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


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Old January 29th, 2007, 12:25 PM   #1
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On-camera lighting questions

hi everyone,

I couldn't find the answers to my questions using a search, so here i am. I'm using a Canon XL2 if that makes any difference (20x long zoom range).

1) Should i go with a 50W light or a 35W? I don't want to blind my subjects but i want enough light that they'll be happy with the results. I couldn't find a 50W light that can be turned down to 35W as some members suggested... any pointers? I'm looking at "On-Camera Light Kits" at B&H right now.

2) This is a noob question, but how do these things work?? I mean ok, you setup the light on the hot-shoe on the camera, but where does the battery go??... I know this sounds stupid, but i'm looking at this light for example: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation Where does that battery go? Do i strap it to myself or something? hehe. I feel like an idiot!

3) Is the model i brought up in 2) any good? I want to buy a good light right from the start so i don't regret my purchase and end up having to buy another one. I look at all these lights and don't really know what i should be looking for in them. Any pointers would help

Thanks for your time!

Raji
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Old January 29th, 2007, 02:48 PM   #2
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A 35 watt would be fine with an XL2. The key is to use stay close enough to the subject for the light to have a noticable impact. I.E. Don't expect a 35 watt bulb to light up a couple from 40ft. away. Move in close enough to allow the light to work. You definitely won't be using all of your lens while using the on camera light.

The kit you suggested wouldn't work well. You need something with a diffusion on the front. At weddings it's a must because it softens the light so you don't blind the guests. In addition, don't buy a kit with a shoulder strap battery. More than looking silly, it's just hard to shoot and carry that thing around! Buy a kit with a belt pack battery. Forget about what you look like and think about what your footage looks like ^_^

So look for those two things in a light system: Diffusion and a belt battery. Other than that they all throw light and the more expensive ones will definitely last longer.

If you have to, buy the light and the battery seperate.

Ben
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Old January 29th, 2007, 03:01 PM   #3
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If you can afford it, the NRG varalux is a great setup. You can go up to a 100Watt bulb and the unit is dimmable, so you can turn the power right down if you need to. I had the sony 10/20 watt unit before and even at 10 watts, there was enough lights if you were within 8' of your subject (keep in mind the XL2 isn't quite as good as the sonys if it is setup right and it is much wore than the sonys if not setup for lowlight at all). The great thing about the NRG is that you can add on barn doors or diffusers and really customize it for the situation.
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Old January 29th, 2007, 03:59 PM   #4
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dont forget you can also mess around with yur shutter speed to bring out the background a little more without burning in your foreground..
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Old January 29th, 2007, 05:33 PM   #5
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Ben, thanks! Very helpful stuff.

Patrick, unfortunately, although that NRG looks like it would do a great job, it is a little pricey. Thanks for the suggestion though.

Peter, thanks, will do!

thanks guys! All your help is, as always, much appreciated! I think i've decided on this: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=402874&is=REG . Diffusion, belt battery, right wattage and right price
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Old January 30th, 2007, 05:57 AM   #6
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I use a Frezzi 50 watt minifill with dimmer and softbox. Great rig!
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Old January 30th, 2007, 07:52 AM   #7
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I use this kit http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

I've been happy with it, although I wish Pag had a softbox for it, but they dont'.
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Old February 3rd, 2007, 12:37 PM   #8
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I think you're going to regret not having a dimmable unit especially doing wedding work. I use to have the PAG C6 35W and had to swap out a 20W lamp for certain situations. Since I hate being a distraction, I opted for the Frezzi Micro-Fill w/dimmer and soft box. Expensive, but a great lighting solution.
Bob
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Old February 5th, 2007, 12:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Davis
I use this kit http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

I've been happy with it, although I wish Pag has a softbox for it, but they dont'.
Steve, just so you know PAG does have a Softlight Diffuser and Filter Kit for the PAG C6.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

I use it with my C6 and it works great. The adapters just snap onto the barn doors of the C6 light.

I personally might be switching to the NRG Varalux light because I like the dimmable (up to 100w) and more powerful light options that it gives me.

Although I do love the soft light that the PAG C6 gives me. That and the battery lasts pretty good as well for long receptions.
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Old February 5th, 2007, 02:10 PM   #10
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thanks everyone for your responses!

After lots of consideration, i have to agree with you Bob that i would regret purchasing a light without a dimmer... which means my minimum price has gone up a bit, hehe.

So now i'm looking at a setup that looks good on paper and i need to know if there's anything i missed (or should know) about the rig:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=423620&is=REG

The only thing i'm not sure about is the shoe mount. Most other manufacturers state a "Universal Shoe Mount", which makes me wonder if this will fit on my XL2. Is this a decent rig? It gives me a dimmer, 35w power, a softbox and a belt battery. That's all you guys' advice in one package... am i missing anything?

thanks again everyone
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Old February 5th, 2007, 02:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Liebergot
Steve, just so you know PAG does have a Softlight Diffuser and Filter Kit for the PAG C6.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

I use it with my C6 and it works great. The adapters just snap onto the barn doors of the C6 light.

I personally might be switching to the NRG Varalux light because I like the dimmable (up to 100w) and more powerful light options that it gives me.

Although I do love the soft light that the PAG C6 gives me. That and the battery lasts pretty good as well for long receptions.
I apologize, I meant to say a softbox.
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Old February 8th, 2007, 01:34 PM   #12
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Light for Sony A1U

I've got a wedding coming soon, and it will be the first time I've tried to use my A1 as my primary camera. I've got a TRV-103 for backup when the light gets low, but I'm looking for an on camera light for the A1.

I'm looking at the Sony HVL-20DMA with NP-QM91D battery, or Bescor VS-65 or MPL325B with MM-7 battery.

Does anyone know how these compare for wedding use and how much shooting time I can get from them?
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Old February 8th, 2007, 01:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victor Wilcox
I've got a wedding coming soon, and it will be the first time I've tried to use my A1 as my primary camera. I've got a TRV-103 for backup when the light gets low, but I'm looking for an on camera light for the A1.

I'm looking at the Sony HVL-20DMA with NP-QM91D battery, or Bescor VS-65 or MPL325B with MM-7 battery.

Does anyone know how these compare for wedding use and how much shooting time I can get from them?
Those lights from Sony will produce too much of a hot spot and wont throw enough light. You can maybe get 10-20 feet max out of it.

I would recommend like most here a light that is spot focusable or dimmable. Or people will be squinting.

I am looking at picking up the NRG VARALUX light. I have heard great things about it, easy to place dispersion grid for soft lighting, dimmable, fully tiltable to bounce light off of ceilings, and you can go up to a 100w of light when needed.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont....x=0&image.y=0
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Old February 8th, 2007, 05:06 PM   #14
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I use these lights and they are great. Nobody squints in any of my footage, unless I use the light wrong (without the diffuser).

It all depends if you run the light in 10 watt mode or 20 watt, but at least 2 hours with F970.

I use a Canon diffuser that I cut up and modified, so more light could shine through. With a big sony battery the light lasts for at least two hrs. I usually change battery every 2 hours, no matter how much I've used the light because I have so many batteries.

The light works for about 30-50 feet without the diffuser. I use a pd170.
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Old February 9th, 2007, 09:25 AM   #15
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[QUOTE=Raji Barbir]

...i'm looking at a setup that looks good on paper and i need to know if there's anything i missed (or should know) about the rig:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=423620&is=REG

Raji,

I haven't used this light, but it does look good on paper. I would suggest however, a spare battery worn on the same belt with the first battery, OR get a bigger battery belt. Either way, you definitely need a spare!

BTW, for an XL2, I'd spring for the NRG Varalux Pro with a big Bescor battery belt. The available 100watts (@ full power) comes in handy on those outdoors, moonless, no/low light nights when the B&G are leaving the reception. Many times the photographer is stunned that I have that much light available and they'll thank me for turning it up!

NRG Varalux Pro - NRG site - http://www.nrgresearch.com/
Varalux Pro @ B&H - http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation
Bescor battery belt - http://www.bescor.com/catalog.php?page=05#

Good luck!

Mark

BTW, add a diffuser and turn it down to 10 watts during the close ups, AND you can tilt it up if need be!
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