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Lighting HDV


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#1 XxOnlyixX

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Posted 26 May 2005 - 02:26 PM

Hi, I was recently put in charge of planning a independent/low budget music video. We plan on renting 3 Sony HVRZ1U HDV Camera's. This music video should have scenes shot both indoor and outdoor. (bassically a car driving slowly and club scenes... Hip Hop Style Video with some green screen shooting also - i'll need to know how to light that also) I'm completely new to the whole lighting scene. Can anyone guide me on what type of lighting (equipment) i will need to get adequite footage? Are there any self-sufficient kits I can rent? I understand this is a huge topic.. so can anyone point me to any internet resources if this question is unanswerable. I have been searching but it seems that most sites require a million dollar budget.
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#2 XxOnlyixX

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Posted 26 May 2005 - 03:08 PM

would a kit like this:

http://www.lowel.com.../superAmbi.html

be self-sufficient? or would i need more/various lights?
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 26 May 2005 - 05:13 PM

Hi,

Lighting HDV is (fairly obviously, I'd have thought) exactly the same as lighting any other kind of video, and very much the same as lighting film. Go read books, and prepare to suck the first n times, where n is an integer between 10 and 50.

Phil
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#4 XxOnlyixX

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 08:53 PM

i'd thought i read somewhere that hdv is more sensitive to light. Can you point me to a site where i can learn about good lighting books (something aimed fairly at the novice but covers in dept information).
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#5 Rik Andino

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 09:52 PM

I have been searching but it seems that most sites require a million dollar budget.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I don't understand what that means.


Eitherways lighting is lighting
And it's a discipline that's not so much related to capture formats.

And eitherways lighting for video is the same for HD, MiniDV, Digibeta
& even HDV which is basically trumped up MiniDV.

Anyways it takes skill and time to learn how to properly light.

I recommend you read all the books on lighting you can afford
Read many websites...particularly those that deal with your project...
And be realistic about your abilities.

From your post it seems you have very little lighting experience...
I recommend instead of renting three Z1u you should rent two Z1u...
(I dunno why you would need three for a music video shoot anyways)
And then take the money you would've used renting a third camera
And you should hired a good gaffer you can work with...
This will help much more than just spending your money
On equipment you don't know how to use.


Good Luck
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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 29 May 2005 - 06:22 AM

Hi,

> i'd thought i read somewhere that hdv is more sensitive to light.

More sensitive than what?

And no, it's not, in general terms. Some video cameras are faster than others, and almost all are considerably faster than usual film stocks, but HDV isn't particularly more so.

Phil
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#7 Stephen Williams

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Posted 29 May 2005 - 07:04 AM

Hi,
Some video cameras are faster than others, and almost all are considerably faster than usual film stocks,

Phil

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


That is one of the reasons that there is so much DOF in modern day video! 30 years ago TV studios had to light to 2000 lux as that was f2!

S
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#8 L K Keerthi Basu

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Posted 29 May 2005 - 11:19 AM

First of all go and watch lot of HD movies and learn the lighting pattern they have used to bring down the look. I think it is the way you have to start up to learn lighting for any formatt. If you have any reading sources read American Cinematographer magazines which deal with you project you can gain up something from that I trust.
If you want to learn about Green screen technique search some previous threads in this forum which deals about that. Follow RIK ANDINOs post it is really a valuable post to the student like us because We have the responsiblilities.
First trust in yourself and you can make it. GOOD LUCK.

L.K.Keerthibasu
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#9 XxOnlyixX

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Posted 02 June 2005 - 09:08 AM

Thanks alot for the help so far, very appreciated

THe music video is way down the line so i have plenty of time to practice. I'm more interested in learning the art of lighting in the mean time. I picked up some books from the library but they all seem a little advanced (not hard to read but implying you have a lighting kit already... I've been reading, "Lighting Technology: A guide for television, film, and theatre." They show techniques on lighting and how to setup (which is kind of useless to me since I don't have any actual lights and a still little lost on when it comes down to what exactly i need). I was thinking of investing in lighting and then just practicing with it. Are those kits (like the one i listed above) good enough for most occasions? It seems like you'd have to buy various kits and mix and match based on the conditions and there's no real all pupose kit.
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#10 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 02 June 2005 - 09:58 AM

You don't have to buy alot of stuff. Borrow, set up, look, adjust and take stills and notes.
There is no "magic", universal lighting kit that solves all problems like there is no magic paintbox to make genius paintings.
Don't be afraid to keep it simple. And learn to SEE!
Go to a lighting rental company (call first!) and maybe they'll let you set up a few lights on their premises.
Necessity is the mother of invention!
Don't worry, it really does take a lifetime to really master.
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#11 Robert Edge

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Posted 02 June 2005 - 03:44 PM

As someone who worked exclusively with natural light until about a year ago, I empathize with what you are going through.

There are two books that you might find helpful. The first is Nestor Almendros's A Man with a Camera. It is out of print, but should be available in some libraries or second-hand through www.abebooks.com. The second is Ross Lowell's Matters of Light and Depth, which you can get from Amazon. Then there are videos. I haven't seen the Kodak series. They are expensive, but said to be of very good quality. I have seen Richard Avendon - Darkness and Light. The Avedon video is not specifically about lighting, but like Almendros's book, it will help keep your feet firmly on the ground and make you think twice before you go and blow your brains out on lighting gear.

You have made the important point that reading won't get you far unless you have an opportunity to practice. If you haven't worked a lot with natural light, start by making a conscious effort to notice, and analyze, what is going on with the light around you both on the street and indoors. Find out if your local educational institutions offer short courses in lighting. See if there is a local still or motion picture photographer, or designer of theater lighting, who is willing to let you watch him/her work.

Get a video or digital still camera and mount it on a tripod so that your hands are free. Buy a sheet or two of foamcore from an art supply store. Get something that you can use to hold the sheets of foamcore, preferably a couple of light stands (chairs and some tape might work in a pinch, but at the cost of considerable frustration). Choose a subject, preferably one that is not terribly large, that you can photograph either outdoors or lit with window light. I don't recommend a person, because I can tell you from experience that people get bored real quick. It could be an arrangement of objects on a table. Use the foamcore, playing with whole sheets and parts of sheets, to manipulate the light on the subject until you see an effect that you like. When you like something, film it and look at the results.

The next step is to start working in a room where there is no natural light. If you are working at home, this means that you either have to cover up windows or work at night. Get your hands on two lights, with stands and Super Clamps, that are powerful enough to light a subect that is not terribly large. Others may disagree, but I would go with two focusing spots. If you can't borrow lights, either rent them or buy them. Either way, get the best quality lights you can afford and, whatever you do, don't skimp on the stands. Start experimenting with various subjects using the two lights and some foamcore. Film and analyze the results.

At this point, you will know where you want to go next.

Hope this helps.
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#12 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 02 June 2005 - 07:16 PM

Sorry, this is not about lighting but you mentionned the fact that you wanted to do green screen for this music video...

I have been told by people I respect a lot, that compositing was nearly impossible with HDV because it's GOP 6 Mpeg 2.

Can anyone confirm that ?
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#13 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 02 June 2005 - 07:31 PM

That is one of the reasons that there is so much DOF in modern day video! 30 years ago TV studios had to light to 2000 lux as that was f2!

S

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Stephen, did you follow the thread about dof compared in different formats, somewhere here ?

I don't have much of times to study this but I'm not satisfied by the common assert that 16 mm has more dof than 35, as well as video has more dof than 35 etc.

(When I compare things, I always do keeping all others parameters the same...) So when it becomes to saying " it's because you use shorter lens to do the same shot" I need do study this further, that I can't find time for these days (just feel it's useless, since the image size and focal length are related by the same factor, if you want the same object size.. I mean you need a 20 mm in 16 when you use a 40mm in 35, but the 16 mm image is twice smaller...)

Anyway, what you mention about sensitivity is very interesting. Do you think the so-called superiority in dof for video vs film has to find its answer in this consideration ? Also, we often use NDs as to volunteerly cut down dof, do you think it's part of the "short dof " general look of film vs video, as it's certainly not so often that ones tries to cut down dof in video (unless looking for a "film look") ?

(sorry, I'm sort of really off topic, this time, but, hey... :rolleyes: )
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#14 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 June 2005 - 11:23 PM

I don't have much of times to study this but I'm not satisfied by the common assert that 16 mm has more dof than 35, as well as video has more dof than 35 etc.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


But on average, it does... because of the shorter focal lengths needed to achieve the same field of view.

Same occurs when comparing Super-35 cropped to 2.35 to 35mm anamorphic. To achieve the same perspective, the lens in Super-35 is almost half the focal length as in anamorphic, and thus on average, anamorphic has a more shallow depth of field at the same f-stop. You do a shot in anamorphic on a 40mm, you'd have to use something like a 22mm in Super-35 to match the same horizontal view.

Anyway, if you shoot 16mm, 2/3" CCD HD, 35mm anamorphic, 35mm spherical, etc. experience and your own eyes tells you that the smaller formats have more depth of field on average, regardless of what any formula or chart shows you. So that's a given, whether or not everyone agrees on the explanation as to why.
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#15 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 08:05 AM

DOF depends on the enlarging ratio as well...

Comparing the "use " of format also includes things like sensitivity, as Stephen mentionned.

It's not because old video cameras were less sensitive that they had less dof, it's because you had to work more open (and because the resolution wasn't as good as new ones...)
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#16 Stephen Williams

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 09:01 AM

Stephen, did you follow the thread about dof compared in different formats, somewhere here ?

I don't have much of times to study this but I'm not satisfied by the common assert that 16 mm has more dof than 35, as well as video has more dof than 35 etc.

(sorry, I'm sort of really off topic, this time, but, hey... :rolleyes: )

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Hi Laurent,

The Americam Cinematographers manuel assumes a single DOF table for All formats! To prove it you could extract a 16mm frame from a 35mm frame. In practice 16mm with VERY sharp lenses projected on a Big screen will indeed have the same DOF to a shoot on 35mm. However on television and with softer lenses there will be more apparant DOF. IMHO its more down to resoloution. With a video camera and the detail turned off everything will look soft (Unless you have Zeiss Digiprimes). With detail sharpening the image, there is an illusion that everything is sharp.

Stephen Williams DP

www.stephenw.com
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#17 Stephen Williams

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 09:14 AM

DOF depends on the enlarging ratio as well...

Comparing the "use " of format also includes things like sensitivity, as Stephen mentionned.

It's not because old video cameras were less sensitive that they had less dof, it's because you had to work more open (and because the resolution wasn't as good as new ones...)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Hi,

Old video camera's had very big tubes over 1 inch, and low sensitivity.
20+ year ago a BBC series 'To the Manor Born'. The inside shots are video with narrow DOF (and green lag in the highligts!). The outside shots are very grainy 16mm with more apparant DOF. The inside shots look very good, the telecines at the BBC in the late 1970's were not good!
The Video DOF issue only arrived with small tube/chip ENG style cameras.

Stephen
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#18 Robert Edge

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 03:36 PM

Hi Laurent,

The Americam Cinematographers manuel assumes a single DOF table for All formats!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


David Mullen has said the same thing in the past in the context of a question I asked about using different assumptions about circle of confusion for different formats. I'm hesitant to pursue the question further, because my question was dismissed out of hand.

However, I looked at the Manual's charts the other day and I'd like to suggest that you guys have another look at them. Specifically, look at the introductory text for the charts, which contemplates a different circle of confusion for 35mm and 16mm and, if I understand the text, for 8mm. Also, look at the charts entitled "extreme close up" covering reproduction ratios from 1:10 to 1:1. In the close-up charts, the Manual expressly uses different circles of confusion for 35mm and 16mm.

Curious to know what you think.
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#19 Stephen Williams

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 04:28 PM

However, I looked at the Manual's charts the other day and I'd like to suggest that you guys have another look at them.  Specifically, look at the introductory text for the charts, which contemplates a different circle of confusion for 35mm and 16mm and, if I understand the text, for 8mm.  Also, look at the charts entitled "extreme close up" covering reproduction ratios from 1:10 to 1:1.  In the close-up charts, the Manual expressly uses different circles of confusion for 35mm and 16mm.

Curious to know what you think.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Hi,

Sure if you change the circle of confusion then 16mm can have more DOF than 35mm. A TV has lower resoloution than a Cinema Screen as well! If you are shooting film for television you can assume more DOF than if projecting.
Thats why I said `16mm with VERY sharp lenses projected on a Big screen will indeed have the same DOF to a shoot on 35mm.' The lenses have to resolve more than twice as much as for 35mm to retain the same resoloution. This is the reason that the Digi Primes are so expensive!
If you think of 16mm as a cut out from the 35mm frame and 8mm as a cut out from the 16mm frame all that happens is the grain gets bigger. The DOF is the same if the lens is sharp.
When I look through my Film camera I can see the DOF on the ground glass. I know for SD television that more will be in focus than on the ground glass. For Cinema I know there is slightly less than on the ground glass on MY camera. I can be sure of this becuse I make tests. In telecine switching from SD to HD you can see this magic in action!

Stephen Williams DP
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#20 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 04:31 PM

Yes I think it's worth studying from close, with a calculator and charts...

But I defenetly don't have the time these days...

Here's the other thread we were talking about that :

http://www.cinematog...wtopic=6503&hl=

I hope I'll soon be able to study this more and find the proper answers to the right questions... That should all of us agree with...

PS : I generally find out your abreviations, you american and english people (funny game to guess actually) but this time, i need help : IMHO ? :blink:

Edited by laurent.a, 03 June 2005 - 04:34 PM.

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