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Sets, lighting, colour and techniques on a budget


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#1 -DAVE.

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 11:12 PM

Hey all,

I'm creating a miniature set for our computer magazines where we can film short videos of products for broadcast online. This means the video will be hideously compressed, but I do have a $10,000 budget to play with. I've specced up an A1 HDV camera, Miller tripod, 2 radio mics, wide angle converter, on camera light and pellican case. We have the editing software (premiere, avid liquid and final cut pro).

The focus is now on the lighting, set and cinematography.
http://www.videocraf...product_id=8621
These are the lights my budget will permit, plus I can get some gels too. I've already got quite a lot of white foam.

The question is: I need to create a look for a computer labs set. Think school science lab foreground with an extended workbench with our logo and URL on it. The background will be boxes on shelves, stacks of hardware lying on benches, books and software packages on shelves and lots of cables on pegs. Like "Call for Help" on the how to channel mixed with Cnet's videos but with a stylised colour scheme to reflect what we use in the magazines and give it a homely, lived in feel, like a communal kitchen. Our mags get into a lot of technical detail, so I want to reflect the slightly chaotic nature of our work in the videos.

I was thinking of:
- A straw coloured kicker, with soft spun attached
- A fill light that changes colour according to the type of segment we're filming, quite high, aiming down to illuminate the workbench
- A very pronounced backlight that shows off displays the magazines' main colours, Deep Green or Light(ish) Orange, depending on the mag

Any pointers, tips or thoughts would be appreciated. I'm not sure on positioning, which gels to use (although I did pick up a Lee swash book from SMPTE last year) or the common problems you tend to run into when building a film set. I've done loads of theatre, but I would appreciate the help of some pros on this one.

Thanks Everyone.
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#2 Michael Nash

Michael Nash
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Posted 29 May 2006 - 12:08 AM

The focus is now on the lighting, set and cinematography.
http://www.videocraf...product_id=8621
These are the lights my budget will permit, plus I can get some gels too.


Your going to have a tough time lighting the set the way you describe with only three lights!

Unless you mean that you're going to get more than one of these kits, or already have other lights, you really should plan on getting more lights. But they don't have to be professional movie lights; you can build up a base illumination to the set with a variety of hardware store and practical fixtures.

Also keep in mind that saturated color gels eat up a lot of light.

I did a kind of "mad scientist's garage" type set once, I'll see if I can grab some pics.
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#3 -DAVE.

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 01:15 AM

Your going to have a tough time lighting the set the way you describe with only three lights!

Unless you mean that you're going to get more than one of these kits, or already have other lights, you really should plan on getting more lights. But they don't have to be professional movie lights; you can build up a base illumination to the set with a variety of hardware store and practical fixtures.

Also keep in mind that saturated color gels eat up a lot of light.

I did a kind of "mad scientist's garage" type set once, I'll see if I can grab some pics.



I'd love to see how you lit that set, I'm trying to get the lowell DV creator 44 kit, but I don't control the budget. Do you know of any really good sites that can fill me in on some of the beginning-to-middle of lighting for camera, and let me report back with questions as they come?

I would have thought there would have been balance issues using any old hardware lights with the balanced (presumably at 3200K) lowel kit? If I do get hardware store lights, should I get a dimmer to make them blend in? Will this effect their colour temperature?

I really miss having cages of fresnels and pars at my disposal...
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#4 Michael Nash

Michael Nash
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Posted 30 May 2006 - 02:16 AM

Practical lights come in all types and color temperatures. You could attempt to color-correct all the units to match, but since you're going for a colorful look you could just let them go.

Here are a few pics from that mad scientist set. This was a slightly tongue-in-cheek educational video, so it's a little more high-key and colorful than what I would do for drama.

These pics are all from a single dolly shot:
wayback_pan_1.jpg

Here you can see another practical on the left:
wayback_10.jpg

This was a real location so we had to work around what was there. I hung the 4' shoplight in the back and put daylight tubes in it. The colored stuff in the foreground of frame 1 was a mixture of things like the props themselves, colored party bulbs and gelled movie lights. I really didn't want to do colored gels because I thought it looked cheesy, but the director really wanted to cover up the fact that we didn't have enough props to make it feel like a cluttered lab. In the end I think he was right, and I just had to accept a little "cheese" as part of the piece's style.

All ther other lighting was tungsten with several Omni's and Totas, with lots of bounces, umbrellas, and flags. the "sunlight" on the back wall was a source 4 with the blades cut into a parallelogram.

Focal Press has a lot of books about film and video lighting.
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Visual Products

Paralinx LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Tai Audio

Technodolly

Metropolis Post

rebotnix Technologies

Wooden Camera

Aerial Filmworks

Willys Widgets

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Opal

CineTape

The Slider

CineLab

Glidecam

FJS International, LLC

Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Abel Cine