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Melissa Summers
Lighting Recommendations
on Jan 6, 2011 at 8:43:38 pm

Please help. I need your expertise on recommending a 'general' lighting kit that is EXTREMELY portable for medium size venues such as auditorium and church for presenter/stage lighting for video taping. The lighting will need to be versatile/flexible in adjusting from lighting medium (auditorium) size, to lighting small areas for things like interviews.


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Bill Davis
Re: Lighting Recommendations
on Jan 7, 2011 at 4:41:23 am

Dear Melissa,

I've been lighting and shooting professional video for more than 20 years...and I'd like to own a kit like that too!

I'd also like to own a food replicator just like the ones' in Star Trek - you know, where you push a button and anything from a cheeseburger to a hot fudge sunday comes out of the gizmo in about 5 seconds.

Sadly, both of us are going to be disappointed.



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Dennis Size
Re: Lighting Recommendations
on Jan 7, 2011 at 5:12:38 am

What Bill is saying Melissa, is that your "kit" will consist of SEVERAL dozen lighting fixtures -- of a variety of sizes shapes and purposes -- that will require several EXPERIENCED people to hang/cable/focus and program each and every time you make a change.
The type of "kit" you're referring to doesn't exist, and would need to be designed specifically for your all-purpose requirements. The package would also require a large truck to store/transport.

DS



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Melissa Summers
Re: Lighting Recommendations
on Jan 7, 2011 at 12:52:47 pm

O.K. I understand. Could you recommend a very portable solution for lighting a small to mid-size auditorium stage (not audience) with no less than 12ft flood lighting distance for video production? And what lights for short distance, no more than 12ft distance for video production such as interviews and lets say lighting for an on-location cooking show for example?


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Melissa Summers
Re: Lighting Recommendations
on Jan 7, 2011 at 3:15:01 pm

O.K. I understand. Could you recommend a very portable solution for lighting a small to mid-size auditorium stage (not audience) with no less than 12ft flood lighting distance for video production? And what lights for short distance, no more than 12ft distance for video production such as interviews and lets say lighting for an on-location cooking show for example?


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting Recommendations
on Jan 7, 2011 at 7:16:33 pm

Melissa, what you describe is what I've had to do for decades using Lowel kits. They are not optimal for every use, I admit, but they can be made to "make do" across a large variety of jobs, and they are light, rugged, long-lived, flexible, durable, and offer some precision control. I use a 3-light Lowel Omni kit for everything from news conferences in rooms of 50-100, to stage presentations of a single speaker with powerpoints, to field work, to close-up interviews. Lowel offers lots of accessories that can help; the kit looks like a James Bond briefcase sometimes, with all the gadgets - but they do the job. As far as lighting a stage, three lights is not going to be enough for that - but you can buy Lowel products a la carte and build up a custom collection for your specific needs in two or three cases.

Im know I'm going to get teased by the higher-level people here, but I have to say that for flexibility and beign able to work over a broad range of tasks, Lowels do a great job for the money. If you can afford a grip truck, if you have a budget for Arri's and for a lot of fresnels, you have many more options. When your entire grip truck is just the trunk of a sedan, the Lowel kit is what I'd want to have in there.

Okay, there's my obligatory Lowel fanboy post. I'm ready to take my lumps:-)


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Dennis Size
Re: Lighting Recommendations
on Jan 7, 2011 at 7:56:15 pm

MARK..... It's way toooooo easy.
I will not take the bait! I just hope Ross has sent you a leather LOWEL jacket (or several great swag gifts) for your fine publicity work.

MELISSA ..... Mark has presented you with a very viable way to light your project.
Another way -- easier and requiring less skill and experience -- would be to ring the front of your area with four or five 4'-0" x 4 lamp Kino Flo fluorescent fixtures on heavy duty 12'-0" stands.
The hardest thing you'll have to deal with are the sandbags.

DS



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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting Recommendations
on Jan 7, 2011 at 8:29:33 pm

Everything's a trade-off. To shoot a stage where there's also an audience, you're not going to get away with stands and sandbags all along the front. The proper thing for that would be a truss or bar, I should think, flown from above, lighting "trees" in the wings, or powerful fresnel spots at the back and sides of a room. Which i don;t normally have handy. I had a gig like that one time and the PA system guys had deployed a Lowel 4- light Omni kit on four stands along the front, to cover a wide area, and it lit the stage okay, but the stands and cords were blocking a lot of the view. I asked them if they would mind me adjusting their lights and they said sure, as they were sound guys and didn't know much about it.

What I did was take out the two stands in the middle. Omni's have a special fitting on their frame that let you stack multiple lights together off one stand, and they can still each be turned somewhat independently. So I was able to get the stands stands off to the sides, keep the front clear for the live audience, and still target four individual 1K open-faced spots to various needed areas on the stage.

For the interview setting, the flo lights are great, as are chimeras or my favorite, the Lowel Rifalight: a softbox that deploys as fast as an umbrella, and is easy for even an unskilled person to use; has a great Vermeer-like wrap-around light. Makes people look good inclose-ups. But it isn't much help for a stage use, OTOH.

Your kit will be made up of various instruments by various makers, to do what YOU need to do. The plus side for you is that quality light instruments retain their value a LONG time and when you divide the cost of them into their operational lifetime, they are the cheapest thing in the whole video game.


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Bob Cole
Re: Lighting Recommendations
on Jan 8, 2011 at 5:15:32 am

You don't want a light anywhere close to the stage, right? If you need a long throw, that's what an ellipsoidal like a Source 4 was designed to do. Unless your resources are pretty big, I wouldn't attempt to light an entire auditorium - just use what's there or rake another couple Source 4's across the room and call it artistic and exciting and creative.

You could do it with three Source 4's and dimmers - cheap, long-lasting, great lights. I'm guessing a pretty narrow lens (low number) for a longer throw (podium), and a couple wide angles for lighting an entire stage.

Bob C


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Melissa Summers
Re: Lighting Recommendations
on Jan 8, 2011 at 11:10:08 pm

I am extremely grateful for your advice and counsel regarding lighting choices. You have no idea how your expertise and input has blessed me in my feeble attempt to put together a workable portable production system. Thank you so much...(-:


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Bill Davis
Re: Lighting Recommendations
on Jan 9, 2011 at 12:40:46 am

Melissa,

Unfortunately, I'm still not sure you're understanding this.

It's as if you went out to have someone specify the factors that make up a good race car.

You've gotten the specifications for what kind of engine, what kind of tires, and some specifications for how strong the roll cage must be.

What you don't have is an understanding of how to RACE.

The likely outcome of this approach is bad accidents in racing. For video, a similar approach can only result in extremely sub-standard in video.

Sorry.



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Melissa Summers
Re: Lighting Recommendations
on Jan 9, 2011 at 1:58:42 am

Hi Bill, also thank you soooo much Dennis, Mark and Bob

I do get where you're coming from. In your cool race scenario, I will play the role of the owner of the race track, I appreciate the multitude of expert advice which I solicited not for the knowledge of knowing how to race the car myself but to have a 'general' working knowledge and understanding of the 'racing' (i.e. video production system) system; this instance particularly dealing with lighting. With the wealth of information I have been blessed to gather regarding lighting from experts like yourself, Dennis, Mark and Bob, I am a bit better informed now so when I hire the experts to do the professional lighting job I won't be 'too' blind sided and as clueless.


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Bill Davis
Re: Lighting Recommendations
on Jan 9, 2011 at 7:01:50 am

Melissa,

Now you're sounding like a smart video producer.

If you don't have specific knowledge yourself, hire others who do - and watch and learn from them.

That's a reproducible and practical plan that often leads to success.



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