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Help an amatuer with HD lighting


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#1 Aram Avedisian

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 07:16 PM

Hey, I am wondering if anyone can recommend a good starter lighting setup for shooting in HDV. From what I gather, shooting HDV doesn't require too much light, but I am not sure as to what to pick up.

I'd like to keep is very, very inexpensive (say $500-$600, is this realistic?). I just don't know where to start....would a couple of floods with gel holders and barndoors be ok?

Anyone with any input on this please help. Or just point me in the direction of a good read for HD lighting. Thank you so very much.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 10:06 PM

There is no such thing as "HD lighting". There is lighting, period, adjusted for the sensitivity and contrast range of the particular recording medium.

Will go into more detail but first you should edit your Display Name under My Controls to be a real first and last names, as per the forum rules.
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#3 Aram Avedisian

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 10:33 PM

Sorry about the display name thing. Fixed that now.

Also, after posting this question, I did some more reading and have learned that HDV is no different than any other format as far as lighting is concerned.

I've also found a few books that were recommended by users in other posts that I plan on picking up as soon as possible.

Other than that....I just need some help and suggestions to point me in the right direction for a very basic setup.
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#4 Chris Dingley1

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 10:34 PM

Actually when shooting HD (most of the time) it requires more light than film or regular video. I lit a short for my friend and he used the cine alta and we needed more light than normal.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 11:50 PM

Actually when shooting HD (most of the time) it requires more light than film or regular video. I lit a short for my friend and he used the cine alta and we needed more light than normal.


What's "normal"? An F900 CineAlta is around 320-400 ASA at 0db / 24P / 1/48th shutter -- pretty much the same light levels as people using 500 ASA film stock work in.

In fact, I tend to shoot at lower levels with the F900 than I do in 35mm, because on a 2/3" CCD camera, I'm trying to shoot wide-open as much as possible to get a more shallow-focus look, whereas in 35mm, I try to stop down a little so that the focus doesn't get too shallow.

But in general, the light levels used are similar, until you start doing things like increase the exposure times or boost the gain.

As far as a small lighting package goes, you'll want to start with a mix of small tungsten units plus some homemade lights like Chinese Lanterns. Most people get a few 650w and 1K tungstens for starters, maybe in the fresnel design. From there, you may expand in either direction (smaller than 650w and bigger than 1K), mix some fresnels with open-faced units and tungsten PAR's. Maybe some hardware store flourescents.

From there, you'd probably expand into some small HMI's like 575w or 1200w HMI PAR's. And maybe some flos built for movie work like Kinoflos.

You'll also want to factor in grip equipment (diffusion frames, c-stands, etc.) and electrical support (stingers, power boxes, etc.) Plus expendables like gels, light bulbs, blackwrap, etc.
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#6 Aram Avedisian

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 12:24 AM

First off, I would like to thank everybody for their input on this thread.

And now a curious question....Would photofloods with barndoors be able to take the place of a fresnel?
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 12:28 AM

If it puts out light, it can be used, but it's not the same thing as a fresnel -- you can't spot or flood a photoflood bulb for example. It's hard to drop a single or double scrim into a photoflood.
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#8 Chris Dingley1

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 02:21 AM

I would agree with what mr. mullen has to say he is a genious. I was pointing out my own personal experience.
the only thing I would check is the depth of field charts for HD. I think it is similar to 35mm but I could be wrong. this is where your lighting can be slurred abit.
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 02:59 AM

HD in itself doesn't have a depth of field characteristic -- the size of the sensor is what matters (in combination with the focal length, f-stop, etc.)

The depth of field characteristics of a 2/3" CCD camera are the same whether or not it is HD or SD. And a 2/3" CCD is slightly smaller than a Super-16 frame and both tend towards deeper focus characteristics than the larger 35mm frame, mainly because the average focal length is shorter than with 35mm to obtain the same field of view.

Practically speaking, you get 2 1/2 stops more depth of field in 2/3" CCD photography compared to 35mm. In other words, shooting at f/2.0 on a 2/3" CCD camera is like shooting at f/4-f/5.6 split in 35mm in terms of how deep the focus looks, assuming you match field of view and distance focused.
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#10 Aram Avedisian

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 07:49 PM

Alright, I think I'm gonna end up going with Britek lights (inexpensive and seem to fit the needs).

Let me know what everyone thinks of the following setup.

1 - 650w focusing flood with barndoors
2 - 300w flood with softboxes
1 - 300w flood with barndoors and umbrellas

Of course, stands, and bags for everything, along with some spare bulbs.

I'm wondering what everyone thinks of this setup as a beginner setup and also, what, if anything you would change.


Oh, and what gels would you recommend to start with....I was thinking of picking up 2 color correcting "packs" of 12 gels and expand from there.

And remember, this is for DV/HDV.

Thanks.
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