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First time posting. Few ?'s any feedback would help!


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#1 Anthony Halloran

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 02:08 PM

Hello all, new to the site and anxious to start getting some feedback from some of the very talented people on this site. I am currently attending film school and have been DP for a handful of shorts and a music video since i have been in school, but i am about to start pre-production on our biggest "out of class" project so far. I wanted to just post some of my concerns and...ideas and see what everyone would have to say.
The story is a love story that shows the "realistic" ups and downs of a relationship (you wont find my name in the writing credits), and i want to show my ability to keep a visually exciting, yet still true-to-reality, feel to the video.

My locations are:
Int/Exterior of apartment living rooms, bedrooms... both night and day
Ext. handball court day
Ext. night, firepit/ poolside party
Int. Larger home living room, day

I will have access to a small amount of the school's lights. Three 650 Tweenies, possibly 1k or 2...some gels...bounce boards...And if i am lucky a 4x4 kino bank.

Now the real reason for this post... I have set aside roughly $250.00 to start my own light kit and i am wondering where my money could best be spent, with access to to equipment i have already listed. I want to be able to buy something that can fill some of the larger locations of this shoot, and something strong enough to hopefully help augment the sunlight for the handball court scene.

We are currently set to shoot this on two EX-3's, but are waiting to hear back on using a CineAlta (fingers crossed).

Any feedback you think i could use on a low-budget shoot like this would be much appreciated !!

Also we plan on having torches lining the pool...hopefully to minimize the amount of lights needed for the wide party shots. Wide shots at night are my biggest concern right now, the party will be fairly big and take up the whole back yard.

Sorry for being all over the place on this guys. But shoot me any ideas u have! thanks again.

Edited by Anthony Halloran, 02 March 2009 - 02:12 PM.

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#2 James Martin

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 02:42 PM

Hi,

I wish you the best of luck in your endeavour, but you might want to keep saving as $250 is not going to get you much, certainly nothing that can make a difference in sunlight. For that you ideally need an HMI, and they are probably $3000+ (I am not sure as I work in the UK and exchange rates have gone to pot recently). You could probably get a redhead off eBay for that much money but then it would do diddly unless it was next to an actor and then it would be very orange in comparison. If you gelled it you would take all the punch out of it...

Perhaps you should rent for a bit and get a feel for different lights?

Good luck though!

JM
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#3 Anthony Halloran

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 03:00 PM

Yea i figure i am pretty far off from being able to get some real "industry" lights or even anything close. Im kind of wondering what i could do with that much if i were to take it to the hardware store, or something similar. Looking more for what everyone uses for their DIY light kits. That HMI mayyyy be a possibility from school, but im not sure how we would power it at the handball court.
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#4 James Martin

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 03:05 PM

Well even a news cameraman's "DIY Light Kit" might still be ARRI Juniors or worse yet, Dedolights! (Think $3000 again for a 3-head 150w kit).

You could be better off spending it on other things, perhaps on a used Lightmeter if it is appropriate?

The local hardware store is not a great idea as they are unlikely to have much powerful enough for what you need, and the idea of home made lights is pretty dubious.
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#5 Chris Bowman

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 12:52 AM

Yea i figure i am pretty far off from being able to get some real "industry" lights or even anything close. Im kind of wondering what i could do with that much if i were to take it to the hardware store, or something similar. Looking more for what everyone uses for their DIY light kits. That HMI mayyyy be a possibility from school, but im not sure how we would power it at the handball court.


I did a no budget project once where we used a few 500 and 1000 watt halogen shop lights from the hardware store. They were frustrating to work with because even distribution was not even an afterthought in the design of the reflectors. They produce a very uneven light that is extremely hard to get satisfactory results with.

I would not use them again if I have a choice. They were just something that was on-hand in a production that could barely afford the DV tapes it was shot on.

DIY lighting is really not worth it. To do it right, it costs almost as much as just buying the finished product, while consuming untold hours of your time. If you are looking to keep it cheap, your best bet is probably ebay, auctions, and estate sales (it's really remarkable what you can find at an auction or estate sale, often for a tenth of what it's worth).
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 01:16 AM

E Bay is a beautiful thing for lighting, and let us not forget the used section of BH photo.
Building up a good well rounded lighting kit takes a long time. I would recommend/suggest some garden varaiety china balls and an assortment of practicle bulbs in multiple wattages which'll come in useful in more ways than you can imagine.
Also there are some powerful CFLs at Home Depot, I got a 23W which puts off 300W of light... doesn't flicker and wasn't green even on film (noticably) and can run a lot of 'em off of a car cigarette lighter. . . .
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#7 Anthony Halloran

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 01:47 AM

Thanks for the feedback guys. I was definitely leaning towards some china balls.
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#8 Mike Lary

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 01:53 AM

Your exteriors sound like a great opportunity to practice working with bounced light. Smaller tungsten units with CTB on them are going to be useless to you in your daylight exteriors, and you can't afford an HMI. Does your school have any big frames (12x12) with a butterfly kit?
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#9 Anthony Halloran

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 01:59 AM

Yea, they do have some larger 12x12 and 16x16 frames... not sure what a butterfly kit is tho.. :blink:... chances are i wont be able to get my hands on it for an out of class shoot.
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#10 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 02:15 AM

Bed sheets, anything white, can be used to diffuse light and/or bounce it.
Most art supply stores, at least here in Phila, carry foam core, as well. Get a big one and use it to fill in your shadows to lower contrast when needed.
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#11 Anthony Halloran

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 02:37 AM

I actually got to use a 12x12 with an ultrabounce on one of my last shorts. Put it high up and shot a 2500HMI into it. i was fairly happy with the results. Its the establishing shot about 28 seconds into the video below. But im sure all that nice equipment will be bedsheets on this next project.


Edited by Anthony Halloran, 03 March 2009 - 02:38 AM.

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#12 John Hoffler

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Posted 04 March 2009 - 04:07 AM

Hey Anthony,

China balls all the way, man. You can build them for around $15 a piece with a hand dimmer, not including the bulbs. I have two built to take 500w photofloods. They are the best possible lights for a zero-budget shoot, though still hard to control. I've used Hercules hooks to mount them right into the ceiling of living rooms and they can bring up the ambience considerably. As previously mentioned, a bed sheet and a pair of worklights can also do well in creating a larger soft source but they aren't easily controlled either.

I bought all the stuff to build the dimmers from Home Depot, got the China balls for a couple of bucks from Pier 1 over at Winter Park Village, and the photofloods from Harmon Photo off of Orange near downtown.

string a couple of those around the yard, kick the Tweenie's and 1K into bounce sources and use the Kino and foamcore for closeups and you should be able to get that wide shot of the EXT. Night Party scene looking rather nice.

you can also use the hand dimmers on the tweenie's with some CTO and red party gel to simulate the firelight flicker of the pit. I did that once with 3 of them on dimmers and i had a grip play the dimmers almost like a DJ on the turntables...lol
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#13 Anthony Halloran

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Posted 04 March 2009 - 09:35 AM

Helpful as always John. I actually went and got everything for china balls yesterday, but did not know what bulbs to get for them. I ended up getting a 120w incandescent "spiral" bulbs. Lit up my whole damn apartment. Also went and got hand dimmer parts and am going to throw those together tonight. Do you know about how much the 500w bulbs were? Also picked up a 750 worklight, hoping i may have something strong enough to get moonlight in my night interiors. Im guessing duvitine would be my best bet for controlling the china balls?

Every thing for 3 hand dimmers
Fixtures (bulbs i will be returning) and 5 china ballschina
Extension cords for china balls
Two 50 foot extension cords
750w work light
LOTS of electrical tape

Spent about $150 - it was a good day

Edited by Anthony Halloran, 04 March 2009 - 09:36 AM.

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#14 John Hoffler

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Posted 04 March 2009 - 09:39 AM

like $6 for tungsten photofloods and $8 for the daylight ones. one 500w photoflood will light your whole apartment too! I was getting a f16 at 320ASA that matched the exterior out of my window.
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#15 Mike Lary

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Posted 04 March 2009 - 01:42 PM

not sure what a butterfly kit is tho..

A butterfly kit gives you an assortment of modifiers for the frame (silk, grid cloth, solid, ultrabounce).

If you can't get a frame, you can buy heavyweight foam core (1" is decent). Sometimes it's hard to find large pieces of foam core, but you can make a gaff tape 'hinge' to connect a couple pieces. That also makes them a little easier to transport.

Just a note on the 500w photobulbs. I had to go to a photography store to find them, at least the clear ones. The Home Depot and Lowes only carried the frosted variety.
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