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Old October 3rd, 2013, 02:21 AM   #1
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Do you use lights?

I'm never quite sure what to tell couples when they ask me this. What do you guys say?

I don't understand, firstly, the reason for the question. Do they have this nightmare in their head of a sweaty camera operator running around at the reception deer-in-headlighting all the guests? Or are they worried, conversely, that you don't use lights and that their images will turn out like nightvision?

And how do you explain to them that lights are necessary, especially when the videographer down the road has apparently promised that he/she doesn't use any lights?
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Old October 3rd, 2013, 02:32 AM   #2
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Re: Do you use lights?

I don't use lights but am planning to get one on a lightstand only for the first dance where they often kill all lights and have only mood light from the DJ who happen to like the color red.
My current camera set up can manage without light 95% of the time but it's the remaining 5% that can ruin the footage, like last wedding where they, in a candle lit venue, decided to kill all light during the couple first entrance. I had to shoot at 6400 Iso and put neatvideo to work to make it look decent, a 5dmark3 would have been a better option then but you use what you have :)
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Old October 3rd, 2013, 02:37 AM   #3
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Re: Do you use lights?

The use of lights is a really difficult issue for me. I think I'm going to have to discuss it with B&G in the future.

I've only been asked a few times.

I only use them for the dancing and only if I've no choice.

Theres a few problems though - quite a lot of people, especially in the north of ireland are not proud of their dancing abilities, and the dancefloor being lit by a big light is not going to help encourage them.

I've had people ask me to turn them off (but thankfully I had all my footage done by that point). I generally only film 4/5 songs, then I bail.

The problem of course is this - If you want to be able to actually see the dancing, lights might be necessary.

Thats the video point of view of course, and the DJ, the venue, and the guests do not give two hoots about our job.

I've had venues turn more lights off half way through a first dance.
I had checked the lighting and decided I wouldn't need to set up my lights, then *flick*, darkness. Thanks a lot!!!

I've also had DJ's request the lights get turn down. What do you do? Go and ask for them back on?

Its one of the trickiest parts of the day.

I don't like setting my lights up, it looks artificial and like a film set or a studio. I've always believed what I film should be natural, and true to real life.

Not much option sometimes though.


The wedding a few days ago had disco lights that went off - white light - red light - off - white light - red light.

So I saw faces for light a glimpse between darkness and bright red glowing mess. Hideous!!!
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Old October 3rd, 2013, 02:42 AM   #4
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Re: Do you use lights?

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I had checked the lighting and decided I wouldn't need to set up my lights, then *flick*, darkness. Thanks a lot!!!
I have seen cheap Chinese lights on ebay that can be operated from a distance where you can turn the light on/off and use the dimmer with a remote controll, that might be a good solution if all turns black during the first dance, just press the button on the remote and back is the light and then you"ll see the DJ or the guy from the venue turning buttons as they don't understand why the lights went back on.

What you describe sounds so familiar to me as well. Last wedding I had agreed with the dj to give me sufficient white light during the first dance and we even tested it, he did what was agreed the first part of the first dance and then fell back into his old dark, neon red/blue routine giving me awfull looking footage.
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Old October 3rd, 2013, 02:58 AM   #5
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Re: Do you use lights?

After I got my C100's I literally stopped using lights overnight. I only use two small 312 LED for fill light now & even then I only set it to 30-50% brightness. It's a big adjustment since I've always used lights but the low light on the C100 is so amazing that it's not necessary. Adding light does give my images a more 3D look but I don't need the powerful redheads & I can't believe I ever justified using powerful lights. We have the tech now to do away with over powered lights. I usually film the guests dancing at F1.4 ISO 8000-12800 in complete darkness & it looks like daylight.
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Old October 3rd, 2013, 03:03 AM   #6
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Re: Do you use lights?

Hmm... I guess I'm less curious about whether lights at all are necessary (I think they are, even for C100s), but what do you say to couples who ask, "Do you use lights?" I mean, what do you see as the motivation behind asking the question, and how do you address whatever the worry/concern is without making them even more worried?
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Old October 3rd, 2013, 03:17 AM   #7
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Re: Do you use lights?

That question probably comes from couples that have seen a videoguy at another wedding with his canon xh-a1 using a interrogation light to be able to get his shot, Most are worried that you will use a light that will blind the guests, I have had remarks years ago when I was using hdv camera's about my too strong camera light, the only remark I get now is that they did not notice me during the day.
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Old October 3rd, 2013, 03:22 AM   #8
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Re: Do you use lights?

Agree with Noa - they want to know you're not going to be intrusive - I fail to see however, in some dark receptions, that you can avoid it - I've shot many where the only lights are tealights on the tables and the DJ's horrible LED lights - and on one occasion only the tealights on the tables - it was like shooting in a cave!!!!

For first dance I always set up 2 LED spots and have an on-camera light - I then position myself across from my spotlights and use them to backlight the couple - I then leave them on for a few tracks to film people dancing!

I hate putting my light on as it draws attention to myself but my fastest lens is f2.8 - I could use faster primes but the versatility of a short zoom is a must!

Pete
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Old October 3rd, 2013, 03:29 AM   #9
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Re: Do you use lights?

Same story here, there are camera's, like a c100, fs100 of 5dmark3 that will allow shooting clean footage at 6400 iso+ but these camera's come at a cost and weddings is not exactly a high income business here to justify having these expensive camera's. Below those low light kings most dslr's are able to shoot decent at 3200 iso and 6400 iso with neat video treatment but with a f2.8 lens tealight dinner tables won't cut it, you need f1.4 but that's hell trying to keep your focus on moving subjects like during a first dance. That extra bit of light you add though, even if you put attention to yourself will result in a better looking image with more color and depth, maybe annoying for the guests/couple for a very short while but at least they have nice footage to look at.
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Old October 3rd, 2013, 03:32 AM   #10
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Re: Do you use lights?

Typically we'll only use lights for the first dance or if we do a video diary room in a really dark place (we mount them on stands and point them back in to silver umbrellas to spread / soften the light). While we could bring our big lights & soft boxes it's a lot more to carry around.

I understand why they are asking though. I had the chance to watch another video company working when I attended a wedding. TBH I was shaking my head almost the entire day. They had lights on the cameras in the church (basically blinding the couple and front couple of rows), they had lights on when ever they were inside at the reception and they stood about 6 feet from the speaker (during speeches) with a big light shining right in their face. Arrgghhh!!!!

They were using Sony HDV cameras (can't remember the exact model) and while I know they aren't so good in low light without turning the gain up (and probably needing NR in post), they were essentially getting what ever the light was shining on and everything else was pretty much black. Time for a camera upgrade I thought, then I found out how much they were charging and realised they won't have enough money left for new gear - ever. These aren't new kids on the block either, they have been doing this a while (years).

I've only ever twice needed lights at any time other than first dance or diary room, and both of those occasions were in marquees with no lighting during the speeches. For this we used Comer 1800 lights (x2) on stands. The problem with mounting them on the camera is if you need to move at all then the light changes not just for you but for the other camera too.
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Old October 3rd, 2013, 03:59 AM   #11
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Re: Do you use lights?

5d MK3's and C100's ... all fancy investments. But if your not pulling in well paying client's, forget about it!

My EA50 was a very expensive purchase for me and copes fine to be honest, but adding in a light source really makes the image pop.

I try and keep my light off as much as possible and reluctantly switch it on when I have too ...
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Old October 3rd, 2013, 04:05 AM   #12
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Re: Do you use lights?

I assume we are talking reception only here? During speeches I have a very high stand with 4 xCFL's bouncing into an umbrella over the lectern. Apart from that it's just a dimmable on-camera fill light for the rest of the reception so my subject is decently exposed.

Often on the F2.8 zoom I won't even need any fill light so I won't use it but it's there if I do need it. I just use a 6 x PowerLED pack on the coldshoe with the battery at the end of the shoulder pad for nice balance.

I would rather have a wee bit of inconvenience to the guests than have images that are horribily under exposed...over the last 10 years I have never had an issue at all but one groom insisted on no lighting for the speeches so I showed him what the image would look like with and without the light and he seemed happy with the grainy, noisy image so that's what he got ( that was with my old Panasonics with little 1/4" chips! With the EA-50's I can do a whole lot better especially with the fast lenses

Brides never ask me about lighting to be honest!!

Chris
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Old October 3rd, 2013, 04:06 AM   #13
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Re: Do you use lights?

Adrian when asked if I use lights I tell the couple that yes I do depending on the situation we're in. I then go on to explain that lights adds life, color & dimension to images but in the same breath that I light to preserve the atmosphere the couple create. Lights is an essential part of producing quality images as long as it's done properly.
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Old October 3rd, 2013, 04:08 AM   #14
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Re: Do you use lights?

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Originally Posted by James Manford View Post
5d MK3's and C100's ... all fancy investments. But if your not pulling in well paying client's, forget about it!

My EA50 was a very expensive purchase for me and copes fine to be honest, but adding in a light source really makes the image pop.

I try and keep my light off as much as possible and reluctantly switch it on when I have too ...
Same here James but I find the EA50 kit lens at 3.5 not fast enough so I have my Canon 24-105 at f2.8 - but still it's not fast enough without extra light
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Old October 3rd, 2013, 04:14 AM   #15
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Re: Do you use lights?

I actually have had couples ask me about lights relatively often. Not frequently, but not once in a blue moon either. I think it happens at the stage of the meeting when I push them a little bit and ask, "Any other questions at all? Anything else you want to ask about?"

I think there must be some sort of list of questions to ask videographers out there that Google is directing people to.

One of the things I think I'll say in future (and said to the last couple) is, "We shoot on some of the best low-light cameras in the world, and we hate using lights. We don't use them unless we have to. But sometimes it's so dark, you just have to. You wouldn't expect a photographer to shoot without a flash, and photography needs less light than video." Might even FAQ that at my website or something.
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