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Lighting solution for real estate videography


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#1 Chris Wai

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 12:12 AM

Hi everybody!

I'm a videographer based in Sydney, Australia, and I currently do a lot of video tours and agent walkthroughs for Sydney properties. I currently shoot on DSLR and work without lighting my setups, using only daylight and the practical lights that exist in each particular room.

One of the problems I have been encountering is the high contrast in rooms with windows or glass doors. The interior is exposed well, however, the exterior is obviously blown out.

What I'm looking for is a lighting solution that will allow me to achieve a well exposed interior while maintaining some detail in windows and doorways. The lights would have to cast a fairly soft light in order to not cast hard shadows, yet powerful enough to bring an entire room up by 1 or 2 stops. It would also have to be portable, battery powered, and EASY to set up. We can not spend too long shooting any particular property, so TIME is of the essence.

What would you suggest?
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#2 Tom Jensen

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 02:19 PM

If you edit the video, avoid the windows as much as you can and then cut to the view outside the window exposed properly. For continuous shots have you tried Iris pulls as you pan past the windows? You don't have to stop down to a perfect exposure but you can get close. Try not to make your irs pulls too obvious. You have to make real estate videos look pretty since they are often the first glimpse of a house that a potential buyer sees. Also don't go to fast because people need a chance to absorb what they seeing.
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#3 Matt Read

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 02:29 PM

Chris,
Unfortunately, what you are looking for doesn't exist. Pretty much any light powerful enough to bring up an interior (assuming it's not a coat closet) by 1-2 stops will not run on a battery. Depending on the size of the area you need to light, you're looking at a Joker 400 or 800 or even a 1.2k HMI bounced into the ceiling or otherwise diffused.

For smaller windows, you might also consider putting ND gel on the outside of them, either in conjunction with lighting or as an alternative to lights (though if you're using daylight as your main source, this will bring down the light level inside, too).

Another option would be to shoot any shots of windows as lock-offs and shoot them twice, once exposing for the inside and once for the outside. Then in post you can replace the overexposed windows with the correctly exposed ones. Still photographers do this all the time with real estate.
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