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Old October 6th, 2014, 01:15 PM   #1
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Lights on stands at the reception

Hello friends. I've decided to begin bringing my own lights to receptions. I know a lot of high end videographers do it, and I've run into too may DJ's or Venue employees who equate romantic ambiance with pitch blackness.

I think I'm looking for some fairly low wattage tungsten fixtures I can put high up on light stands, pointing down on the dance floor. Do I need a battery solution? Dimmers? My main cameras are C100s and full-frame DSLRs, so I don't need a lot of light, and i don't want to kill the ambiance.

Anyone have any suggestions?
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Old October 6th, 2014, 01:32 PM   #2
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Re: Lights on stands at the reception

Have you considered LEDs with 3200K output? They are lighter, cheeper, run for longer on batteries, have built in dimmers and also run cool. Tungsten lights are going to get hot very quickly and use a lot of power.
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Old October 6th, 2014, 02:17 PM   #3
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Re: Lights on stands at the reception

Sounds great Dave. Do you have any specific suggestions?
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Old October 6th, 2014, 02:34 PM   #4
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Re: Lights on stands at the reception

Although I don't personally own them, my friend at LA Color Pro's sells quite a few of the Comer 1800 lights to event videographers. LED's without some sort of focusing lens don't have a great throw, so these might be your best bet for battery powered portable lights:
Comer CM-LBPS1800 On-Camera LED Light (Sony Battery) | L.A. Color Pros

Personally, I'm a fan of the Dedolight, but it's a big jump in price, and isn't battery powered. A cheaper alternative to the Dedo is a ProLight with a snoot attachment, which will give you a decent isolated circle of light at a good distance.
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Old October 6th, 2014, 03:26 PM   #5
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Re: Lights on stands at the reception

I have some Comer 1800s, Yongnuo YN-300 II, YN600 (3200-5500) and the Aputure 528S & 528C.

Frankly, all of them would do the job, depending on how much light & spread of light you wanted.

The Comer 1800s do a great job, but are relatively expensive and also one of the weaker lights. These were (and sometimes still are) my go to lights for on-camera.

The YN-300 II would be the cheapest option and are pretty good too.

The YN-600 is a good light and (at 3200K) a pretty good performer with some caveats (see below).

I like the quality Aputure 528S with the tungsten gel is the brightest but is more of a spot than general coverage.

The Aputure 528C is also a great (3200-5500) light, but is the least bright of them all.

The YN-600 is fan cooled (auto on/off) so would be OK in receptions, but if you ever wanted it for interview / diary room the fan can be very annoying. Also as it heats up / cools down the output varies by up to 100 lux!!!

There are plenty of other options out there too....
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Old October 6th, 2014, 03:49 PM   #6
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Re: Lights on stands at the reception

Whichever light(s) you put on stands be very careful where you place them and how you stabilize the feet, wether taped down or sandbagged. There is always the possibility of someone tripping on them especially if they are near the dance area or they are wall powered..That is my main reason I avoid using them. I'll go only as far as asking the bride and maitre'd to raise up the light levels a bit. If that is a no go , then it is what it is.
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Old October 6th, 2014, 05:06 PM   #7
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Re: Lights on stands at the reception

I used to use 1 or 2 Neewer CN160s with the diffusion screen and a piece of Tough Spun to soften the light up. I really didn't like the so called "3200K" filter. I installed remotes on the lights with key fob type controls and simply hooked them to my belt loops so at anytime I could turn the lights on or off.
I generally had one by the DJs speaker and if I was using a 2nd THAT location would vary depending on the purpose; IOW, for introductions I would have it pretty much next to me, for cake cutting I could simply turn the light around and point towards the cake. For speeches, I'd move it over to cover wherever at the head table the speaker was standing.
For dancing, I put the roving light where it would be opposite of the one by the DJ but safely out of the way so the folks wouldn't trip on it. Keep in mind I also had a light on the camera, again a very soft light and very low level but it worked as a fill light.
I didn't start doing this until about 3 or so years ago and now that I'm retired from weddings and most other work....BUT I did use this set up for quicky sit down interviews. The lights worked quite well for that as long as I wasn't doing more than 2 people in the set up. Then it was time for the hot lights.
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Old October 6th, 2014, 06:50 PM   #8
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Re: Lights on stands at the reception

I use a Lowell Pro-Light on a dimmer with a snoot and diffusion for my main light. I park it up close to the DJ with sandbags. I use a Swiftronix Torch LED for my second light that I move around as needed. For the dancing shots, I have my assistant follow me around with the LED staying at least 45 degrees to my left or right to avoid that straight on on-camera light look.
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Old October 7th, 2014, 08:09 AM   #9
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Re: Lights on stands at the reception

Thanks, Art. For some reason Lowell pro-light is the sort of light I had in mind. Do you have a battery solution for it, or do you always run of AC? And why not an LED for that main light by the DJ?
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Old October 7th, 2014, 11:23 AM   #10
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Re: Lights on stands at the reception

yes Bob- I run it off AC. It is battery adaptable but only puts out about 50 watts DC vs 200 AC. I will probably replace eventually with an LED but for now it now it works just fine. The snoot really helps to tighten the beam and with a dimmer makes it pretty adaptable for most venues. I also slide a round cutout diffusion gel into the frame which softens the light just a bit.
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Old October 7th, 2014, 01:17 PM   #11
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Re: Lights on stands at the reception

There are very powerful LED lights that run off batteries but those are very expensive and use the 14.4 volt AB bricks that have the amperage drain to support them. I designed a few very promising prototypes that output in excess of a 500 watt filament with a high 90+ CRI color rendering index yet drawing less than 100 watts from the battery. I used one of them to illuminate a very dark venue and was just using it dimmed down to like 300 watts. The battery lasted all evening and I even had a remote on/off switching. I made sure it was placed where it would not be tripped on. The only problem with a single light is that it caused shadows at the opposite end and a diffuser will not help. The ideal situation is to have the light directly above and behind you, this way there is no shadows, but limiting your mobility. I don't use any lights anymore except the on-camera LED that I built myself.
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Old October 8th, 2014, 08:57 AM   #12
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Re: Lights on stands at the reception

Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Varga View Post
I use a Lowell Pro-Light on a dimmer with a snoot and diffusion for my main light. I park it up close to the DJ with sandbags. I use a Swiftronix Torch LED for my second light that I move around as needed. For the dancing shots, I have my assistant follow me around with the LED staying at least 45 degrees to my left or right to avoid that straight on on-camera light look.
Art- I'm trying to discover better ways of lighting the dance floor at night because I also hate that "straight-on" light look in videos. Can you show a short example of what your type of technique looks like?
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Old October 8th, 2014, 10:41 PM   #13
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Re: Lights on stands at the reception

I just use an on-camera led light, that's all. It does not produce shadows this way. Although not the best way to light up people, I dim it down when I am close to a crowd like 10 feet or less. My clients really put content and coverage rather than a cinematic lighting preference. If they want that sort of thing then I would charge them much more and have an assistant place some extra lights on stands with diffusion by umbrellas to have an even light distribution. It would be far simpler if they raise up the lights a bit, but even with bringing along the extra lights and stands they may not accept that spoiling the dark dungeon cave look they want. My package pricing being affordable, they should not expect anything more that what I have been doing all along, that is a one camera shoot, no tripods, no extra lights. Lighting up a dance floor has a lot of factors to consider, like having the bride's approval first. The DJ and maitre'd most likely have convinced her way ahead of time that the darker the better. Suggesting a brighter setting may not fare well with her. How many times have I heard guests say to me " man that light is bright, can you point it the other way or shut the d#$n
thing off ?". I just say " Ask the bride to raise the light levels, if you can do that then I will shut my d#$n light off." There was one bride that had me turn my light off all evening. She received a video that had grain the size of golf balls. The only lights on were the candles on the tables and the red exit signs. She asked for it and got it.
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Old October 9th, 2014, 01:19 AM   #14
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Re: Lights on stands at the reception

Hey Arthur, did she express regret about that?
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Old October 9th, 2014, 08:05 AM   #15
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Re: Lights on stands at the reception

It actually happened more than once that they insisted on a dark venue. Yes, they were not happy about the results and regretted afterwards that this will stay with them forever. I even showed then a small clip on the LCD camera screen what they will be expecting if the lights are not turned up. It's not like I didn't warn them. Problem is that in the heat of the wedding they are not thinking straight and they assume that some magic application or the almighty computer will eventually "fix" things up. I even had one that flatly said to me " it's your job, just do it !" I went ahead and "did it" by asking the manager to up the lights a bit. He replied that the bride just likes it dark as it is. You can't win. This is why I don't bother anymore and let the horse drink where he pleases.
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