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Small Beauty Light Package - Recommendations?


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#1 Byron Karl

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 01:30 PM

The last time I did anykind of beauty light, was shooting bounced tungsten soft light through a 4x4 frame of silk, in a studio setting. That said, I'm helping someone putting together a small lighting package for making YouTube beauty videos (make-up demonstrations) out of their house, so I'm outta my element here.

 

She would like to purchase the equipment, so ideally I'm looking at units that cost $200-$1,000.

 

So my questions are about: 1) what source to use and 2) what kind of modifier will work best in small bedroom setup.

 

My preference for skin tones is tungsten, but the room has a window with daylight and tungsten could get hot. How do CFL and LED panel fixtures compare? Is one preferred over the other? Looks like a ton of softboxes (Chimera style) use mutli-socket CFL fixtures. But, I've read CFL's have a bad green spike, irrespective of stated CRI.

 

Aside from that, for whittling this down to a single source light, positioned on axis with subject and slightly above camera, what's a popular modifier: Diffused LED panel light, softbox, umbrella bounce? I was looking into getting a small parabolic silver umbrella, but then I realized this is more suited for still photography, as I couldn't find one that easily accepted hot lights as opposed to speed lights.

 

From what little research I've done, most of the videos in this format employ some kind of ugly ring-light that make the subjects look like deer in headlights - or a 90s rap video. I'm hoping to do something better, with a soft light that gives a little shape.

 

Any suggestions?


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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 10:39 PM

Kino makes some CFL bulbs; but they might not be bright enough, at all.

 

this guy goes in deep on LEDS and youtube type videos:


were it me, i'd go with a lite-mat S1 but, i'd personally rather have it all daylight as opposed to hybrid, and that's probably a bit out of budget lol.
 


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#3 AJ Young

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 12:26 AM

I occasionally shoot for Mixed Make-Up, a beauty channel on YouTube. They own their lighting package and their studio situation sounds similar to yours. We use two 4x4 kinos, daylight balanced. We stack them on top of each other using two c-stands, essentially creating an "4x8" kino flo. We cover both heads with a 6' diffusion (dollar store white shower curtain is working great!) that creates a single soft source that comes from above camera. (fun fact: that lighting pattern is known as a butterfly or paramount light. Common in beauty and fashion) For the background, they have a white seamless that we hit evenly with kino divas.

 

On a recent branded shoot we did, I rented LiteMat 4's and did the same stacked set up that produced the same results, but with less stands and less heat. If you've got the funds, I say do LiteMat.

 

In my experience, beauty and make need lights with higher color quality (CQS, which is a better metric than CRI, and light sources that are continuous rather than discontinuous) and a camera that has a good bit depth and chroma sub-sampling. Kino's and cheap LED's are good enough, but there's a clear jump in quality on our branded content when we use an HMI or LiteMat as our key light because of the color quality. DSLR's are typically 8-bit with a 4:2:0 chroma sub-sample, but you'll notice another clear jump in color rendition with a 10-bit 4:2:2 image when outputting to an external recorder.

 

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CFL's, like kino bulbs, are technically a discontinuous color spectrum and can spike in green or a specific color temp depending on the coating on the tube. Remember that color is hugely dependent on how many wave lengths of light are hitting and bouncing off the subject. The less wave lengths of light hitting a subject, the less will bounce back to render color to our eyes and the camera. I assume you're versed in continuous vs. discontinuous light, but if you're not a google search and reveal a plethora of breakdowns.

 

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Soft light seems to be the name of the game currently in beauty, so LiteMat's are easier to make softer than a fresnel because they take up less horizontal real estate. But, size of source and distance to subject will be the most important factor. A big soft source close to the subject will always be better than a thicker diffusion farther away. You also want to make your key light act as the eye light, so the shape of the diffusion is another consideration. Square eye lights are fine, but circle ones require either a specific frame or specially made light.

 

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Don't forget fill light, particularly from below. It can fill in shadows and can increase the perception of soft light. Plus, a 4x4 bounce card from below can catch the eyes really well and create a more marble like look to them.


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#4 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 12:49 AM

I think a simple vanity mirror style surround the the computer monitor would work a treat, or Kino/LED tubes (ideally one above and one below the screen). Or a simple poly board above the the monitor with something (anything) bounced into it. 


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#5 Byron Karl

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 07:20 PM

Thanks for the tips!
 

I dropped by the set of Blueberry Nights and saw that Khondji was using plastic shower curtains as diffusion. So, it works!

 

Thanks for calling out LiteMat. I was just going to get some cheap LED panals off of Amazon, thinking the CRI was all the same. That said, I've never encountered these "still photo looking" LEDs, like the Aputure Light Storm series. Are they just as useful? My issue is, I can't see how I can easily fit a softbox on to a square LED panel. Whereas this seems to connect to a lot of light modifiers already in place for still photography (but it gives a continuous light).


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#6 Stuart Allman

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 03:28 PM

Byron,

 

Look up clamshell lighting on YouTube.  That's likely going to give you the most obvious beauty look.  A few Cineo Matchbox lights would probably do it in a bedroom - with homemade softboxes, reflectors, and barn doors.  They go for pretty cheap on Ebay, are bi-color, have good color rendering.  Just don't forget the hair light and background lighting.

 

Stuart


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