View Full Version : Lighting alternatives


davidchecker
02-09-2006, 03:49 PM
I'm accumulating a miser's collection of equipment for a shoot sometime this year. I will rent a camera, oh yes, most certainly, but I want to have some stock of gear that's my own to twiddle with. I have an old Sennheiser ME80 and a long-throw Philips (yes, Philips) mic, but...

Has anyone experimented, heard of anyone using, non-traditional (not spendy) lighting rigs? I know the visual temperature is a big issue- who wants to shoot under incandescents and have it look like your lens is coated with curry. I'm just wondering if I can go with options that are 1. Cheap, 2. Lightweight, 3. Not requiring a 240v line. I'm wondering if you can put a (don't laugh) high-intensity LED-cluster flood in a can with some shutters and get something usable. Or other options.

I would be shooting digital, indoors under varying conditions (with the script I have now). And this is my first ever serious shoot. I feel hugely good about the script (writing is my strongest suit, although I did just install a new boiler in my house), I'm just keeping a lookout for all my options in this new realm of endeavor.

Recent reader, first-time poster, be gentle

digitalmatty
02-09-2006, 04:14 PM
I'm accumulating a miser's collection of equipment for a shoot sometime this year. I will rent a camera, oh yes, most certainly, but I want to have some stock of gear that's my own to twiddle with. I have an old Sennheiser ME80 and a long-throw Philips (yes, Philips) mic, but...

Has anyone experimented, heard of anyone using, non-traditional (not spendy) lighting rigs? I know the visual temperature is a big issue- who wants to shoot under incandescents and have it look like your lens is coated with curry. I'm just wondering if I can go with options that are 1. Cheap, 2. Lightweight, 3. Not requiring a 240v line. I'm wondering if you can put a (don't laugh) high-intensity LED-cluster flood in a can with some shutters and get something usable. Or other options.

I would be shooting digital, indoors under varying conditions (with the script I have now). And this is my first ever serious shoot. I feel hugely good about the script (writing is my strongest suit, although I did just install a new boiler in my house), I'm just keeping a lookout for all my options in this new realm of endeavor.

Recent reader, first-time poster, be gentle

i use 2 sets of 2x500w work lights from canadian tire...they work well...we diffuse them a bit to cut the harsh whiteness...sometimes use both of the lights on one rig for a key, and one of the lights on the other to fill or backlight...it's not the greatest ever...but hey, it gets the job done! They were $40 CAD each...rather cheap.

davidchecker
02-09-2006, 04:17 PM
Cool, I know halogens'll get you in the ballpark of a usable spectrum. What do you diffuse with? I've heard baker's paper (REAL baker's paper) is good.

digitalmatty
02-09-2006, 04:20 PM
Cool, I know halogens'll get you in the ballpark of a usable spectrum. What do you diffuse with? I've heard baker's paper (REAL baker's paper) is good.

wax paper (if that's the same thing) works well, but sometimes diffuses too much for our needs; we use standard gels with them too, and there are tutorials on building your own barn doors for them; however we have not had the chance to do that.

My DP built a diffuser rig that works well, but I have no clue what materials he used (I just saw it briefly yesterday), but again, tutorials are online for homemade diffusers (matte boxes?) as well!

All in all, it's the best bang for your buck...if need be you can just bounce them off the roof or a wall...that works too...

directorik
02-09-2006, 04:44 PM
You should try a local theater for gels and diffusion if you can't afford to buy a few sheets. They often have small pieces they throw out. But gels and diffusion are so cheap, I don't see a good reason to try something else.

Chinese Lanterns are great sources for soft lights and they aren't too expensive. I get mine at Ikea.

And don't forget the old standard scoop lights. These metal, clamp on lights are cheap, light and can be used anywhere. Buy a few dimmer switches for more control.

knightly
02-09-2006, 05:14 PM
I'm using brooder's lamps (the clamp on reflector variety) from fleet farm, $5 / lamp. In the socket goes a Phillips Marathon soft white flourescent bulbs from home depot. These have been doing wonderfully for me and don't have the flickering/color pulsing problems that used to exist with cheaper flourescent lights. Color temperature matters more for film than for digital as you can white balance most of your woes away in digital. The flourescents also run cool so you can hand hold a reflector if you need to, you can put gels and diffusion right on the bulb without worrying about it catching fire...and you won't run up your air conditioning bill trying to keep your actors from melting from the heat produced from the craftsman worklights (500watts, I have 6 of them). The flourescent light is softer too.

StevenUK
02-10-2006, 06:03 AM
I have also had good results with 500watt Halogen Work Flood Lights, using simple relfectors and diffusers. Just remember that they get very hot and could easily cause a fire. I'm going to buy some dimmer 'plugs' which will give me a little more control over the light.

Prim
02-10-2006, 09:44 AM
Just remember that they get very hot
That`s a great problem for me.
It is very hot on the stage while shooting. How do you reduce the temperature?

Shaw
02-10-2006, 12:53 PM
Use flourescents - take Knightlys approach. Cheap and effective with no need for diffusion. If you want really hard light you can always plug in the work lights for a shot or two.

Media Hero
02-10-2006, 02:36 PM
This works great to fill in any holes in your lighting, and the light source can move with your actors if you want: attach a chinese latern to a long hollow pole (thread the electric cord through the pole) and your grip can keep the light source above an actor who is moving around (not too much though!). Make sure to hold the pole as steady as you can. I used white lantern shades, but it might be cool to try colored shades.

davidchecker
02-10-2006, 02:48 PM
All great stuff! Thanks for the feedback!

Will Vincent
02-10-2006, 03:40 PM
davidchecker:

welcome to indietalk! I'd highly suggest looking at IFP (http://www.ifpmsp.org/) if you haven't already, membership is fairly cheap, and their rental rates are reasonable. Also, there are a lot of people here that have gear that would likely work with you for free.. Send me a private message, let's chat a bit.


EDIT: just read what I wrote and realized it was a little vague.. by "a lot of people here" I meant in the twin cities, not on indietalk specifically... ;)