even think about setting up 2 light stands. Believe me, I do not want to use on-cam lights and I only use them when the DJ is making the room pink/blue (which the bride is paying him for). But for people to say "never" use on-cam light, that is just not feasible at a wedding where you are covering the entire reception.
Hi Michael,

Here is proof that two 75 watt Reception Lights on 12ft lights stands do not ruin the ambiance of the room.
Chrissy and John - Dreams do come true - LSD Photography Blog

Scroll about half way down until you see a room shot of the reception with a pink wash on the walls. Look center stage and then on each side of the stage you will see two larger light fixtures. Those are the lighting guys lights. Look closely at the outside of the two larger fixtures and you will see a smaller light. Those are my Reception Lights.

Then if you scroll down to a couple of the first dance shots, tell me if the ambiance of the room is ruined. You can see how in the 1st first dance shot that the Reception Lights acts as a hair light for the photographer. If you scroll down to a couple of the party dance shots and I can't honestly say if my reception lights were on or off at the time. Then scroll on down to the shot of the boquet toss. I know my Reception Lights were on for that moment.

In my opinion these pictures prove that using two 75 watt Reception Lights on 12 ft. stands does not ruin the ambiance of the room, and oh by the way, the photographers love the Reception Lights. We work some really high end events and I have never been asked to turn off my Reception Lights. Most people don't even notice that they are on.
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Old January 19th, 2011, 01:04 PM   #17
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Homemade dimmers really help to ease the transition from a dark dance floor and podium to a lit dance floor and podium. I never have had one person complain about having either my Arri 650s come on or my smaller pro-lights when dimmed up and dimmed down. Cost about $75 to build at home depot :). The HARSH turning on and off is what usually gets guests in an uproar.

Mark, totally agree with you. Off-camera lighting does not ruin ambiance if done right. The issue comes when videographers "flood" the dance floor rather than artfully light the dance floor. There are three camps here that the last discussion on lighting has shown, those who feel that on-camera lighting is the way to go, those who feel that off-camera lighting is the way to go, and those who feel using a combination of both tailored to the situation is the way to go. It got a bit heated when those who felt on-camera was the only viable situation due to a myriad of logistical and hazardous obstacles turned them away from off-camera lighting. I'm of the "use both" camp and found that there's no way to persuade the on-camera lighting camp otherwise as the hazard of lights falling on a guest is too much pressure for them. In the end, it was a whatever floats your boat ending : DSLR on camera light

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Old January 19th, 2011, 01:09 PM   #18
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"Here is proof that two 75 watt Reception Lights on 12ft lights stands do not ruin the ambiance of the room.
Chrissy and John - Dreams do come true - LSD Photography Blog"

Definately better than with on camera light.
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Old January 19th, 2011, 02:00 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Mark Von Lanken View Post
Hi Michael,

Here is proof that two 75 watt Reception Lights on 12ft lights stands do not ruin the ambiance of the room.
Chrissy and John - Dreams do come true - LSD Photography Blog

Scroll about half way down until you see a room shot of the reception with a pink wash on the walls. Look center stage and then on each side of the stage you will see two larger light fixtures. Those are the lighting guys lights. Look closely at the outside of the two larger fixtures and you will see a smaller light. Those are my Reception Lights.

Then if you scroll down to a couple of the first dance shots, tell me if the ambiance of the room is ruined. You can see how in the 1st first dance shot that the Reception Lights acts as a hair light for the photographer. If you scroll down to a couple of the party dance shots and I can't honestly say if my reception lights were on or off at the time. Then scroll on down to the shot of the boquet toss. I know my Reception Lights were on for that moment.

In my opinion these pictures prove that using two 75 watt Reception Lights on 12 ft. stands does not ruin the ambiance of the room, and oh by the way, the photographers love the Reception Lights. We work some really high end events and I have never been asked to turn off my Reception Lights. Most people don't even notice that they are on.
hey Mark. I agree, these lights do not ruin the ambiance at this wedding and this was a very tight room, so this was a great example. Thanks for sending it! But what if the walls weren't so close to the dance floor, where would you set up the lights? Would they still be against a wall, maybe 30 feet away from the dance floor? Then the light would be shining on guests as they are seated at their tables.
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Old January 19th, 2011, 02:28 PM   #20
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Placement of off camera lights is key.
I also believe that Fresnel type lights would suit better for larger halls as they throw a narrow beam that will only light the dance floor without killing the ambience and if placed high and facing away from the guests (towards the dance floor) in a cross lighting configuration they are going to be excelent for large reception halls.
We usualy light the reception like this with remote speedlights for our photography (we do both and basicaly I'm the photographer) and leave video with natural light but fresnel lights could be the solution that will fit both photo & video.

Till lately fresnel lihgts were out of my budget but the latest Chinese copies come at the right price so I may end up getting a couple. fresnel light as arri items - Get great deals on Cameras Photo items on eBay.com!
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Old January 19th, 2011, 10:17 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Michael Simons View Post
hey Mark. I agree, these lights do not ruin the ambiance at this wedding and this was a very tight room, so this was a great example. Thanks for sending it! But what if the walls weren't so close to the dance floor, where would you set up the lights? Would they still be against a wall, maybe 30 feet away from the dance floor? Then the light would be shining on guests as they are seated at their tables.
Hi Michael,

You are welcome. The few times that I have had a dance floor away from the walls the DJ placed his speakers near the dance floor so I just placed my Reception Lights by his speaker stands. I even put the legs of the Reception Lights so they were next to the speaker legs and then gaffer taped them together.

Now in the scenario that you presented, the Reception Lights would not work well. In that case I would recommend the fresnel lights like Spiros recommends.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 04:35 AM   #22
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Denny, what do you do if the DJ has a light show all night during the reception? Do you flood out his light show with you light stands or do you just record everyone with pink/blue (whatever color the DJ disco light are) skin tones? I can't see how you can flood out a disco light show that the bride has paid for, so if you don't have an on-camera light, everyone must be pink or blue.
If everyone in the disco has pink/blue skin tones isn't that what you want to film? The light show at the disco is part of the event you are recording.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 11:16 AM   #23
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If everyone in the disco has pink/blue skin tones isn't that what you want to film? The light show at the disco is part of the event you are recording.
Sure, you could film everyone pink/blue but I don't believe that is what the bride intended. When she is hiring a DJ to use those lights, it's for room effect, not for skin tones. Check out the sample photos that Mark posted on this thread, the photographer used a flash, therefore no one is pink.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 12:56 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Michael Simons View Post
Sure, you could film everyone pink/blue but I don't believe that is what the bride intended. When she is hiring a DJ to use those lights, it's for room effect, not for skin tones. Check out the sample photos that Mark posted on this thread, the photographer used a flash, therefore no one is pink.
TBH I think that those photos are spoiled by the flash & other white lights as it looks like someone turned the house lights on full mid way through the dancing.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 01:12 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Michael Simons View Post
Sure, you could film everyone pink/blue but I don't believe that is what the bride intended. When she is hiring a DJ to use those lights, it's for room effect, not for skin tones. Check out the sample photos that Mark posted on this thread, the photographer used a flash, therefore no one is pink.
Michael, while I agree with you that the brides intention was not to make everyone look pink or yellow, she will have to agree that what you do is not simple "videography" but something more advanced closer to cinema. After all, have you ever seen a movie were they had on camera lights?

There is nothing else screaming "video" more than on camera lights.

If you don't want to market yourself as a videographer but rather as something more advanced you may have to back that up with your shooting style too.

Last edited by Spiros Zaharakis; January 20th, 2011 at 01:21 PM. Reason: corrected definitions
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Old January 20th, 2011, 01:46 PM   #26
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Michael, while I agree with you that the brides intention was not to make everyone look pink or yellow, she will have to agree that what you do is not simple "videography" but something more advanced closer to cinema. After all, have you ever seen a movie were they had on camera lights?

There is nothing else screaming "video" more than on camera lights.

If you don't want to market yourself as a videographer but rather as something more advanced you may have to back that up with your shooting style too.
I think once the reception dancing starts, we are all pretty much just videographers at that point. In a movie, everything is set up around the camera's positioning, it doesn't work that way at a wedding.

Hollywood: "Lights, Camera, Action"!
Wedding: "Action, Lights, Camera".
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Old January 20th, 2011, 01:49 PM   #27
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If you don't want to market yourself as a videographer but rather as something more advanced you may have to back that up with your shooting style too.
Quoted for straight up truth.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 02:07 PM   #28
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Quoted for straight up truth.
Randy, we are talking strictly the reception. I think once the dancing starts, there's not much of a difference between a cinematographer and a videographer...is there?
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Old January 20th, 2011, 02:35 PM   #29
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Randy, we are talking strictly the reception. I think once the dancing starts, there's not much of a difference between a cinematographer and a videographer...is there?
There's plenty of difference to me. Just because the dancing has started doesn't mean I'm going to start to do dutch angles with creep zooms or have them start dancing at the camera. I'm still going to shoot in sequence as well as work with the light to the best of my ability. The differentiation comes from the approach. If you approach the dancing in a cinematic way thinking like a cinematographer would, I'm sure you'd get different results than someone who approached it as a videographer and just was happy to capture the moment.

Nothing wrong with the latter approach at all, just working from a cinematographer stand point requires more thinking and more work. Sometimes I just want to shoot it and "cover" it rather than try and do some story telling ;).

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Old January 24th, 2011, 01:35 AM   #30
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I use the Comer light both on camera and off on light stand. Check out this video start at 0:45.


Also check out this article contributed by Mark Von Lanken on using the Comer 1800 light off camera

Off Camera Lighting with the Comer 1800 on Light Stand | L.A. Color Blog

Thanks Mark for writing up the article.
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