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Old January 24th, 2014, 09:35 AM   #1
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Lighting idea for First Dance

Ok so I've got a big old white CFL softbox that I've always used.

So far I've just put it up if it was required and got on with it. I've always been concerned though - IMO it kills the mood and perhaps puts some people off from joining the dancefloor - although this has only been said to me once.

Thing is, I've no real problem with coloured lights during the dance - as long as there is plenty of it. Problem is - even if a DJ or band brings lights - it only comes from one direction.

I've started to wonder lately if it would be worthwhile getting some decent coloured lighting and setting it up at two/three spots around the dancefloor.

Not my job you may say... but it makes me happier with what I can capture.

Does anyone else worry that a big single point white light is a bit 'in-your-face' and distracting?
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Old January 24th, 2014, 10:02 AM   #2
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Re: Lighting idea for First Dance

I hate using a light Clive as it draws attention to me and people behave in a different way when they are concious of the camera, that's why I now use the 5DIII for evening receptions as it virtually sees in the dark. I still use my EA50 for first dance though as I like to slo-mo the footage which is not possible with the 5D. Unfortunately the EA50, even with 1.8 lens is not great in low light. I have recently filmed at a few weddings where the DJs had no lights at all so the rooms were very dark indeed so I've no option but to put up a couple of LED lights - at one of them the groom eventually asked me to turn them off as they were putting guests off coming onto the dance floor - without the benefit of night vision I complied and took it as my leave to go home lol! Even the 5D could't manage - the room was only lit by a few table tea lights!

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Old January 24th, 2014, 10:18 AM   #3
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Re: Lighting idea for First Dance

I'm about to experiment with gelling Z96 LED lights. I have 6 of the Z96's and sheets of gel 21" x 48" are only 6 each - so you can make a heck of a lot of Z96 sized gels per sheet. The idea is not to compete with a light show or provide it as a light show, but rather to just add enough light of a non-clinical colour or two to lift the ambient.

Lighting Gels / Lighting Filter Colours | Stage Depot

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Old January 24th, 2014, 10:52 AM   #4
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Re: Lighting idea for First Dance

I always have LED lights set up and ready to go, I mention it to the bride and turn them down after the dancing starts for real but for the 1st - it's there. Most venues here turn their lights down anyway, it's a pain
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Old January 24th, 2014, 04:29 PM   #5
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Re: Lighting idea for First Dance

Does anyone have any examples of a light bounced off the ceiling? I heard through a photog friend, of one crew doing this though haven't seen it done.
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Old January 24th, 2014, 04:43 PM   #6
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Re: Lighting idea for First Dance

Hey Max, the ceilings of reception venues around my area are too high for that to work, but, on film sets "bounce it off the ceiling" is a pretty standard trick. Much more natural and more flattering than shining light directly at the talent.

I think Chris Harding does (or used to) set up lighting umbrellas with his lights. I've never tried that in a wedding environment, but if you want softer light, that might be alternative to Clive's softbox idea or to a ceiling bounce.

By the way, speaking of soft light, has everyone seen the airbox diffusers that attach to LEDs (http://www.airboxlights.com/)? I've never actually used them, but have ordered some.
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Old January 24th, 2014, 08:45 PM   #7
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Re: Lighting idea for First Dance

That's me!!

However I don't use it for the dancing only the speeches. It's basically a CFL 9 sockets head which I modified and took out the middle fitting and inserted an aluminium 1/2" tube so I can slide an umbrella into so the lights (I only use 4!) point away from the subject and bounce into the silver umbrella so you get a nice soft light.

For dancing if you use any sort of flood lighting you will upset the DJ as it will kill his light show! The only really practical method for me seems to be limit the ISO on your camera and then do fairly tight shots and use a dimmable LED light (mine has 6 x Power LED's) to just light your subjects enough.

Our venues also just turn the lights off for dancing so I have no real answer if you need to get good exposures of the entire dance floor.

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Old January 25th, 2014, 05:18 PM   #8
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Re: Lighting idea for First Dance

Ceiling bouncing is an option, though not a great one.

Relying on the DJ's lights stinks since, as I experienced last night, if they're too small of coverage, you get lots of variation - some too bright, some too dark. Or a lovely shot of the bride's face, but she's in the dark shadow because of the groom's head.

I was just thinking I might start bringing a few lights on 2 tripods. As a DJ I have battery powered, wirelessly controlled LCD lights I usually use (and can use them for room up lighting) that I could easily have setup, a little further from the dance floor so they'd discretely provide fill.
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Old January 27th, 2014, 03:22 AM   #9
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Re: Lighting idea for First Dance

Before my big double CFL bulb lightbox I used a small LED box light. No doubt about it, these were less intrusive - but I felt they didn't give the best solution.

I went for the lightbox since i could put it up real high and the light would be diffused.

A couple of things I still think the main problem in terms of intrusion is that the lights are white and not very party-esque. I also think that I need more than one source.

What I'm concluding is that LED panels may be the way to go but with coloured gels (which colours??) and with maybe 3/4 sources.

Or does anyone recommend full on DJ lights that 'dance'?
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