FORUMS: list search recent posts

Instructional video light design

COW Forums : Lighting Design

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Michael Cowan
Instructional video light design
on Jan 3, 2013 at 3:50:54 pm

Hello,

I have an instructional yoga video to shoot in Mexico at a retreat center that runs on solar power. Although they have a pretty sophisticated system (or so I'm told), their storage batteries aren't unlimited.

I have a room that's 24' x 40' with a 12' ceiling. There'll be one presenter at the front on the room and another 20 participants on yoga mats. I'm mainly concerned with the presenter and perhaps the first of row of participants.

I'm shooting with a few higher end PTZ cameras (Panasonic HE-50 SN) and they're pretty low light tolerant. There is some natural light that filters into the room from windows on one side (West). But because the shoot is 7 hours/day I wanted to ensure consistent illumination. I can obtain a genny, but I'm trying to do this without incurring that expense.

My plan is to hang a truss or speedrail across the front of the room and simply put up three 4x4 Kinos for the presenter and another 2 4x4s to light the first row of participants. Tungsten lights are going to draw too much from my limited, battery supply. I have budgetary limitations, so I'm thinking of spec'g fluorescents vs. LEDs. The presenter will periodically move laterally the width of the room and about four feet forward and back.

Given the size of the room and my limited available power, does this appear to be enough for general illumination?

Here's the room:


Thanks!

Michael Cowan
Heartbeest Productions, Inc.

- Everything Matters


Return to posts index

Bill Davis
Re: Instructional video light design
on Jan 3, 2013 at 6:43:10 pm

Not an easy challenge.

Huge space by volume. West windows mean you'd expect HUGE penetrating sun casts across the floor in the late afternoon. Are all those china balls on the ceiling decorative or are some/all of them practical?

Without spending too much time on it, I'd say think about blocking all the windows at the exterior as step one because if you don't do that, you'll NEVER get consistency over an all-day shoot - then bringing enough lighting power directed NOT at the participants directly, but maybe up at the ceiling to turn it into a large soft key for everything in the room. But to bring the entire room up to decent video lighting levels even for today's efficient cameras isn't going to be easy - largely because of the room size issue.

But if you don't bring the room up overall, any lighting you use will create bright pools in a dim space, which will be tough to balance.

Big space plus windows plus low budgets isn't the easiest lighting starting situation.

Sorry I can't be more help, but maybe someone else has a better suggestion.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


Return to posts index

Rick Wise
Re: Instructional video light design
on Jan 3, 2013 at 7:10:40 pm

Interesting challenge. I know zip about that strange Panasonic camera but I am guessing you are familiar with it.

About the room: the windows face West but it appears there is a wall outside it, so the sun can never penetrate very far.

Color temperature: either all your lights need to be daylight-balanced, or you gel the windows with CTO. Gelling looks doable, provided you can get access to the outside of those windows. In either case, probably not shoot toward the windows.

If you stay with daylight, use daylight bulbs in those China balls. Kino Flo makes 26w CFLs for daylight and also for tungsten balance, roughly the equivalent of 100 watts each. Not a lot, but with all those China Balls, probably decent ambient level if those cameras are good at low light levels.

Your planned overheads may be too much light in relation to the rest of the room but you can always turn off bulbs....

Be careful of the back light on Buddha. You way want to unplug the existing fluorescent tube and put up a kino flo instead.

I agree with Bill that maintaining the same light over seven hours will be very difficult if you let in daylight, filtered or not. However, since this video progresses through time, and you would not have to cut from a shot at say 10:00 am with one shot at 3:00 pm, the changes should appear natural. You may, however, find yourself adjusting iris a bit as you go, which can make things tricky. Still, I'd hate to black out those windows.

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


Return to posts index


Michael Cowan
Re: Instructional video light design
on Jan 3, 2013 at 7:56:06 pm

Bill and Rick,

Yes, it's not easy, because it's a big room and things are further complicated by the solar power source and the instructor's initial desire to not use any lights at all. It took some convincing to have him understand how much the light will change over the course of a day. He's okay with the passage of time throughout the day; my goal is to provide adequate, general illumination so the pictures look good. That camera (it looks a bit like R2D2) can get an image at 3 lux with the gain cranked to +36dB, but this isn't an episode of Cops. If I can get 30-50 ft-c evenly across the front of the room and the rest of the room up to 20-30, that should be enough.

Bill, your suggestion of putting daylight CFLs in the china balls is one I will take and maybe I can get away with using daylight 2x4s on the presenter to not have the rest of the room appear to be in relative darkness. I'll cover the windows with grid cloth or muslin and let some natural light filter in.

Thanks!

m.

Michael Cowan
Heartbeest Productions, Inc.

- Everything Matters


Return to posts index

Todd Terry
Re: Instructional video light design
on Jan 3, 2013 at 7:59:26 pm

I'm probably not going to offer any thing better than Rick and Bill, but will chime in anyway...

I'm gonna go waaay out on a limb and differ a bit with both of those guys a little... which is dangerous ground since I know both of them are more practiced and astute at DP work than I am by far...

Firstly, I LOVE this space, it's really pretty and has a lot of potential. I love the Buddha, love the hardwood and the China balls, love the windows. I REALLY love the windows, and the muted view through them. Both of the other guys said black them out, but I'd take the other tack and do my best to feature them rather than eliminate them. I'd try to show off the China balls, too, but I wouldn't use them as a practical light source... I'd just put small enough globes in them to give them a bit of a beautiful glow. I think the Kinos you have in might might get the jobs done, depending on the capabilities of your camera. I too am completely unfamiliar with it and don't know what it can do.

You mentioned getting a generator... that and a few judicious HMIs would certainly get the job done. However, if you can budget for that, I think you might be better off taking that money and instead using it to rent a camera that would be more suitable for the low light levels. I recently (within the last couple of months) moved to the Canon C300PL as my primary camera and am constantly dumbfounded by its incredible low-light capability. I will occasionally tell people that I could shoot a scene in a dark room lit with only three birthday candles and it look great... and that's not an exaggeration. And still with no noise. So personally I'd consider that camera or one equally well-performing in low light as a budget item rather than pouring all the money into lighting.

It's a great space, I'd LOVE to shoot there.

T2

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



Return to posts index

Rick Wise
Re: Instructional video light design
on Jan 3, 2013 at 8:11:31 pm

Now, now Todd, I did NOT say black out those windows, at all. And I do agree with you: it's a beautiful space. Your suggestion of the Canon C300 is a great addition to this topic. Wish I'd thought of it....

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


Return to posts index


Todd Terry
Re: Instructional video light design
on Jan 3, 2013 at 8:17:08 pm

Ah SORRY Rick... I misread (actually apparently skipped over the "hate to" in your post)...

I bow to your wisdom and experience, always :)



And yeah, it's a really pretty space, love it there.

T2

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



Return to posts index

Mark Suszko
Re: Instructional video light design
on Jan 3, 2013 at 8:19:14 pm

What if you don't black out the windows, but instead put full-length mirrors in front of them, angled to kick incoming daylight into the ceiling? The bounce would create a soft, even room light level, plus defeat backlighting issues shooting towards that side of the room. I picture cheap shoji type screens from a discount store or Pier One type store, blocking the windows, as well as holding up some cheap, light mirrors made from plastic, sprayed silver, a tensioned sheet of mylar gift wrap from a dollar store, or foil-on-foamcore bounce cards. What light isn't bounced into the ceiling, is diffused thru the sides of the shoji screen material.

Got to be cheaper than renting a genny, right?

Something like:





You would still bring in supplemental lighting, but this way you're working with what's on site as much as possible.


Return to posts index

Mark Suszko
Re: Instructional video light design
on Jan 3, 2013 at 8:29:43 pm

The Buddha niche looks to be lit with daylight from a skylight window, based on the angle and color temp matching that of the windows in the still photo, and not from a flo light.


Return to posts index


Michael Cowan
Re: Instructional video light design
on Jan 3, 2013 at 10:34:56 pm

Good catch on Buddha! Thanks.

Michael Cowan
Heartbeest Productions, Inc.

- Everything Matters


Return to posts index

Michael Cowan
Re: Instructional video light design
on Jan 3, 2013 at 8:40:10 pm

Mark,

That's a pretty interesting approach! These aren't my photos, I've never seen the room, but the windows look like they're either below grade or surrounded by small retaining walls. I've attached two more pix.

m.



gardenstudioviewtowardsouthwall.jpg

Michael Cowan
Heartbeest Productions, Inc.

- Everything Matters


Return to posts index

Mark Suszko
Re: Instructional video light design
on Jan 3, 2013 at 9:06:58 pm

I concur with the more experienced folk here that you want to use the daylight if at all possible. The room looks wide enough that I'd be a little afraid to use my go-to device of an Auto-Pole with extensions as an overhead truss.

The China Balls look decorative and not like they are wired. I was at Pier One the other day and they have battery-powered LED packs powered by AAA's that you can hang inside a paper ball lantern. I took one home to try out. They are on the yellow side., not close to daylight. But dirt cheap. Maybe they can be gelled...



Return to posts index


Bill Davis
Re: Instructional video light design
on Jan 4, 2013 at 3:46:13 am

Ah, the plot thickens.

I remember looking at that rectangular glow in the initial pic and wondering if it was a skylight.

Now the reverse angle photo shows that the architect had fun with those clerestory skylights atop the east wall and with sticking a few odd shaped ones in the ceiling as well. Fun.

Rick looks to have been correct to have called the parapet walls outside the windows - but there's still direct sun hitting the wood over there - which will make shooting west an issue - at least at the time the photo was being taken. Whether you can work with the results as a back or side light and go all daylight is something you won't be able to tell before you get there.

Personally, the first thing I'd WANT to do is send a FedEx package to the location with the following: Two simple stands and two GoPros pre-set to wide angle and 5 minute time-lapse and instruct the client to set up one at each end of the room and let them run across the time of day that the shoot is planned. Cuz I'd worry that all those skylights would do something that would NOT make me happy when the money's being spent. I realize that that's probably NOT going to happen, but it would make me feel a lot more comfortable going in.

I know you're talking Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras, but I'm worried about that. It kinda presumes they're set up in a fixed location. With all those weird overhead light sources, I'd want my primary cameras to be as "dolly-able" and as "truck-able" as possible. If a skylight shaft screws up a subject or background, then at least you can MOVE to get a better shot.

So I'd really want my tripod WHEELS in the travel kit - at least for the primary camera. I'd HATE to find myself spending all day dragging dragging Pan/Tilt mounted on stands back and forth trying to find shots of the participants without some blinding clerestory beam pulling audience focus from the teacher or the class being shot.

I agree with Rick that the space is wonderful. For Yoga. And for life. And even for architecture. It's just not particularly wonderful for VIDEO over a full day - but given time, willing hands, access to consumables - and a maybe good electric lift to rapidly fly and position scrims and cutters as needed, and a camera dolly that lets you re-position to re-frame around any bright spots - you can certainly get enough quality video out of the space to look lovely and make a cool Yoga video in there.

Bottom line is that this is what we're paid for.

If they're not trying to totally cheap it out - this project is perfectly do-able.

The space likely won't make or break the video. As always, the writing and the talent will.

Oh, and know that this kind of room will likely be a nightmare for sound. I presume you're shooting MOS and laying in narration with mood music in post which is smart, cuz that huge hard surface cube is likely gonna be NASTY for audio. Just sayin'

Let us know how it goes.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


Return to posts index

Mark Suszko
Re: Instructional video light design
on Jan 4, 2013 at 4:22:36 am

Maddeningly, the rez of the location pics is just barely too low for me to tell if those china balls are mobiles or working practical lights, and how bright they might get. If this is a solar-powered home running 12 volts all over the place... they might use spiral flo bulbs or LED's already.


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]