Lighting for HD...

13 replies [Last post]
Bania
Offline
Joined: Nov 5 2005

Given that some of you guys will have spent ages working this out...

...I figured that if you were in a generous mood...

...I could save myself a ton of time/expense/mistakes by asking before buying :)

Assuming that most of the work would be 'interview' style - and you were armed with a Sony HC1 + not a lot of budget...

...what lighting would you guys purchase ?

When I bought my tripod (ages ago), I managed to make a real mistake

(up front - let me say that I think Jessops is great as a shop)

It was a Jessop's own brand product which looked the part

It even had a little 'spirit bubble' to tell you if it was level

However, the bubble was UNDER the mechanism that gives the camera 'tilt'

That mechanism is 'pants' and does not understand what 'horizontal' is...

...so you have to mess around with leg-lengths to get the right shot

What is even funnier is that every person I have met since with a low-cost Jessop tripod has had the same experience !

Are there any words of 'lighting wisdom' you guys can share to prevent me owning a 'Jessop' set of lights that don't do something really important ?

MattDavis
MattDavis's picture
Offline
Joined: Jul 1 2005
Bania wrote:
Assuming that most of the work would be 'interview' style - and you were armed with a Sony HC1 + not a lot of budget...

...what lighting would you guys purchase?

A bright Tungsten Halogen desk lamp as a key light, room lighting as a soft fill. Other desk lamps (the ones that fold up) dotted around in strategic places to light background.

A silver/gold Lastrolite reflector (the ones that twist up to 1/3 the size), using a window as a light source. A secondhand boom mic stand is handy to hold it in place.

A 60W light bulb in one of those big spherical paper lanterns (do Ikea still do them?) supported on a second hand microphone stand makes a sort of Blue Peter softbox.

Second-hand photo-flood photographic lights can seem a cheap option, but things get hot really quickly, and the colour temp - with proper bulbs - is different to domestic lighting.

OTOH, ProKit in London rent a great little kit for about £25 - £30 per day (Lowel Rifa softbox key, Tota/Brolly fill and Dedo spotlight). Costs £850 I think. A joy to use.

Matt Davis - Director/Editor - Write, shoot, edit, publish - website & Blog
2x EX1R, FS100 & FS700 into FCPX & CS6

Robin Davies-Ro...
Offline
Joined: Feb 21 2005

I'd go for the Dedolights (well, I have anyway...)
100watt 12v. bubbles, giving output of equivalent 300watt lamp, totally dimmable and so, so portable. The Lastolite reflecter is a must as well.

Robin

Alan Roberts
Alan Roberts's picture
Offline
Joined: May 3 1999

Dedos are fine, mostly because they're low voltage and portable. But they're a small source so give hard shadows. You must have soft lighting available (even if you don't use it on occasion) and that means a big diffuser.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

StevenBagley
Offline
Joined: Aug 14 2000

If you register with dv.com (well worth it -- lots of useful articles on there even if it is biased to the US), there is an interesting article called 'Building a compact light kit' which may be of some use.

Steven

infocus
Offline
Joined: Jul 18 2003
Robin Davies-Rollinson wrote:
I'd go for the Dedolights (well, I have anyway...)
100watt 12v. bubbles, giving output of equivalent 300watt lamp, totally dimmable and so, so portable. The Lastolite reflecter is a must as well.

I'll second Robin. And to further add to his points, don't forget that they are very, very "flaggable", and hence controllable. They are also capable of being very tightly spotted, and able to put a considerable amount of light on a small area from a distance, out of all proportion to their absolute power. Useful for (say) lighting a speaker at the other end of a large room whilst keeping the light near the camera position (for control and safety if the room may be crowded).

Medidox
Offline
Joined: Jun 20 2005

I think the main lesson to be learnt from this Bania is that cameras come and go but pieces of kit like lights and tripods are mainstays and therefore worth investing in. I've always bought the best I can possibly afford and then paid some more for tripod, lights, audio mixers & mics, because once bought, they become part of your life. Dedolights are fantastic but also probably come with a fantasy price tag and you don't often see them second-hand because they are so sought after. A good set of red-heads or sachtler reporters are well worth investing in and you can find them second-hand. But make sure that they've been well looked after, these things can take professional use but you want to get a few years out of them yourself. And I don't know how much you paid for the jessops tripod but I would return as not being fit for the purpose and buy the best fluid head tripod I could afford. Hope this helps. Good luck.

infocus
Offline
Joined: Jul 18 2003
Medidox wrote:
Dedolights are fantastic but also probably come with a fantasy price tag and you don't often see them second-hand because they are so sought after. A good set of red-heads or sachtler reporters ..........

When I got my Dedolights they were very comparable in price per head (IIRC) to Sachtlers, and I'm pretty sure red heads as well. Buying second hand is a fair point, but being lighter and running much cooler they seem to need much less maintenance - I think I've only changed one bulb in two heads in several years of having them.

What they won't do is give a lot of illumination to a general scene, and I still keep a redhead for that, though nowadays it doesn't much get used. Alans point about them being hard sources is true, but if they are used to give some modelling to supplement the light that's there anyway, they don't normally appear too hard. That's why I like them for interviews etc.

Robin Davies-Ro...
Offline
Joined: Feb 21 2005
infocus wrote:
Alan's point about them being hard sources is true, but if they are used to give some modelling to supplement the light that's there anyway, they don't normally appear too hard. That's why I like them for interviews etc.

...which is exactly why I like them as well. The problem with too much soft light is that it can go everywhere (unless you're using "egg-crates" on a soft-box) so by using the Dedos enables me to pull the interviewee away from the background more and to give them more value as it were.
Anyway, I keep a few redheads as well - just in case - and they'll give great bounce light if needed.

Robin

Medidox
Offline
Joined: Jun 20 2005
infocus wrote:
When I got my Dedolights they were very comparable in price per head (IIRC) to Sachtlers, and I'm pretty sure red heads as well. QUOTE]

Well I envy you guys with the dedolights as I would like to get a kit to slim down the stuff I take on location but new I was looking at over three grand. I'm waiting for the next big job before I make that investment...

Bruce
Offline
Joined: Apr 20 2001

The good thing about decent kit is that although its expensive it lasts a very long time. In the end dedo's become the cheapest choice. I have an original set that are as good as new after years of use. My redheads must be 20 years old!

Robin Davies-Ro...
Offline
Joined: Feb 21 2005

Bruce ...I'd love a twenty year old redhead... even a blonde ;-)
(yeah, you're right about good kit lasting - I've even got an old Mole Richardson Pup that I had converted to use quartz bubbles intead of the big old incandescent ones. It seems so heavy compared to the other lamps, but it still gets wheeled out occasionally.)

Regards,
Robin

infocus
Offline
Joined: Jul 18 2003
Medidox wrote:
infocus wrote:
When I got my Dedolights they were very comparable in price per head (IIRC) to Sachtlers, and I'm pretty sure red heads as well.

Well I envy you guys with the dedolights ........ but new I was looking at over three grand.

As an example price, see http://www.creativevideo.co.uk/gimme/storereframe.php?group=dedolight - £1,099 + VAT for three basic heads plus dimmers and barndoors. That's well under £400/head, and a bit of quick surfing has given me a new price for a set of three Sachtler 300s of Euro 1672 - Dedo heads are very comparable in price to Sachtlers. (And I know which I prefer!)

For three grand I suspect you may have been looking at the Dedo HMI kit - and now my mouth IS watering.

Medidox
Offline
Joined: Jun 20 2005
infocus wrote:
As an example price, see http://www.creativevideo.co.uk/gimme/storereframe.php?group=dedolight - £1,099 + VAT for three basic heads plus dimmers and barndoors. That's well under £400/head,

Cheers Infocus, that's quite a tasty price, - not sure what I was looking at before, but I think it was four heads and a soft box - but I might sneak those past the mensahib without too much complaint!!