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Old September 10th, 2006, 06:56 AM   #1
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Do you use an on-camera light at receptions?

I've been using an on-camera light (25 watt Ultralight) at receptions for years with great success. Last night, the bride's mom complained to me that it was too bright and made me shut it off. I've never had anyone say that before. The footage I shot after the light was turned off is dreadful -- muddy, dark, with poor color.

What do you use (if anything)? Have you ever had a complaint? I was quite upset, knowing that the footage would look like garbage.
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Old September 10th, 2006, 07:33 AM   #2
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Hey Bill,
I did have a complaint once, I was using a 20 watt light as well and the guest were complaing to the Bride my light was to bright and to turn of the light. It was no problem for me, I just did it. To try to fix the problem for myself I actually bought 3 watt lights for the camcorders. Yeah they are very weak, but they're not to bright to cause guests to complain. There's enough light from them to have the main person of focus clear and colorful on the screen. In post I do have to bump up the gain a tad, it looks descent than with no light. That's what I've done for my situation. Take Care

Monday
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Old September 10th, 2006, 08:13 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monday Isa
Hey Bill,
I did have a complaint once, I was using a 20 watt light as well and the guest were complaing to the Bride my light was to bright and to turn of the light. It was no problem for me, I just did it. To try to fix the problem for myself I actually bought 3 watt lights for the camcorders. Yeah they are very weak, but they're not to bright to cause guests to complain. There's enough light from them to have the main person of focus clear and colorful on the screen. In post I do have to bump up the gain a tad, it looks descent than with no light. That's what I've done for my situation. Take Care

Monday
Do you usethe 20 watt light anymore?
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Old September 10th, 2006, 08:34 AM   #4
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Not any longer only the 3watt light for reception events. Got rid of it. If I need lights I use my studio lights so I can control the lighting environment. That's when I do other type of jobs besides event filming.
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Old September 10th, 2006, 09:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Edmunds
I've been using an on-camera light (25 watt Ultralight) at receptions for years with great success. Last night, the bride's mom complained to me that it was too bright and made me shut it off. I've never had anyone say that before. The footage I shot after the light was turned off is dreadful -- muddy, dark, with poor color.

What do you use (if anything)? Have you ever had a complaint? I was quite upset, knowing that the footage would look like garbage.
Wow...
u know.. ive had afew people squint.. some drunks too blind to know better have given me attitude.. but this was teh class of the clientelle... or shoudl that be LACK of class for that particualr clientelle's guest list..
but thats about it.. noone had the audacity to demand i kill the lights...
I run 35w on cam if i ever do run them on cam...

i also run a 75w light about 8feet up when shooting dancefloors and then go commando as i hit the floor myself..
i get some awesome shots, nice shadows, textures... movement... colour... and as i dont have a direct light in peoples faces it works a treat when im grooving right beside them (no cardboard cutouts... )
Also photographers love me for my lights and their results are as pristine as my own...

for on cam, sometimes i use them as fill lights if im shooting from afar, but still no trouble

I think its how u hold urself as to what they expect YOU to do for THEM.. when theyre not the client...
When they see me all kitted out and shit, they dont bother interfering with what im doing. manning two cameras and seing me flying left right and centre, they know im busy and not restong on my lawrels...

I think its the attitude.... as i always have the look of "i know what im doing stay out of my way" no matter what im doing... and i dont hesitate.. if i do hesitate, people pick up on this...
Im approachable... hell i could tell u stories as how im approachable.. lol my wife dont liek teh idea of teh fone numbers i get though. lol.. but in the end, i have a jobto do..

If lighting is an issue.. come up with a solution or a standard response such as "if i turn off the lights, the cameras cannot see. If the cameras cannot see, we do not have video or photos."
Make sure you mention photos, as most people see video as a throwaway service and not as important as photography... i mean think about it. how distracting is flash photography in ur face, compared to a steady light which is 10metres away and 8-10 feet in the air?

also diffusors and barndoors make a huge difference.. i usually allow a small slit (2cm) to pass through when shooting from a direct on cam light, with a 2 stop filter on the light itself.. so even if it is bright, its even and soft with a white throw

Hell ive even shot weddings where couples have asked me to turn ON my lights and even pull out the Lowel Tota kit from the car...
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Old September 10th, 2006, 11:33 AM   #6
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Regular on-camera lights are usually very aggressive because the tiny yet powerful light bulb.
So unless it is covered with some diffuser, any attempt to give a quick look to the camera usually produce some pain to the subject.
if they can ignore it, the result is visible on the picture.
You know this typical kind of grin that people have when they forget their sunglasses at the beach.
To avoid that i built a LED lamp. (we discuss this already somewhere on thisDVinfo).
it gives me better illumination (more diffuse, less shadow) on a wider range (great for 16/9 or wide angle) and you can easily look at it without much disturbance. I tested it when shooting into crowdy place, and i can ensure you that it make a tremendous difference about the behavior of people regarding the camera. they are not lifting hands against lamp anymore, they look more directly at you, they are not trying to flee the light.
It is nice, because i remember a shoot on stage from some singer.
I was able to go on scene to take different angle, even from backstage.
The camera got a nice 50W lamp (it was at night in summer), and each time i was shooting the singer from backstage (seeing his back and the audience as background) i got people whistling... until i discovered they where whistling at me because the light on the cam.
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Old September 10th, 2006, 01:16 PM   #7
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I use a 10/20 watt with a diffuser. I cut the diffuser and added a thin plastic shopping bag to it with tape because the diffuser made the light too weak. It works great. I had one person comment at my last wedding on how nice it was because the light was not too bright.

The way I play it is 10 watts with the diffuser in the beginning of the reception. Then 20 watt with the diffuser as the night and lights get darker. When I go on the ladder, it is 20 watts without the diffuser.

The people that complain are usually the drunk and ignorant, who don't know any better and look directly into the light. I remind them not to look directly into the light and it will be better.

What my boss tells me is use the bride as an excuse and say something like she said she wanted the light or she wants the best video and the light helps make the best video and this is her day. Maybe not exactly those words but something similiar.

I feel lights are a must and I wouldn't go lower than 10 watts.

Thats good advice about the mentioning the photographer. Mention that with the bride and people will see that the light is a neccessity that can not be argued.
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Old September 10th, 2006, 09:52 PM   #8
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soft Box

I use a soft box with a dimmer and have never had a complaint.
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Old September 11th, 2006, 08:37 AM   #9
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Yes, I use the AB Ultralight 2 when I must, and it does do a fantastic job of giving me the needed extra light. I do though reccomend getting a soft box for it, as it does throw off a strong light that can be disterbing to the guests (I know I need to get one myself - oops!). But, even without the softbox, it's not "that" bad. . .

I never had a complaint about the light, though I have had some squints (especially for interview/well wish segments).

Just make sure you have LOTS of batterys, as it will eat them up quick. Like I said, I only use the light when I must . . .

Ryan
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Old September 11th, 2006, 10:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Edmunds
I've never had anyone say that before. The footage I shot after the light was turned off is dreadful -- muddy, dark, with poor color.
It's one complaint - nothing more.

Next time tell the MOB to poll the guests about the DJ's loud speakers. Or ask her why she needs a seeing eye dog after each flash from the photographer.

No, of course you can't say those things. :)

Just burn bring out as much as you can in post and burn it. Send a note with the final DVD saying, "Sorry about the darkness of your dance - a family member requested the light be turned off."

Next wedding... don't change a thing. If folks tinker with your tools or style, they'll get the result of said, "tinkering".

I tell them at booking I will be using a light. (and explain why of course). 20 watts doesn't seem to affect the drunk and stupid.
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Old September 11th, 2006, 12:10 PM   #11
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Diffusion and Dimmers

Diffusion and dimmers have already been touched on, but I would like to go a little more in-depth.

We use NRG on camera lights with dimmers. We have the 100 watt bulbs, but rarely go past 50%. You might think 50% sounds high, but there is another dimension to this.

We use an NRG 60% diffusion grid, about $25. It replaces the stock grid and looks almost as good as a soft box. While doing interviews or when I am physically closer to the subject, I'll use a minimal amount of light. When the subject if further away, I will increase the light, and then at the end of the night when the limo is driving away, I will increase it to the max as the limo gets further away.

When we give workshops on shooting techniques I now bring along a light with the stock grid and one with the 60% diffusion grid. I shine both lights at the videographers. This way they can see how an undiffused light is more painful to look at versus the diffused light.

Even the little Sony 10/20 lights can cause pain when positioned close to the subject without some type of diffusion.
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Old September 13th, 2006, 10:22 PM   #12
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I'm using the X-3 lamp which is an LED camera light. It has a dimmer and I never go past 60% power when doing receptions. Another important factor is the color temp. of the light you are using. I've been using a Full CTO gel which really warms up the color so it's not such a white/blindout effect. It looks better on tape also.

Do you at least have a dimmer?
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Old September 14th, 2006, 06:55 PM   #13
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I use a very old 12v, 35 watt (I think) Mini-Cool by Cool-Lux. It punches out quite a hot spot, so I have attached a flip-down diffusion gel for close-up use. It is made from coat hanger wire carefully shaped to fit around the light's housing and is secured by the light's own assembly screws.

It works fine, but is quite a power hog. I use a heavy sealed gel 12 battery made by Bescor to power it. The battery and belt cost some $120.00. However, I discovered that the battery itself is quite common and can be purchased for around $20.00 at a specialist battery shop. The vendor I use is a company called Intermountain Battery. In our rural county of some 60,000 people Intermountain Battery has staffed a warehouse for several years servicing any kind of equipment that needs battery back up, from hospitals to cell phones to solar powered road signs to remote radio station transmitters.
So look for this kind of business in your area. B&H sold me mine. Becsor probably sold it to them for about $40.00. Bescor probably purchased the battery for about $5.00. The belt and bag probably cost about $1.00. I could have had the same product (had I given it any careful thought) for around $30.
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Old September 14th, 2006, 07:31 PM   #14
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I'm not a usual wedding guy, so I don't use an onboard light (always thought them obtrusive and annoying) I went to +12db gain when required on the H1 and was blown away by how well the images held up. Also moved a few candles around near the cake when shooting it.

Also maybe we should tell people, if you want to look good, wear lighter clothing and stand where the lighting is nice. I shot bride and FOB basked in glorious light, while groom and MOG lurked in the shadows. Hey, as a cinematographer, I'm not passing up that beautiful well lit shot.
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Old September 14th, 2006, 09:26 PM   #15
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Do any of you use other types of lighting equipment like a Lowel Rifa or other heavily diffused light maybe over the dance floor if there isnt enough lighting? I shot a outdoor wedding which had virtually no lighting outside other than some Christmas tree type lights on a couple branches on the tree right above the dancing area, and even with 18+db on my FX1, it was virtually pitch black. I've been looking into some lighting gear for interviews, company training videos, possibly some short films, but I didn't know if anyone had any suggestions in regards to off-camera lighting for weddings.
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