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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old December 17th, 2015, 08:14 AM   #1
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On camera light for a hater?

What ho, fine friends!

I've always turned my nose up at on-camera lights. I don't like the flat washed out lighting that gets brighter as anything moves closer to me. I hate drawing attention to myself, and I hate being the guy blasting a bright light right in people's eyes and getting the "wow that's bright, idiot" look on people's faces.

Problem is I have to shoot some weddings for a guy who really wants me to use an on-camera light. Assuming I have to, can someone recommend some models and some strategies for making it work?
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Old December 17th, 2015, 08:34 AM   #2
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Re: On camera light for a hater?

Bescor makes a cheap 70W dimmable LED.
Bescor LED-70 Dimmable 70W Video & DSLR Light LED-70 B&H
Has decent throw & comes with 2 plastic filter covers, clear/daytime & amber/tungsten. Often times I use the clear even indoors as I prefer a blueish hue as opposed to orangey/tungsten, but it depends on the venue.

When shooting with it on low, it's still that sorta 'bright light in my face' to people, but typically it does help my footage on my Sony Z5U (bit of an older camera at this point). I read where covering lights with vellum(?) paper helps to diffuse the light moreso, bit of a gaussian cover.

Anyway it's cheap, dimmable, durable, and might be a good thing to have on occasion anyway.
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Old December 17th, 2015, 08:39 AM   #3
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Re: On camera light for a hater?

Howdy Bob,

Haters gonna hate! I'm a big fan of AirBox... nice, soft diffusion that won't blind your bride. If you choose to go with a popular 1x1 LED panel, having an AirBox in front of it should make all the difference. Short write-up here, with links:

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Old December 17th, 2015, 08:51 AM   #4
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Re: On camera light for a hater?

When I was using the Sony HVL 20W on camera lights, I made a "diffuser" out of a $0.40 sheet of vellum paper that I cut to cover the front and sides and folded it in to a "U" shape and taped the sides of the "U" to the light frame using painters tape (no residue).

I used that method for almost 2 years until I got the TorchLEDs. And I'm in the process of making something for those guys right now.

The Airbox is probably a good solution as well. I also saw somewhere that there is a Wescott DSLR flash softbox that fits the TorchLEDs as well.

For on camera, the TorchLEDs can be a bit big and heavy, but they are full dimmable, have variable temp control, and put out a huge amount of light.
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Old December 17th, 2015, 09:03 AM   #5
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Re: On camera light for a hater?

I have a few cn-b160c ledgo lights that have a diffuser to soften the light, they are tungsten and daylight switchable and are dimmable, when I turn on both tungsten and daylight lights (both are seperate led's on the light) they can light up a room.

Those lights can be a benefit during bride prep if there is insufficient indoor light but also during speeches and first dance but to get some random headshots at receptions or when people sit at the table in the evening they are attention magnets and only work if you can come close enough to your subjects, you will for sure get the evil eye more then once but hey, if the guy that hires and pays you wants that, that's his problem afterwards in he edit, not yours.
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Old December 18th, 2015, 12:11 AM   #6
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Re: On camera light for a hater?

First thing is to get an LED with a dimmer - some go REALLY dim, which gives you a lot of control. You should easily be able to avoid "blasting" anyone with many of the lights available. I'm very light sensitive, and most of the LED's I have will turn down enough to not even bother me.

Second thing is you don't always have to leave an "on camera" light ON the camera, most are small and light enough to hand hold up and to the side when you want to.

Last consideration is how they are powered - SOME have options for Sony and Panasonic batteries, which is handy if you happen to have some compatible ones.... most will run on AA or AAA too.

Since you're not a fan, don't spend too much, here's a couple cheap suggestions from ebay - Neewer or Bestlight 112 LED dimmable panels, not sure what the difference is, I've got the Bestlight one, it's fairly nice, and at $26.04 shipped, not a bad deal. I've also got a few different "CN" branded LEDS, in various sizes... they come with different "filters", clear, purple, and orange to adjust the light quality a bit.
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Old December 18th, 2015, 12:58 AM   #7
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Re: On camera light for a hater?

After help on this very forum i recently made 2 diffusers from milk cartons - cost nothing amd work really well :)
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Old December 18th, 2015, 11:31 AM   #8
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Re: On camera light for a hater?

It's an essential tool. Using discretion when and where to use it is key. I did an event that both the entrances and speeches were with the lights off. Would have looked terrible without it. I think subjects actually like it for entrances adds a theatrical feel to a big moment.

I use a
Genaray LED-7100T 312 LED Variable-Color On-Camera

It's a little big I would get the next smaller model. Has a convenient magnetic diffuser. Variable color and brightness although it's pretty bright at it's lowest setting.

The higher the light is the easier it is on the subjects eyes. You could put it on a light stand for speeches but if they move...In my experience for receptions it's best to leave it mounted on the camera ready to go. Things are too unpredictable.

I substitute a fixed hot shoe to 1/4 adapter for stability the ball joint one supplied come loose and are wobbly.
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Old December 18th, 2015, 01:07 PM   #9
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Re: On camera light for a hater?

You arenít the only video guy who hates on-camera lights and work-arounds are difficult.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Drummond View Post
Problem is I have to shoot some weddings for a guy who really wants me to use an on-camera light. Assuming I have to, can someone recommend some models and some strategies for making it work?
He didnít say which way the light has to be pointed, did he?

What is the ceiling like? If itís white or off-white and not too high one could, with a light that has a good output, do a bounce light.

A bounce light, even on a light colored surface, will adsorb a lot of the lumens so that has to be taken into account.

Check out the Comer 1800: Comer CM-LBPS1800 On-Camera LED Light (Sony Battery) | L.A. Color Pros)

If the light is pointed upward at a somewhat vertical angle one could attach a white cardboard flag to the aft barn door to direct or spill some of the light forward. Itís obviously a tradeoff between a powerful light and distance and softness and distance.
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Old December 18th, 2015, 07:41 PM   #10
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Re: On camera light for a hater?

I sometimes bounce off the ceiling if I'm doing bride groom prep at their house but churches and reception halls have high ceilings rendering this technique useless.
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Old December 18th, 2015, 10:00 PM   #11
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Re: On camera light for a hater?

I always bring and use ( if needed ) my on cam video light. I am not shy to blast away if I have to. Not intentionally of course but I would rather light up rather than add gain in the camera. It is the bride I have to please with image quality and if a guest says that my light is too bright I am quick to remind them that the sun is much more brighter, but you don't have to stare at it. " yeah man, that light is too bright, turn it off man ! " sure.. go ask the bride to tell me to shut it off or convince the maitre'd to up the ambient. Good luck with that one.
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Old December 19th, 2015, 09:09 AM   #12
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Re: On camera light for a hater?

I've used Frezzi lights for almost 10 years.
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Old December 19th, 2015, 09:26 AM   #13
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Re: On camera light for a hater?

If I was asked to shoot for another videographer and wanted me to use light I would ask to show me first in his films where and how he uses light and why he finds it important, maybe he has a camera that can't cope with low light, maybe if you have a sony a7s you can convince him you don't need extra light before you start investing in a extra videolight that you probably never would be using again after you finished working for him.
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Old December 21st, 2015, 02:28 PM   #14
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Re: On camera light for a hater?

I cannot recommend the F&V r300 highly enough.

I too, hate the look of on board lights. This is the first one I've been happy with. The key is that you still need to use fast lenses while keeping the light on really low. It gets very bright at full power.

I haven't purchased the add-on milk diffusion for it yet, I think that would make it even better.

I was skeptic, but it really is a night and day difference, even if you have ok exposure from the venue. The venue lighting is often really ugly, and this light helps tremendously.

You can also mount is on a tripod/stand easily enough, if you have the need.
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Old December 22nd, 2015, 01:37 AM   #15
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Re: On camera light for a hater?

I use my Comer light on light stand if possible. But there are times, if I cannot, I will mount it on the B cam only. My B cam is for wide shots. Thus, having a on-camera light projecting flat lighting image isn't a big problem. But the on-camera light on Cam B becomes the off- camera light for my main cam which is for medium to close up shots

On-camera light isn't evil. Just need to know when to use it :)
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