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Steadicam Lighting ?


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#1 Matt Burton

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Posted 12 August 2005 - 08:12 PM

I have come to the conclution that i know barely nothing bout proper lighting.
Sure i know about the basics but on doing some research i realize their is much to learn.
I figure the best way to go is find a good lighting camera person and latch onto them. However this isnt verry practicle and i though of asking here for advice.
Also i need to light for steadicam more offen than not and this causes a hole set of new problems conbined with my already poor knowlage on the subject.

So heres what i need:-
1. a good camera lighting dvd/cdrom, any recomendations ?
2. a realistic set off lights i can buy, I'm talking hundreds not thousands here.
3 Good advice from you guys that have already been their and done it.

I will be mainly location lighting for music videos and film.

Thanks in advance

-matt
planet-mu records ltd
(yes the spelling could do with some work too)
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#2 Afton Grant

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Posted 12 August 2005 - 09:38 PM

I'll share the most basic rule I've learned about lighting for SC, as I am no expert either. Of course, all shots and situations are different and nothing is set in stone.

Light high. Hang the lights if possible (instead of stands). This will help to eliminate your shadows as well as keep equipment out of your frames.

Are you certain you're looking to buy your own lights? Renting is often a more versatile and economical option, especially if you're looking at a budget in the hundreds.

And yes, finding an expert to watch is a learning tool like no other.
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#3 Matt Burton

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Posted 12 August 2005 - 10:55 PM

Are you certain you're looking to buy your own lights?  Renting is often a more versatile and economical option, especially if you're looking at a budget in the hundreds.

And yes, finding an expert to watch is a learning tool like no other.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Yes good advice indeed, i'm sure a small set off lights would serve me well but i second the renting rule definatly (just gota know what to rent and when i sup).
A friend of mine who works for ITV/BBC only owns a good tripod and a set of arri's and he works constantly.

And lighting people in uk want a shadow give me a holla

Cheers

PS hey Afton carl is did some of the best acting i have ever seen, can i book him ? :D quak
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#4 Afton Grant

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 05:37 AM

PS hey Afton carl is did some of the best acting i have ever seen, can i book him ? :D  quak

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


ha!

I'd be happy to give you his phone number. Be forewarned though - he's got a big prima donna thing going. Very demanding. Also, if you make him angry he'll poop on your shoe.
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#5 benedictspence

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 12:47 PM

Hi Matt!

Although I do love my Steadicam; the majority of my work is regular Lighting camera. I do alot of jobs from house makeover shows (who hasn't had to slog on those beasts) to high profile celeb interviews for MTV etc. Have lit everyone from Beyonce to Jade Goody; I find it one of the most rewarding jobs possible.

As with buying steadicam gear; when it comes to lights the more you spend the better the results will be. You can get a handful of 500w work lights from B&Q or similar for a couple of hundred quid, but they're not gonna do much more than blast light all over the place- but still a good start for the price. A basic tungsten lighting kit from Arri is gonna cost you the best part of £2k. The main thing I find which increses the cost of lights is controlability. Open faced lamps like readheads (arri 800's or Strand Readheads for example) are cheaper than fresnels (arri 300's and 650's for example) which are in turn cheaper than Dedos (ultra controlable albeit low power).

I'm sure everyone will agree the best bet is to find a film or TV show, drama or actuality or even the news and look at how it has been lit. Where is the light coming from... is it a hard light or a soft light... where are the shadows falling from it... what mood is that lighting setting. Also, just as important is to think about where there is no light. Stopping unwanted light is just as critical to good lighting as letting in the light you do want. The best place to start with lighting is a nice totally dark room and build up from there. Once you have a scene or even just a sit down interview that you like- grab a friend/girlfriend/flatmate and light them up- you can hire a 4 head lighting kit from most facilities places for around £80-£100 pd (not cheap but better than buying).

If you're really set on buying a kit (for sitdown interveiws) I'd say the MINIMUM you'd want is an Arri 300, an Arri 650 and an Arri 800 redhead; add to this stands, gels, grip kit and a case and it'll prob cost you over a grand- sorry mate!

Another thing to remember is ENG grip kit; I was shocked when I first came out of uni to find my first Autopole (a big extendable pole which can be used to hang lights in the middle of a room without setting up stands) and Magic arm (a small lockable arm with which you can attach a small light almost anywhere you can clamp it).

Oh right, off topic; lighting for Steadicam is a real killer unless you've got a studio and a shed load of time. And if you're talking documentary or actuality, lighting starts to err towards the impossible without going into the big bucks.

If you're ever around in London, Matt, you're more than welcome to give me a bell (contact me off forum) and I'll give you a run down on the lights that are most used for TV work in the UK and can even do a couple of setups if we have the time!

Good luck!

Ben Spence

PS really liked the effects in the music vid; good job!
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#6 Charles Papert

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 01:24 PM

Slight tangent on the Steadicam operator's own responsibility regarding lighting; some may disagree, but I feel it is absolutely up to the operator to patrol the set while it is being lit to be on the lookout for potential shadows, flares, gremlins in the frame etc. To sit around and yak on the phone up until everyone is called on set and then discover that you have been lit out of the shot or casting your shadow right on the actors (who will then be sent away during the relight) is obviously not efficient.

On a low budget job where the DP may not be Steadicam-savvy, this is even more important. Years ago I helped out on a student film where the director wanted a complicated move in a nightclub. We worked out the shot and then the DP starting lighting. Each time he placed a light, I'd point out to him how it would either be in the shot or cause a shadow issue. After a while he gave up and asked me to light it for him, poor chap! It's definitely complicated lighting for Steadicam, although it doesn't always have to be entirely lit from above, often there are places to hide units around the set, but it does take the participation of all involved to ensure success. And sometimes it means coming up with ways to block or avoid lights with the move.
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#7 Marc_Abernathy

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 10:52 PM

i want to echo chas' post. i do a LOT of indie work in atl and im always right there with the dp. after a couple of times of losing time because i was NOT there as they lit on prior productions, i try to be there with them. some of these productions have low budgets so hanging lights are rare. most of them dont mind (or atleast they dont show it!) that i suggest light placement. i would not want to DP but i try to help when i can...
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