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Lighting for infinity cove

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Joel Roberts
Lighting for infinity cove
on Dec 18, 2012 at 2:10:00 pm

Hi Guys,

I'm guessing this is a fairly simple question but just wanted to check.

How do you position the lights for a straight piece to camera from a single subject in a white infinity cove? I have 3 800W redheads. Thanks in advance.

Joel


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting for infinity cove
on Dec 18, 2012 at 2:42:05 pm

I might get corrected, but seems to me you don't have enough lights. I would use at least two of those redheads for the white wall, and might need three. Do you have any more lights for use on the actual subject? You light the subject separate from the background, usually.


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Todd Terry
Re: Lighting for infinity cove
on Dec 18, 2012 at 3:46:12 pm

Mark alluded to the same questions that I have...

Are your three redheads for both the talent and the infinity cove? Or is the cove already lit?

And secondly, what kind of mood or look are you going for? Is the subject a person?... or an object/product?

And do you want the cove to be pure seamless full white?...i.e., pure white limbo? Or is there some other look you have in mind?

Knowing those things would help alot. Depending on those answers, you may or may not have enough instruments. As Mark said, probably not.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting for infinity cove
on Dec 18, 2012 at 4:57:44 pm

Unless maybe your cove is outdoors and you can use sun to help light and fill. But doing this kind of thing outdoors adds way more new problems than it solves.

Assuming three lights is really ALL you have...

I would test a shot using two redheads with diffusers hitting your white limbo wall from 45 degrees left and right. The third redhead, I'd try to ceiling-mount or put on a high stand, to hit the weak area between the other two lights. I don't have scopes in the field typically, so I use the viewfinder's zebra bars function to show me relative even-ness of the white level across the scene, as manually crank the iris up and down. I'll adjust how the lights hit the wall and blend, until the entire wall pops up in zebra bars simultaneously.

If two redheads DO fill the white background satisfactorily, I'd then turn those off and place my talent on his or her mark. I would put a BIG softbox on the third redhead, and also bring in a white reflector board on a stand. The softbox is the talent key, and whatever spills off past the talent is bounced back to his fill side. Adjusting this and still being able to frame the shot you want can be tricky.


Normally I try to dissuade beginners from home depot work lights, but lighting up a white wall is one place where this could be an affordable option. The essential step there is to add a safe method to diffuse the worklight and make it soft. You are trading extra work time setting these up and modifying them and adding stands and flags and etc. in exchange for "saving" money on buying more professional lights. Sometimes it's worth it, sometimes, not.

Buy some black wrap and a pair of used Lowel tota-lights to light your wall, and then you have the redheads to use on the talent with classic three-point light to suggest any motivated source you can imagine, from most any angle.


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Joel Roberts
Re: Lighting for infinity cove
on Dec 18, 2012 at 5:04:05 pm

Thanks for your replies guys.

The subject is a person who will just be standing still in a mid shot and talking to the camera. I want the cove to a be pure seamless full white. So I'm just looking for a very simple shot with both the subject and the cove lit (ie, with no shadows etc).

So, what's the minimum amount of lights I could get away with, and how would I position them.

Thanks again. Joel


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Joel Roberts
Re: Lighting for infinity cove
on Dec 18, 2012 at 5:30:24 pm

Whoops, sorry Mark -I sent the last post before getting your reply. Thanks for that though.

So, if I were to hire in some additional lights, what would you suggest please and how would you set them up and position them (in an ideal world)?


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting for infinity cove
on Dec 18, 2012 at 5:53:16 pm

Go test what I wrote in my last post, with what's on hand already. I think though that you're going to need 1-2 more lights to get the talent lit right and assure an even backdrop at the same time.

BTW, these are always easier to comment on if you can post a still of the location or the test shot.


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Todd Terry
Re: Lighting for infinity cove
on Dec 18, 2012 at 5:54:13 pm

Mark brought up Home Depot work lights....

For something quick and easy on a budget, I too will recommend a trip to "the depot"... but not for hot work lights, but instead for flos...

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-203081577/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catal...

I'd grab a couple of those (for well under $20 each) along with 3200° tubes and use those to light the cove. I'd save the redheads for lighting the talent, and do more or less conventional three-point lighting with them.

I've used shop lights in our place for years for non-critical things like wall-washing and greenscreen lighting. I even have a couple that I painted black (so I don't look quite like such a yokel), installed switches in the backs, and added mounting posts to the rear so I could use them in a regular grip head....



Would I use them for everything? No... not for anything precise, mostly just wall-washing or creating a limbo environment. They are not Kinos by any stretch of the imagination... but then again they are about 1/20th of the price.

I did find that I couldn't use them with 35mm film... I would get a bit of "phasing," but I never had any trouble with video at any frame rate or shutter speed... I don't even have to shoot clearscan.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Dan Shaw
Re: Lighting for infinity cove
on Feb 1, 2013 at 4:33:29 am

Hi Todd - For the shop lights I was curious how high you place them. I am working on building what you have done about to light my white seamless. I've seen some "background light stands" that are 3' high...would that work? Or should I go with a taller light stand/c-stand? As always, I really appreciate it.

-Dan


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Ben Rickert
Re: Lighting for infinity cove
on Jul 11, 2013 at 8:45:56 pm

Hey Todd,
I'm just picking up on this older thread... I like your design for those fluorescent shop lights and have decided to give building it a shot this weekend. I have a client on a budget and need to wash both a green and white screen for a handful of web-video shoots. Two quick questions for you before I head over to HD for parts, if you have a second...

1) Where did you find that short threaded rod for attaching to a C Stand? Is that a standard part I can find at the hardware store or something you found/made otherwise?

2) Since you've now had this setup for a while since this initial thread, have you changed the design of this setup at all?


Thanks again,
b.


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Todd Terry
Re: Lighting for infinity cove
on Jul 11, 2013 at 10:17:39 pm

Hi Ben...

[Ben Rickert] "Where did you find that short threaded rod for attaching to a C Stand? "

They are just plain ol' 5/8" bolts from the nuts and bolts aisle at Home Depot. If you'll notice, most of the bigger bolts aren't fully threaded, most of them are only partially threaded, like this...



...so if you cut the heads off you have a standard 5/8" post that is also threaded on one end. You can cut excess threads off, too... obviously. I can't remember what I used, I think I probably used a metal-cutting blade in a Sawzall. Then clean up and round the cut edge just a little on a bench grinder.

[Ben Rickert] " have you changed the design of this setup at all?"

Hmmmm, good question. No, I don't think so. If I was going to build another one today it would probably be exactly like the ones I already have. The only thing I can think of if I was going to get really fancy is maybe put in multiple switches so I could independently control the bulbs. As it is now, if one instrument is too much we sometimes give one of the tubes a quarter-turn twist to turn it off. I'm not sure about independent switching, that might require a different ballast that the stock one that comes in the cheap units.

Aside from that, they work just fine... same as the first day I put them together.

Good luck...

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Ben Rickert
Re: Lighting for infinity cove
on Jul 15, 2013 at 5:09:29 pm

Hey Todd,
Thanks for the fast and thorough response to my questions about white and green screen fill lights. It is much appreciated! Using your input, I created a similar setup and I'll be sure to post my results after I've used them a couple of times on a shoot.

In case you were curious, or this benefits others:
I ended up choosing the Lithonia Diamond Plate 2-Light Shop Light for T8 Flourescent bulbs. Of all the 2 bulb displays with 4' tubes, this one appeared to emit the most light because of the reflective silver interior. It also takes T8 bulbs with tend to provide (ever so slightly) more lumens than similar T12 tubes. This difference probably isn't really perceptible, but I figured, "Why not?".



I bought partially-threaded 1/2" hex bolts, along with washers and nuts, cut the hex-end off with a hack saw and used a metal file to remove the rough edges from the bolt. I installed these in the center of the shop light, but the diamond plated metal wasn't very thick and it flexed a little when I picked up the fixture by the bolt. So, I headed over to Lowe's and bought a 1-3/8" x 8" steel "strap" (a bar of metal used for binding wood planks / deck building) from the lumber area, along with some smaller 8-32 sheet metal screws. I drilled a 1/2" hole right in the center of the 8" bar, placed it on the inside back of the shop light and bolted it back together with the brace in place. I used the smaller screws to fasten down the ends of the 8" brace and distribute the load when hanging from the bolt. It feels a LOT more stable now than it did before.



Here is the shopping list:

Lithonia 2LT Diamond Plated Shop Light ($29.97 x 2)
1/2" Hex Bolts ($2.15 x 2)
Washers ($0.33 x 4)
Hex Nuts ($0.38 x 2)
10 PK of PLC 4FT T8 32W Daylight Deluxe Flouresecent Tubes ($33.97)
1-3/8"x8" steel strap ($1.98 x 2)
1" 8-32 Machine screws, nuts and washers ($3.54)
Grand Total: $108.55 (plus tax)

Overall, I probably paid a little more than I needed to, but only because I wanted to see how those diamond plated fixtures would work and I bought several extra bulbs.

Thanks again, Todd, and have a great day!

Ben


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Todd Terry
Re: Lighting for infinity cove
on Jul 15, 2013 at 5:51:10 pm

Cool, Ben... glad they worked out.


[Ben Rickert] "metal wasn't very thick and it flexed a little ... bolted it back together with the brace in place"

We did exactly the same thing, you might be able to see that strut in the pics of ours... that was one of the things I left out in my very abbreviated DIY instructions. Our fixtures have a very similar aluminum stock brace on both the inside and outside... no flexing anymore.


[Ben Rickert] " this one appeared to emit the most light because of the reflective silver interior."

Yeah it might. We bought the cheap white fixtures, but I painted them silver on the inside, and black on the outside.

Looks like a successful project... I think they will work out well for you.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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