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Need guidance for an on camera light


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#1 Sam Javor

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 11:24 PM

Hi! I just got sucked into my first event videography project (bat mitzvah) and I need some help picking an on camera light. My budget is reletivly small...definatly less than $1K (preferably less than $300) but I have until march 24th to get everything.

I need a versital on-camera light but I'm not exactly sure which one to look at. I tpyically use 500w incandescent bulbs in scoops. But I have to be reletivly mobile on this. Are there reliable 400-500w on camera lights that can run off batteries? Or maybe have a less than 5amp requirement so I can run an inverter (7amp max) I can haul around an awful lot in batteries because I'll probably have a pedistal... It'd be nice if it was something that could have a fairly wide dispersal to use as an off axis key for interviews (have reflectors for fill).

The camera system is currently based around an old as dirt Panasonic WV-F250 (with some creative modifications - basically a studio config) ... don't know the ISO of the camera yet but it's dark...

any suggestions?
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#2 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 12:00 AM

Maybe it's out of your budget, but when I have to use an on camera light, I prefer using a Litepanel. Most other onboard lightsources are harsh and invasive. Litepanels give a nice soft and dimmable alternative.


www.litepanels.com Also available at www.filmtools.com
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#3 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 06:54 AM

Hi! I just got sucked into my first event videography project (bat mitzvah) and I need some help picking an on camera light. My budget is reletivly small...definatly less than $1K (preferably less than $300) but I have until march 24th to get everything.

I need a versital on-camera light but I'm not exactly sure which one to look at. I tpyically use 500w incandescent bulbs in scoops. But I have to be reletivly mobile on this. Are there reliable 400-500w on camera lights that can run off batteries? Or maybe have a less than 5amp requirement so I can run an inverter (7amp max) I can haul around an awful lot in batteries because I'll probably have a pedistal... It'd be nice if it was something that could have a fairly wide dispersal to use as an off axis key for interviews (have reflectors for fill).

The camera system is currently based around an old as dirt Panasonic WV-F250 (with some creative modifications - basically a studio config) ... don't know the ISO of the camera yet but it's dark...

any suggestions?


That's a nice camera in that it has 1/2" chips but why do you need a pedestal? How are
you going to move that around at a bat mitzvah? Why not go with a good tripod? That
would have to be easier.

Also, I do events and I use two lights usually, not necessarily simulataneously.
A Lowell Omni (500w with or without diffusion to cover wide areas, using the diffusion
as a softer, gentler scrim) and for an-camera light usually nothing more than 100w.

The on-camera light works for close-ups, interviews and seems to be plenty for Mini-DV
but even with your camera/format, a bigger light is going to be blasting people and
usually conspicuously because often the ambient light levels may be so low otherwise.

Soft diffusion on the light, even thin, is nice because it's less of a harsh point source for
the subject to see and more of a glow, which helps cut down on squinting.

" Are there reliable 400-500w on camera lights that can run off batteries?" Yeah, for like
ten seconds unless you have a weightlifter assistant to carry the battery belt that you'll
need. I would suggest that for that many watts, get a light on a stand and put it
someplace that works for you and lets you move around with the camera and a smaller
on camera light.

Many event videoographers have a wireless remote control on/off device for their
light(s) on stand(s). I think that they're simple remote controls that can be bought
inexpensively at a do it yourself electronics store. So, if you're across the room,
it's a lot easier. Good luck.
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#4 Greg Gross

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 08:03 PM

Are you going to shoot with a monitor so that you can determine your exposure?
You really do not need to use a meter although you can use one if you know the
ASA rating for your Panasonic. I believe the sensible thing to do would be to use
a calibrated monitor. I've seen people use a simple photoflood(for film) mounted
right on the camera in a simple holder,aluminum reflector. Of course you will not
need a photoflood shooting video as you will have a monitor and you'll be control-
ing your white balance. I'm assuming now that you want to keep the cost down.
Have you thought about the possibility of using china balls. You know you can mount
them on a pole and your gaffer(holding the light on the pole) can bring it as close to
the actor/actors as possible. Well just some suggestions for you and of course my
way is not the only way. Its possible for you to save some money if you need to do
so. Good luck with your production.
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#5 Mark Sasahara

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 03:13 PM

I think your best bet is, as Jim suggested, have a larger light that will be your main light and then have the onboard light be a fill light. Also, you may have to go with available light and then use the on board as the main. Diffuse the light with a small softbox, or just clip some 216, or Opal to the front. You won't really need more than about 50W. Be sure you've got enough batteries and keep the charger nearby. Are you usng NP1's or Gold Mount?

An Anton Bauer, Frezzi, PAG, or even a Bescor light should be plenty. If you can get the light a little higher and off center a bit, that can help.

I don't think you want to be dragging an inverter around. Is there any way that you can switch to some smaler and lighter cams like a Sony VX 2100? Certainly would make life easier and the low light is probably better that the WV-250. I've never used the WV-250, so I don't know what it's like.

Are you going to be operating multiple cams on pedestals? You won't really be "in" the event, you'll be more "outside" observing.
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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

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Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

The Slider

CineTape

Wooden Camera

rebotnix Technologies

Visual Products

Technodolly

Metropolis Post

Willys Widgets

FJS International, LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS