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lighting for a small studio


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#1 robert hollenbach

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 01:57 PM

I am planning on setting up a small studio in my garage. The majority of my videos will be similiar to a news program or live TV show look with actors/actresses that are either sitting down or moving around in a limited amount of space. Some of the videos I plan on filming will occur outside the studio (such as interviews in someone else's home or office). I would like to add that I live in an older home and I am not exactly sure of the maximum of watts each of the outlets can carry without tripping the circuit breaker so I am trying to determine what lighting equipment to purchase that will fit my needs while at the same time minimizing the amount of electrical watts used to power the lighting. I have seen lighting kits, some which include a backdrop (for green screen) on Ebay that consist of two umbrella lights (such as at

http://cgi.ebay.com/...OTO...:1|294:50

or kits that include soft box lights such as at
http://cgi.ebay.com/...ng-...:1|294:50

I also found this 3-light kit: http://www.calumetph...om/item/SV4600/

Based on my needs and the studio setting I am trying to create, should I be looking at kits with umbrella lights or soft box lights or some other type of lights althougher. I have a limited budget for lighting (around $400).
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 02:09 PM

you're going to need more than $400 to get a good studio going with a g/s backdrop.
As for watts, in the US almost all homes are equipped with 15A fuses or breakers at least (newer ones are sometimes 20A). You can almost tell from the outlets around you. If it has what looks like a "T" on it's side on one of the plugs, it's likely a 20A. The formula for Watts per amp goes like this:

Watts=Volts x Amps, so if you have say 15Amps, and in the US it's best to round to 100 volts then you have 1500 watts per circuit.

1500W=100V x 15A

Now, in a studio where you need a lot of light for a little bit of power, it's best to go with Kino-Flo or other florescent sources. They're generally soft by default and give more lumens (light) per watt than a tungsten source. But they're expensive. You can do it with normal florescent units, but you'd have to build them yourself and still use high CRI (color rendering index) bulbs, somewhere in the 90+ range (a CRI of 95 is my recommendation) as well as ballasts which are quiet and flicker free. Some people use aquarium ballasts for this, such as those used in aquarium lighting housings.

For location shooting I would recommend looking into an Arri softbank kit. I have a Softbank D-4 kit which works very well for when I need to shoot an interview somewhere.

For green-screen, you can get the fabric, or you can buy the pain and paint a wall that you can then move 'round with you. I would rather have the wall than the fabric, myself.

Again, though, $400 isn't really enough money to do what you want to do. This is because you need to light a green screen separately from your talent, as well as evenly to pull a good key from it.
Without knowing the specifics of the space as well as what camera/cameras you're shooting on, it's hard to tell exactly how many units you'll need and 100% what type of units you'd want to use. But, again, I'd highly recommend saving up money to get professional equipment for the job which will serve your needs both in and out of the studio. This is, one assumes an investment on your part so it makes sense to invest in the best equipment you can so as to create the best product you can and get the best ROI (return on investment) you can. There are also issues of longevity of the equipment as well as redeemable value (should you ever wish to sell it) that are important as eventually you will probably either want or need to upgrade some aspects of your set up-- even perhaps moving to a more dedicated studio space.
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#3 robert hollenbach

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 12:19 AM

The primary studio space is 8ft-10ft x 7ftx9ft. The camera will be a Panasonic HMC150 although the final product (in most cases) will not be high definition. In most of the videos, I will either be sitting down (behind a desk) but not always sitting still and keeping my head straight, but in some videos, I will expand the size of the studio so I can move around, but within the same room and not very far. I read some things on 3-point lighting, but I am not sure if that set-up would apply to the type of videos I am making since I won't be always sitting still or keeping one side of my face towards a key light. What do you think?

Robert

you're going to need more than $400 to get a good studio going with a g/s backdrop.
As for watts, in the US almost all homes are equipped with 15A fuses or breakers at least (newer ones are sometimes 20A). You can almost tell from the outlets around you. If it has what looks like a "T" on it's side on one of the plugs, it's likely a 20A. The formula for Watts per amp goes like this:

Watts=Volts x Amps, so if you have say 15Amps, and in the US it's best to round to 100 volts then you have 1500 watts per circuit.

1500W=100V x 15A

Now, in a studio where you need a lot of light for a little bit of power, it's best to go with Kino-Flo or other florescent sources. They're generally soft by default and give more lumens (light) per watt than a tungsten source. But they're expensive. You can do it with normal florescent units, but you'd have to build them yourself and still use high CRI (color rendering index) bulbs, somewhere in the 90+ range (a CRI of 95 is my recommendation) as well as ballasts which are quiet and flicker free. Some people use aquarium ballasts for this, such as those used in aquarium lighting housings.

For location shooting I would recommend looking into an Arri softbank kit. I have a Softbank D-4 kit which works very well for when I need to shoot an interview somewhere.

For green-screen, you can get the fabric, or you can buy the pain and paint a wall that you can then move 'round with you. I would rather have the wall than the fabric, myself.

Again, though, $400 isn't really enough money to do what you want to do. This is because you need to light a green screen separately from your talent, as well as evenly to pull a good key from it.
Without knowing the specifics of the space as well as what camera/cameras you're shooting on, it's hard to tell exactly how many units you'll need and 100% what type of units you'd want to use. But, again, I'd highly recommend saving up money to get professional equipment for the job which will serve your needs both in and out of the studio. This is, one assumes an investment on your part so it makes sense to invest in the best equipment you can so as to create the best product you can and get the best ROI (return on investment) you can. There are also issues of longevity of the equipment as well as redeemable value (should you ever wish to sell it) that are important as eventually you will probably either want or need to upgrade some aspects of your set up-- even perhaps moving to a more dedicated studio space.


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Broadcast Solutions Inc

Visual Products

The Slider

Wooden Camera

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Metropolis Post

Technodolly

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Willys Widgets

Paralinx LLC

Ritter Battery

Abel Cine

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