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Old February 16th, 2011, 10:52 AM   #1
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Lighting for Reception and Dance Floor

What specific brand/type/model/watts of lighting do you use when couple is dancing, and how many lights? i know some use dedo lights but they did not specify type. also, if there are uplights, and accent lighting setup, does this change the lights you use? I searched the forums but can't get a straight answer. Thanks.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 11:05 AM   #2
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I believe the reason you won't find a straight answer is due to the fact that many different videographers have various preferences. I feel for my style of shooting, I want to provide just enough light to allow a lower ISO usage on my 60Ds.

I use Comer 1800's on 12 foot stands to ensure I get both enough light and a high spread of light. As mentioned previously, the higher you can get the light, the better. This is the main reason why I say no way to on camera lights. This of course means you have to both prepare ahead of time and be strategic in your placement of lighting.

Also, if you are able to get the lights up to the 12 foot mark, you will have nice even light and it will not harshly blind or draw attention.

On camera lighting is easier to use, due the fact you just mount it and turn it on/dim up or down. However, the lights can often be harsh, blinding, and produce nasty shadows.

So chalk me up for a vote on two comer lights or equivalent, mounted off camera on high stands.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 12:01 AM   #3
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Here is a link to a thread about on camera and off camera lighting. Warning!!! On camera vs. off camera lighting is almost as bad as asking which camera or which NLE software should I use. ;-)
2011 LED Event Lighting Options?
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Old February 17th, 2011, 01:37 AM   #4
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Erwin,

Ever consider a DSLR with a fast lens instead for these low light situations? The whole point of dimming lights on the dance floor is for ambience. When we crash in and light the place up like a christmas tree we do two things in most cases. One - kind of spoil the mood, and Two - create a false representation of the event, where near objects are lit up and backgrounds are dark.

Really one of the best aspects of DSLR is the natural quality of the image in as far as lighting is concerned. Granted a fast lens can create challenges with focus - but push the iso and go only as wide (say f1.4 - 2.8) as needed with the aperture. It can create some phenomenal images.

Just a thought...
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Old February 17th, 2011, 02:07 AM   #5
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Ken, you're absolutely right. It's simply not your right to inflict your needs on the couple's chosen mood or theme, the client remember?

Frankly, Erwin either get your equipment right as Ken suggests or learn your craft. Discover how to use silhouettes, backlighting, pool lighting (ie shoot the couple moving unseen perhaps from one pool of light to the next - the audience isn't daft, they know people can't be seen in the dark). Lighting the dance floor isn't our job.

Dances are very rarely in total darkness, but if you have to use light, we've found that 3W single LED maglites, with the lens heavily attacked with wire wool fit nicely into the microphone mounts and provide enough light for our cameras to "see". They provide a nice lighting source for reverse angle silhouettes if the cameras are on opposite sides of the couple but have almost no effect on the actual scene and are very inexpensive. In short, anything that's noticeable to the audience is too much.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 09:44 AM   #6
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Hey fellas,

I have to disagree with not putting lights at all.

no dslr or film camera with the best lenses will give you a great image when the dance floor is not lid properly enough. When the venue switch off all the lights, your best bet is to light it just enough for your camera and not ruining the mood.

You don't have to use big lights. We use a 250w lowel light placed as far away as we can for backlighting and sometimes we use a comer 1800 for fill lights when necessary.

When we light it properly, the dance floor would look great even in my eye. I think everyone would actually appreciate the lighting that we use instead of annoyed by it. Especially when they use a smoke machine. Smokes without any light looks horrible and zombie-like

When the dance floor is not lid at all, its not because the venue wants to create the mood. They just simply don't have the proper lighting setup for it. The best venues would already be equipped with proper lighting setup, which in that case we would not need to put up any lights whatsoever.

my 2 cents

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Old February 17th, 2011, 10:35 AM   #7
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Great point Susanto. I have experienced the same thing, the venue simply doesn't have a good inbetween setting. Usually it's all or none for their lighting. For example, most tents with lighting will just have an on or off setting. If you are objective in your lighting style, then the lighting can actually improve the mood rather than spoil it and you can get great footage.

Simply stating that lighting ruins a mood and that you should work with what you have seems like hogwash to me. If a bride has come to me wanting video and is asking me to produce a piece of art for her, I am going to do what is required and that does not mean you spoil anything. One key point is to make sure they are aware. I inform during consultations that if needed I may use lighting to enhance the video. They are always understanding and put their trust into my skills to not be the obvious pink elephant in the room.

Debate continue.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 12:09 PM   #8
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Jeff,

I wholeheartedly agree that some venue lighting is butt ugly and needs to be improved. Some venues have very nice lighting that is too low and virtually impossible to film in without either major gain, additional lighting, or fast lenses. If you're happy with your way of fixing things, then by all means, I wouldn't argue.

But when you tell the couple that you're going to provide lighting to make it look good, then you are taking on a new responsibility as lighting director for the reception.

Personally, I prefer a DSLR with fast lenses. I don't have to drag extra equipment or worry about someone kicking over a lightstand. And when you nail the focus, you get some beautiful bokeh which is an added bonus.

This is just my experience since switching to DSLR.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 03:23 PM   #9
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My approach is that more light gives better colour & beautiful images. Have you ever seen a Hollywood movie about a wedding shot in low light? They are all brilliantly lit. I use 3x 800W Redheads, 1x 600 LED, 2x Z96 LEDs. I turn on as many lights as I can during speeches, formalities and back off between speeches.

Bouncing lights against surfaces helps soften them, I also try to keep them in corners which enhances the atmosphere. Sometimes it's so dark the guests are grateful when I turn on my lights, who ever gave brides the idea that pitch dark = atmosphere has it all screwed up.

For the dance floor I find that placing a light close to the floor and bouncing it off gives the floor a radiant glow however when it comes to lighting it's best to experiment with different styles until you find one that works for you.
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Old February 18th, 2011, 03:24 AM   #10
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Just a thought about DSLRs and low light. If they are so good as not to need any additional light why do photographers use flash when they shoot the dance floor?
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Old February 18th, 2011, 06:45 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Kilroy View Post
Just a thought about DSLRs and low light. If they are so good as not to need any additional light why do photographers use flash when they shoot the dance floor?
photographers don't have to use the flash, but their photos come out better if they do..same thing with video DSLR, you don't need a light but your image comes out better if you have it.
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Old February 18th, 2011, 07:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Simons View Post
photographers don't have to use the flash, but their photos come out better if they do..same thing with video DSLR, you don't need a light but your image comes out better if you have it.
Lighting is not just about ensuring that shots aren't under-exposed. Not that an on camera flash necessarily does much in the way of sculpting to improve the illusion of depth.
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Old February 18th, 2011, 07:42 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
Lighting is not just about ensuring that shots aren't under-exposed. Not that an on camera flash necessarily does much in the way of sculpting to improve the illusion of depth.
I think George was just trying to pick on DSLR shooters. ;-)
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Old February 18th, 2011, 08:21 AM   #14
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Well spotted Michael (wink).

No, really I know that fast still camera lenses will require less light to resolve more image than most lenses fitted to the average video camera, but the quality of the image will still depend on there being some light. If you have little or no hand in the setting and controlling the lighting of the room then some on hand (or camera) light is helpful, as in the use of flash for stills photographers.
A lot of the discussion around this subject seems to be based on theory and bears little resemblance to the real-life situations I encounter at most wedding venues I get to.

By the way I'm not a member of the DSLR apartheid party, after all it's only another tool in the box and those who do use them to good effect are achieving some admirable work, I can only compliment their ability to use such an unsuitable tool and obtain good results.
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Old February 18th, 2011, 08:28 AM   #15
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I agree with this, everyone raves about the low light capabilities of DSLR's as a reason not to use good lighting but at the end of the day the best photographers & videographers have mastered lighting, if you want to be the best you have to learn how to use light, light is the only truly spectacular ingredient to any photo or video.
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