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Old July 11th, 2011, 09:48 PM   #1
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Lights for a large wedding reception area

Hi All,

I need your suggestion for lights for a large (indoor) wedding reception area. I saw a pair of video lights used by another professional videographer that can light up a large area (for instance, 50'x50'). The color was natural, maybe 4500K. On the back of those lights it showed a SP logo. I can't find that light anywhere.

Do you have any suggestions? I need these lights for video only, not for still even though having that bright white light will help shoot without flash to some extent.

I want to put these lights on solid and strong tripod stands, 10ft or even higher. They need to run for hours in AC, no battery support is needed.

I would like to have 4500K at least. If the lights can't be cool, then it is ok I guess, but having cool light would be a plus.

Please let me know if anyone has any suggestion. Just the name of the product would be good enough. I will do the research.

Thanks so much in advance.
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Old July 11th, 2011, 11:18 PM   #2
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Re: Lights for a large wedding reception area

My guess is that one of the suppliers here will be best placed to answer your question about the brand of lights; the only SP in our business is Stanley Productions in London but I didn't think they were into lights.

My concern is that it sound like you are attempting a Cecil B de Mille job with two lights in an environment that even de Mille might have re-considered. Two large, AC-powered light units, on stands 10+ feet up with people (including children perhaps) with no experience or regard for the inherent danger sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

Another thing is that you're going to alter completely the whole ambiance of the room. My approach to your problem would have been to bring in a lighting company to do some wall washes, up-lighters on the floor perhaps which could be protected a bit and which would impose less on the natural ambiance of the place.

The balance between getting good pictures and destroying the natural ambiance of the venue is something that event producers have to tackle all the time. These are my personal thoughts; I'm sure others will have theirs.
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Old July 12th, 2011, 03:56 AM   #3
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Re: Lights for a large wedding reception area

I really have to agree with Philip here. The liability alone is going to be out of sight. Those tripods, to be strong enough and solid enough are going to have to have a footprint as wide as that stand is high. I can see drunks tripping over those in no time at all. If a drunk knocks it over, the velocity of the weight on top when it gets to the ground is going to be huge. The other thing to consider is how obnoxious a light that bright will be if you happen to look into the direction of it.

If you really have to have 50X50 lit up that bright, I would talk to a lighting company and see about them coming in and trussing it like a concert stage. That would be about the same size space as a full blown concert stage is.
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Old July 12th, 2011, 04:38 AM   #4
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Re: Lights for a large wedding reception area

Years ago, the BBC with their insensitive cameras would arrive at a venue with careful, moody lighting and fire up a couple of blondes - instant brightness - do their stuff, then switch them off and leave everybody in the dark for a few minutes until their eyes adjusted.

The idea of hiring in a proper lighting company works - BUT isn't cheap. A friend's recent event shows how huge budgets can look.
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Old July 12th, 2011, 06:48 AM   #5
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Re: Lights for a large wedding reception area

It's probably better to just shoot in the carefully set ambience that most reception venues have and then add some on camera lighting just now and again if it's necessary!!

Most venues will have enough light for all but the hungriest cameras and if you make friends with the co-ordinator you will often find that they can raise the lights just a little for stuff like the speeches.

As Chip and Philip have already said the liability side is a cause for concern and a bank of lights will certainly kill any ambience..... !!!

Bear in mind that the bride doesn't expect the lighting to be like a TV studio...they are looking at the guests and themselves not at your technical expertise in setting up 4000KW of lighting!!!

Shoot in the setup lighting at the venue..ask them to lift the house lights for speeches and then back down for the rest .... an on camera light helps for the odd event like cake cutting, bouquet toss and due to it's short range the overall mood is kept intact.

Chris
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Old July 12th, 2011, 06:57 AM   #6
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Re: Lights for a large wedding reception area

Paul, you reminded me of an instance years ago when our company had created a live event for the opening ceremony of a new line at a paper making company just outside Manchester. Not only was it moody and pretty dramatic lighting but the plot was live and "moved" as the various sections of the line were covered in the soundtrack.

The local BBC news room had sent a guy with two blondes and a 16mm film camera (Bolex H16 I think I recall) and when the MD of the paper company explained to the BBC cameraman that he wasn't going to destroy what the company had paid good money to stage, the cameraman threw his toys out of the cot - literally - sent blondes, stands and cables crashing across the floor and stormed out.
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Old July 12th, 2011, 09:17 AM   #7
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Re: Lights for a large wedding reception area

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
My guess is that one of the suppliers here will be best placed to answer your question about the brand of lights; the only SP in our business is Stanley Productions in London but I didn't think they were into lights.

My concern is that it sound like you are attempting a Cecil B de Mille job with two lights in an environment that even de Mille might have re-considered. Two large, AC-powered light units, on stands 10+ feet up with people (including children perhaps) with no experience or regard for the inherent danger sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

Another thing is that you're going to alter completely the whole ambiance of the room. My approach to your problem would have been to bring in a lighting company to do some wall washes, up-lighters on the floor perhaps which could be protected a bit and which would impose less on the natural ambiance of the place.

The balance between getting good pictures and destroying the natural ambiance of the venue is something that event producers have to tackle all the time. These are my personal thoughts; I'm sure others will have theirs.
You are right about spoiling the ambiance. But the kind of wedding that I am talking about is different than western, Christian wedding. These Indian/Pakistani/Bangladehsi ethnic weddings requires bright lights on the stage durung performance on the stage, family members on the stage, ceremonies on the stage and customers expect clear, bright video. Usually these weddings are multi day engagement, so there are plenty of opportunities to shoot good footage with ambient, natural light for the bride and groom. I need bright lighting only at the end of these events which are late night. These events usually begins early evening and last till 1 or 2 am! So they are like 8-9 hours of shooting per event!

Perhaps I have exaggerated a bit. The stage areas could be anywhere from 25 to 35 ft and I can be at 15-20 ft from the stage. So it doesn't have to be 50'x50'. About the liability is concerned, previously I had used two 500w Lowel Tota on a 12 ft light stand without any problem in other events. But they are not very bright and the color temp is lower. The lights stands are usually kept in between chairs and with sand bags on them. I haven't had any issues people tripping over becuae these are sitting only events.

Morevoer there will be no drunks in these events -:)
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Old July 12th, 2011, 10:46 AM   #8
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Re: Lights for a large wedding reception area

You can ask a local av company to quote you on a stage wash. A typical set-up of 4- lekos, manfrotto stand, dimmer will cost you $ 350.00. For your stage size that should be enough. The nice thing about it is you can direct the lights directly towards the stage and not spill onto the dance floor. Point one leko at the podium, 3 on the presidential table. You can ask for color gels (ask for a day light gel effect).
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Old July 12th, 2011, 03:03 PM   #9
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Re: Lights for a large wedding reception area

If you plan on doing a lot of these types of weddings it might be cheaper in the long run to invest in a camera that will give you really good low light performance.

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Old July 12th, 2011, 03:08 PM   #10
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Re: Lights for a large wedding reception area

I have a Sony Z7U now. I usually shoot at -3db and go as high as +6db. I don't like the grain that I see after that.
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Old July 13th, 2011, 02:50 AM   #11
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Re: Lights for a large wedding reception area

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Originally Posted by Azadul Haq View Post
Morevoer there will be no drunks in these events -:)
A wedding without drunks ??? Whatever will they think of next !!! :-)

Azadul, your Totas were tungsten lights and should have been around 3200K. You already have seen what amount of light 1000 watts gives you in the space you are discussing, so how many more watts of light do you think will be needed ??? Will it take another 1000, or 2000 to get the job done so it is bright enough ??? Maybe more ???

Another thing, the further away from the subject the lights are, the more light is lost/dispersed as it travels getting there. I would not be at all surprised if your totas were directly overhead on the stage, the 1000 watts may have been sufficient.
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Old July 13th, 2011, 02:55 AM   #12
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Re: Lights for a large wedding reception area

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A wedding without drunks ??? Whatever will they think of next !!! :-)
There is no alcohol at Muslim weddings.
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Old July 13th, 2011, 03:59 AM   #13
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Re: Lights for a large wedding reception area

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The local BBC news room had sent a guy with two blondes and a 16mm film camera (Bolex H16 I think I recall) and when the MD of the paper company explained to the BBC cameraman that he wasn't going to destroy what the company had paid good money to stage, the cameraman threw his toys out of the cot - literally - sent blondes, stands and cables crashing across the floor and stormed out.
I don't know why he did that, there were good high speed 400/500 ASA reversal 16mm film stocks made by Kodak and Fuji available for those available light jobs. I know one film cameraman who rarely used lights using 16mm reversal.

I don't think a couple of lights are the best way to cover a large area anyway. Perhaps more a general lift for the shadow detail when bounced from the ceiling. Allowing for the drunk factor, they'd be best rigged up without stands with power cables well out of the way.
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Old July 13th, 2011, 07:07 AM   #14
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Re: Lights for a large wedding reception area

Drunks aside, think of the servers & busboys running back & forth as well. Sometimes they cut corners to avoid the party crowd & dance floor.
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Old July 13th, 2011, 08:57 AM   #15
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Re: Lights for a large wedding reception area

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Originally Posted by Chip Thome View Post
A wedding without drunks ??? Whatever will they think of next !!! :-)

Azadul, your Totas were tungsten lights and should have been around 3200K. You already have seen what amount of light 1000 watts gives you in the space you are discussing, so how many more watts of light do you think will be needed ??? Will it take another 1000, or 2000 to get the job done so it is bright enough ??? Maybe more ???

Another thing, the further away from the subject the lights are, the more light is lost/dispersed as it travels getting there. I would not be at all surprised if your totas were directly overhead on the stage, the 1000 watts may have been sufficient.
I think my mistake was not to have any light that I can focus on the area of interest. So while the Tota raised the ambient level higher, it wasn't enough at certain areas. I am thiking about keeping a fresnel or two if I need to focus from a distance on to the area of interest if needed. Thanks everyone for your comments and thoughts.
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