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Old August 13th, 2019, 02:35 PM   #1
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Help me set up my Lighting

Hello all,

I am currently using an iPhone 8 plus to shoot my videos. In the future I am looking to upgrade to a Sony A6400 or something similar. Want to definitely shoot in 4K without crop. Before I upgrade my camera I would like to get my lighting in order. I am an audio professional and just getting into video. Based on the Youtube links below - Please advice on the kind of light you would recommend as well as how to position it. I would like to avoid huge soft box lights. I have a pair and they are ok but take forever to set up. I would like to have lights that can be attached to a tripod above the phone or on mic stand with a proper adapter. (I have a ton of mic stands)

Do I need one light above the iPhone or to lights positioned to the left and right of the phone?

My video wIth soft box lights:



Here is a couple without:



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Old August 15th, 2019, 10:23 AM   #2
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Re: Help me set up my Lighting

Lighting is one of the more creative things that can be done and takes time to master. What you most likely would need to do is cover your "person" shots with basic 3 point lighting or possibly 2 point if you like some deeper shadows for modeling. 3 point is a key (main light), fill (less intens light to fill in shadows) and back (light up back of subject to seperate from the background they are in front of) Here is a pretty inexpensive kit that I found on B&H
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...2855/KBID/3801
You can then use just a single light for equipment close ups, play around with different colored gels and because they are battery powered easily use at different locations.
Remember the kit I linked to is really only designed to light a single person, it won't do a whole stage and may or may not be enough for 2 people. Hope this helps.
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Old August 15th, 2019, 03:21 PM   #3
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Re: Help me set up my Lighting

Quickest/easiest setup (if you need to reset each time), is to bounce a strong source off a white ceiling. Problem is, you give up almost all control over that light, which will fill and spill everywhere unless flagged carefully (not an option for fast setups).
Second fastest option is a strong source through a diffused umbrella. Pops open in a second, and you can keep the light and stand tucked into a corner when not in use.
Either way, I'd recommend a COB type LED light for power output, cool running, and versatility of adapters.
The Godox brand SL-60 or similar 'monoblock' style lights with a Bowens front accessory mount will allow you to use dozens of cheap modifiers. I'd suggest two units if you're going to use them as key/fill.
Eventually, if you want to add some more style or interest, you can look into LED light strips or string lights as a background element (very popular with many YouTubers). You can see the results of such a look here (along with a breakdown of how it was lit).
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Old August 16th, 2019, 02:23 AM   #4
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Re: Help me set up my Lighting

The setup you use for the second videos has shadows, the only thing of course is your hand on the pick guard has multiple shadows which shows where the lights were. I tend to think the best results come from an old fashioned key - part of the 3 point lighting technique, with a software light on the other side. Sometimes I will bounce a Fresnel on a tight beam from the ceiling, which as said still spills, but not so much. In your videos you have screens in the background, so a forwards facing light source to give depth is not so important - and in yours a few shadows in the background, or lower light levels will make you stand out.

The strange thing was the picture softness. Has youtube mangled your definition. It shows as 1080, but looks SD which is very odd. As you have a good guitar collection, showing them off is vital, so the lighting you've already designed by skill or luck is good enough as it is, but the image quality needs some investigation
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Old August 18th, 2019, 12:21 AM   #5
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Re: Help me set up my Lighting

Thank you all for your responses. So far I ordered this light: Neewer on Camera Video Light Photo Dimmable 176 LED




Its cheap and it will allow me to experiment with light placement and see if I need one or two more. It has a dimmer and 2 filters.

That way when I decide to invest in better lighting I will know exactly what I need and not spend a lot of money buying blind (at least I hope so). I will definitely try to aim it at the ceiling as well directly at me and see what gets me better results.

Will definitely keep my eye on the Godox sl60 as well.

As far video quality - I shot at 1080/60 frames but did a bunch of panning and zooming which reduced the quality. Since I shot these videos, I have invested in a better tripod (so my phone won't get slightly tilted as I connect a monitor via thunderbolt to see what I am shooting. I had to rotate the videos 1.5 degrees in order to straighten them, then had to crop to get rid of edges that reduces the quality. In fact since than I found how to mirror my iPhone screen on my iPad wirelessly.

I have decided that going forward I will shoot at 4k 60frames as my iPhone 8 plus allows me to do so. I was hesitant to shoot at 4k before because I was afraid my computer (late 2013 MacBook Pro) would not be able to handle it but if worst comes to worst I will just convert to 1080 on import to final cut pro.

As far as I know shooting at 4k will allow me to retain more quality even when I do panning and zooming.

Is that correct?

Because I am performing I opt to go for a single live take whenever possible and then cut the video footage up and apply a lot of "Ken Burns" ( as it is called in final pro) to simulate a multi angle footage and add some movement to a static shot.

What youtube does mess up (only in the YouTube app though - internet browser is fine) is the sync between audio and video. I usefully export in H264. Is there anything else in the export settings I should be doing?

Last edited by Eduard Manvelyan; August 18th, 2019 at 01:42 AM.
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Old August 18th, 2019, 03:09 AM   #6
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Re: Help me set up my Lighting

Yes - sort of. The killer though is the lens in the phone. The sensor is tiny and the lens is tiny too. 4K is a numeric standard and you'll find a good lens and larger sensor at 1080 may well out trump your 4K. If you look at a single pixel, can the lens quality land a tiny spot on just this one pixel? No, it probably covers at least 4-10 pixels at it's most sharp focus. That's the trouble and of course if you zoom, you are using a cheat to give the zoomed in image while a real lens changes the multiple lens configuration retain the quality throughout the range. Phones can't do this.

I've got one of the lights very similar to yours on my large format camera, for interviews in horrible lighting where it is at least one bright light. In my studio, it's useful thing as a low brightness key. The small size producing shadows. rather diffuse shadows, but useful. At the very least you need a source to create shadows and a source to fill them in - it gives depth. I'm a traditionalist, I still like 45 to the side and 45 up as the 'perfect' face light, and then the fill can be a bit more flexible as to location. I'm old enough to still have an 800W linear lamp redhead kit, with diffuser on the barn doors for fill. If I could buy an LED that did what they did, I would need no more. A big knob to control the beam angle from fierce and narrow to bland and wide. Some barn doors to stop light in certain directions, and then with some clips, a large sheet of diffuser for soft - and even two or three different types of diffuser. Now - we have less control, and soft lights are rarely tweak able - they just do big and soft. If you live in a city, visit the video rental houses and hire some for an afternoon and experiment with what they can do. Money well spent.
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Old August 28th, 2019, 05:44 PM   #7
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Re: Help me set up my Lighting

So I shot 2 videos in 4K, with a new light. I was able to edit using proxy media in Final Cut Pro and still exported in 4K. Now in order to get the benefit of 4K, where I will not loose quality when I zoom and pan in post - do I edit in 4K and export in 1080 or export in 4K and then reconvert an exported file to 1080? Or upload a 4K file to YouTube and since most people will watch in 1080 it will resolve it self? Thanks!
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Old August 28th, 2019, 08:25 PM   #8
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Re: Help me set up my Lighting

The short answer is import 4k and edit then export and upload in 1080.

People new to video think if they film in 4k they can digitally zoom in as much as they like without a loss of quality. Digital zoom is not a substitute for zoom lens. It's ok to make modest crops for composition adjustments. For example a bottle of Coco Cola got inadvertently into the edge of your shot, instead of re shooting the scene you crop in a little, but if you need a close up of your hand playing the guitar, trying to digitally zoom a wide shot into a close up is going to look terrible.

Last edited by Pete Cofrancesco; August 28th, 2019 at 09:04 PM.
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Old August 29th, 2019, 02:56 AM   #9
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Re: Help me set up my Lighting

Totally agree with Pete's comments.

As you're an audio guy, you've forgotten some of the audio things newcomers think make huge differences. 4K is better than 1080, that's better than SD but it relates to audio as saying 44.1KHz wav is better than mp3, but 96KHz is best. Technically it is, as is 4K, but the differences can often be quite small in practice. I could, but don't shoot in 4K. All my work that pays the bills involves SD archive footage, so I shoot new in 1080, but edit in 720, which for me, gives the best output quality - down converting the 1080, and up converting the 576 SD.

Lighting is also quite controversial at the moment. Many broadcasters are moving towards flat, even light, and away from Keys, I suspect due to the costs of crew calls to refocus when moving from a 2 to 3 person set change. Fixed and rarely moved larger panels mean no downtime and expense calling in people to move and refocus.

As for cinematic lighting? This is a totally different concept. I wish 'cinematic' would stop being used in the wrong context.

People rarely talk about the look. If you use Youtube as the kind of model, the type of video is the real guide. Music ones in particular. Those ones that are based around technique need clear closeups of the fingers on the strings, or how the pianist, uses the thumbs. On the other hand, some try to be arty and use lighting to create shadows and mood, or sometimes simply to make the guitar stand out from the background. Others need particular light levels so monitor screens can be seen but with minimal glare and reflections. Some people have cameras that can handle contrast and light accordingly, but others have cameras tweaked to give good pictures, but they need bland and even lighting. Do you want everything in focus, or shallow DoF? Lights can enable it, or inhibit it. Few iPhones can have ND applied, or have any real iris control, because these things are fixed. Do you want pretty vs sterile? Youtube is great because it allows us to see how badly it can be done, so when the few good ones turn up they just jump out at you.

The reality is that you need some different light sources, so you can create the right lighting. In my edit suite, I fitted some ceiling mounts with 16mm sockets so I can add/swap various fixtures from my stock, and the small LED panel can attach to a mic boom stand. I can do quite a bit, but in the audio studio, a few small spotlights rather fix the 'look'. The 'mixing Tutorial pt1' look - with moody feel and shallow DoF looks good, but would be hopeless if people needed to read labels or displays. Single or double spots look nice as a 'picture', but can people follow what's going on. I'm simply unsure there is a single 'fix-all' approach any longer. Key, fill and backlight in an interview works, but in a tutorial in a studio, it can get in the way and be just too in your face? lighting often gets advance planned, and then modified on site once you are in the space. I guess that's just how it has to be.
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Old August 29th, 2019, 05:08 AM   #10
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Re: Help me set up my Lighting

There are a lot of good lighting tutorials on youtube and most are geared for talking head style shooting from a home studio in a bedroom/basement. A common setup is a fixed back light permanently mounted on the ceiling then a key and fill on a light stand.
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Old August 29th, 2019, 11:35 AM   #11
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Re: Help me set up my Lighting

Thank you for all the replies. I will export in 1080 from Final Cut.

Yes I definitely would recommend anyone new to audio to stay in 44.1k. In fact thats what I record in myself. I suspect lighting to video is as important as room treatment and gobos for audio. For example I would not recommend anyone get an expensive mic if they don't know how to treat the area they are recording and they would end up with lots of room early reflections in their recording. Even an expensive mic would not sound good in that scenario. Or someone get lots of expensive plugins for mixing, if they at least don't have bass traps in the corners and their points of first reflections covered with acoustic treatment. Same way I think I need to get an effective lighting setup before going for a new camera.

I will post a video I recently shot on Monday. I would be very curious to see how I could further improve my lighting. I will say that the light I recently got made a huge difference.

I guess down the road I will be shooting with 2 cameras simultaneously. One with a zoom lens for close ups and the other one my regular frame shot. ( I say zoom lens because I don't want the close up camera in the shot of the regular frame ) I will also have to figure how to trigger the recording on both cameras on and of with the same remote if thats possible.
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Old August 29th, 2019, 12:20 PM   #12
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Re: Help me set up my Lighting

Most dslr and mirrorless cameras have either a wireless or wired remotes to trigger recording. In addition some cameras lcd that can flip around into “selfie” mode otherwise need monitors to see yourself.

A few downsides of two cameras are twice the footage, twice the cost for cameras and more editing work. Sometimes in cinema they use only one camera and plan out the scene. As opposed to live events you have the luxury to stopping to get a close up or reshooting close up separately. Both methods have their pros and cons.
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Old August 29th, 2019, 04:32 PM   #13
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Re: Help me set up my Lighting

Don't worry = just get them both recording and sync them later - a simple hand clap at the beginning or end works fine - use the audio from just one of them - probably the one with the clip on mic I assume you'll use?

Also - just make sure that whenever you make a mistake, you swap your look to the other camera, with the head turn if you can - it makes the editing so much easier.
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Old August 29th, 2019, 11:56 PM   #14
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Re: Help me set up my Lighting

I never use camera audio in any of my final videos. Audio get recorded into Avid Pro Tools separately from the video. Wether it is voice over or me playing an instrument. Then the audio gets synced to video in post (because I can't press record in pro tools and on the camera at the same time. In fact the camera audio is only used as a reference to help me sync to the real audio I will be using.

The reason why I wanted to trigger both cameras at the same time is so I would only have to sync the audio once to save time. Realistically, when I upgrade to a better camera I will probably use my iPhone camera with a zoom lens for closeups. The camera I want is a Sony A6400, and I definitely can't afford two of them :) Another idea is to use a go pro attached to the headstock of my guitar (they make all the accessories) but that fish eye footage is more of a special effect.

I will post a new video on Monday morning. (the one I shot in 4k as well as with a new light) Cant wait to hear more suggestions about lighting camera set up etc.
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Old August 30th, 2019, 01:32 AM   #15
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Re: Help me set up my Lighting

Please don't worrying about sync. It's not remotely a problem. My kind of work means audio from large mixers, the odd zoom or two plus the quite decent audio from the cameras I use. Syncing these up on the timeline is never the work of more than a few minutes, once you follow some rules. As in the simple one - don't stop the cameras! Stability and success is almost guaranteed. In my work we could have a camera quite a way away, and it's sound is always delayed anyway, so to use that audio it's actually delayed and out of sync anyway. The old handclap, or clapper board sync method is absolutely fine and simple. Especially as waveforms in the editor show clearly that you're in the right area!

I'd hate to lose my camera audio. Audience noise, ambience, outside wild tracks for sound effects, even helpful commentary from me as to what I'm seeing to help in the edit. "There's a car about to wreck this shot" I'd never NOT record camera audio, even if I know it won't be used. Always a great backup, just in case.
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