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Old January 26th, 2015, 06:45 AM   #16
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Re: Lighting the Reception

I can't comment on your lights, but I'll tell you I'm really enjoying these TorchLEDs. They put out a stunning amount of light in such a small package.

Mine are the older ones without remote control. I wish mine had that! It could be useful when they're up 9' in the air.

They do spill light everywhere and I know that you can buy an airbox softbox from BH to diffuse them.

They're a little pricey and I'm looking at making my own DIY softbox for help soften the light and cut down on overall spill. The diffusers that come with them are ok.. but I think a softbox would be better.
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Old January 26th, 2015, 08:48 AM   #17
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Re: Lighting the Reception

Hey Michael, definitely check out Kyle's review: Switronix TorchLED Bolt Review | Wedding Videography by KR Productions

So, some general thoughts... I bought these four or five years ago, and at the time I don't think there were many cheap bicolour LED lights (instead, you had to use gels). No doubt there are many more options now. In terms of amount of light, one unit will spew out enough for the dance floor of any reception. I don't think you'd want to light the entire reception beyond the dance floor, because maybe that would be too much of a change from whatever ambient conditions B&G want. In terms of CRI, well, I have no trust in the numbers that manufacturers sling around; I'm sure they have a green cast, but then I think all LEDs do, even the expensive ones, and I think the Switronix lights perform better in this respect than cheap Hong Kong eBay lights. In terms of battery life, one battery is supposed to last something like 4 hours with lights at full blast, but I don't use them at full blast; so one battery will see me through 1.5 receptions.

I think your lights are better than mine, and I don't know if it's worth it for you to buy Switronix lights as well. Your lights can produce more light, so you can place them further away and light a wider area, and it's always better to have the option of producing more, because you can dim down to taste. Your lights would also produce a softer light from close up. Main advantage the Switronix lights might give you is convenience of carrying -- can easily put a couple of units, along with batteries, into a backpack, and can use a lighter light stand. And you might be right that smaller size means that you can cram them into tighter places, and that in some situations they draw less attention, though any light is going to draw attention as soon as you turn it on.

One possible problem, though, with both your lights and the Switronix ones, is controlling the flood. That's where fresnels, dedolights, spotlights can be very useful -- can place them far away from subject, but still use barn doors and slide the lamp back and forth, to spot down and illuminate a speaker's face.

How I've used my Switronix lights...

-- At prep, I'll use two. For instance: both lights shining on a ring for fill light against bright background. Or: on Sunday I was shooting in a hotel room -- closed the window curtains and hung the dresses on the curtain rod, set up bride's accessories on the bed in foreground, used one light on the dresses and one on the accessories for a wider angle slider shot.
-- Ceremony, photoshoot: never really use them. But if B&G go out at night time for a second photoshoot, it's easy enough to grab a light stand and bring it with you.
-- Bridal party introductions at reception: usually I'll have one backlight as they come in set to daylight; a second light might be used as fill from the front, or could be placed to illuminate where they end up standing when they line up in front of bridal table, or could be a second backlight if the path has a few turns. Just depends on layout, pre-existing lighting, etc.
-- Speeches: generally one daylight backlight, one tungsten fill light that maybe illuminates bridal table as well, and one prayer that they'll stay standing in the same spot. If it's still daytime when they're giving speeches and the subjects are standing against bright windows, the Switronix lights will help a little, but won't really be powerful enough to provide decent fill; those windows are going to get blown out.
-- Bridal waltz: same sort of deal as speeches: three-quarters daylight backlight, and tungsten fill light either from the front or from 45 degrees to camera position, from same side as backlight.
-- After dancing starts: will leave at least one night on the dance floor pretty much the whole time, unless guests complain. Other light I might move around to illuminate different things -- people signing guestbook, DJ doing stuff, etc.
-- I sometimes use the airbox softbox as diffusion, but usually don't bother. It does make the quality of the light nicer, though.
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Old January 26th, 2015, 03:48 PM   #18
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Re: Lighting the Reception

Kyle and Adrian, thanks so much for all of this information. It does look like the Switronix lights work very well and I think they will do what I need them to. I like the fact that the battery lasts 4 hours and the current version has a remote control. In looking at Kyle's review and all of the information you've both listed, I will keep the in my B&H wishlist, but first I will try using my ephoto lights at my first wedding of the year. If the ephoto lights work well then I'll stick with them. However, I know that the ephoto lights run through batteries quickly and they are more likely to draw attention to themselves. If these two things become a big problem then I'll look into the Switronix lights further as they seem like a very good, portable solution that will be more covert than my ephoto lights.
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Old January 27th, 2015, 03:46 AM   #19
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Re: Lighting the Reception

B&H has them on sale for the next 19 hours or until they sell out for $229 including a battery:
Switronix TorchLED Bolt 220R On-Camera Light and Wireless B&H
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Old January 27th, 2015, 09:01 AM   #20
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Re: Lighting the Reception

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Strehl View Post
B&H has them on sale for the next 19 hours or until they sell out for $229 including a battery:
Switronix TorchLED Bolt 220R On-Camera Light and Wireless B&H
I know! I saw this just a few hours after I wrote that I decided to hold off on purchasing them. It's very tempting as it looks like these lights would be a very good fit for what I need. I think I'll still wait until my first wedding in April to try out the ephoto lights that I already own, and if they're not a good fit then I'll spend the extra money to buy these at their regular price. Thanks for the tip though!
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Old January 27th, 2015, 10:53 AM   #21
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Re: Lighting the Reception

That is a great deal on the set up!
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Old February 11th, 2015, 03:52 PM   #22
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Re: Lighting the Reception

I appreciate all the great responses!
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Old February 12th, 2015, 12:53 PM   #23
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Re: Lighting the Reception

Just save up, do what it takes. Buy an A7S.

Clive.. How are you finding lenses for the A7s, are they stabilized and what did you get.
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Old March 16th, 2015, 08:49 PM   #24
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Re: Lighting the Reception

Does anyone have any examples (maybe 100% screenshots) of what an A7S would do under really bad lighting conditions at a reception? I mean the type of reception where a 5d/6d would be at 6400iso to get passable footage.
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