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Lighting on a tight budget


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#1 Micah Fernandez

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 09:47 AM

Hi everyone. I have a few relatively easy questions; hopefully you guys can help me out. :) I'm working on a project now that is set mostly in an advertising agency office.

1. I want kinoflos, but there isn't enough money to rent any lights. I was advised to build instead to cut costs, but I wouldn't know how to go about it. Does anyone have sort of a blueprint for homemade kinos?

2. Same thing, but for Chinese lanterns.

3. I have a bit of trouble lighting faces with the limited resources I have. Can anyone give me tips for going about this cheaply and effectively? Something a little more practical and flexible than reflectors.

4. Any tips on how to achieve the glossy magazine feel would also be appreciated. I'll be using either a DVX100A, XL2 or XL1 (last resort camera)
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#2 Micah Fernandez

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 10:35 AM

On #3 I meant eyes not faces, sorry. :) The lights I have are way too large.
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 12:01 PM

Hi,

As to your first question, it's something that's been talked about a lot before - find the search button. Oh, OK, then, I'll look up the place where I looked it up for the last guy:

Linky

Chinese lanterns you can just buy from a home improvements type store, they're cheap enough.

Lighting faces - okay, but for what result? You go on to mention glossy-magazine, and that's all about big soft sources (fluorescents close up, or big bounce/diffusion sources further away) and possibly ringlighting. You can build a fluorescent ringlight the same way you'd build any other sort of flo.

Phil
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#4 anamexis

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 03:00 PM

Here are some good instructions for constructing your on photoflood china.
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#5 Marius van Graan

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 03:26 PM

Normal flourescent lights work really well as substitutes to kinos. Since you're shooting digital you'll find that the green that comes from shooting flourescents on film is not as hectic- however i would recommend that you still put Minus Green (about half) on all the lights just because it is good practice if you want the light to be closer to a kino. I don't know what your set looks like but you said it's mainly in an advertising agency- nice thing is you can minus green the lights really neatly and then put them in the set, you don't have to try hide them. After that i would suggest you build something like a Kino out of the flourescents that you can move around, that way your set has a nice even ambience and you can lift your subjects just a bit more than the background with you moveable "Kino". (Any lighting fixture or hardware store should be able to tell you how to put the light together- it is relatively simple)

Chinese lanterns- you can get from hardware shops as well. then just get a variation of strengths in globes and test them until you find the one you like. some brands of tungsten household globes are also already balanced for daylight with a blue dye in the glass.

As for shooting extreme close up's of eyes- I once took the ray shade of a 500mm lens for a medium format hasselblad camera- the ray shade had the same diameter as the front of the HD zoom lens i was using so i put it on the lens- I cut a circle of polyboard, about 1 foot across. in the middle of the circle i cut out another circle about three inches across. The "Doughnut" poly was taped onto the front of the lens- white side out, black side in. camera position is about 2 metres away from the subject, zoom into the eye and use the macro function on the back of the lens to find focus. then place a light next to the subject, about three feet away and shine it straight onto the poly. the result is that you get a nice ring light in the eye, enough around the eye for illumination and no lens flare. I don't know if the DVX100 or the XL2 has macro functions on the lens but i'm sure you could adapt this in some way. the trick with eyes and other highly reflective surfaces( bottles, cellphones) is not to light the glossy thing as such- but rather to light other things such as poly bolyboards next to them. the object then rather reflects the shapes in its lit surroundings which gives great definition in the shape of the object by bending reflections to fit around itself. i don't know if this makes any sense to you but it is the car photographers trick. it is how they bring out the contours of the car.

Any way, hope this was some help and good luck.
Marius W. van Graan
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