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Portable lighting solution??

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Paul Dombrovskis
Portable lighting solution??
on Mar 7, 2013 at 6:40:40 am

Hi guys, anyone knows/has experience with good portable lighting solution. We are planning to have a shoot with couple of models on the local mountain with RED Scarlet and trying to figure out what would be good light to use. We going to have a bounce board but besides that want some continues light what runs on some battery packs for the places where is hard to bounce the sun light on to the talents. First thing what comes in my mind is LED they come in daylight, don't consume lot of power but on other hand they have a green cast and most important have lots of small shadows, so I am not a big fan of that idea. Recommendations for some soft lighting like softbox solution would be much appreciated

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Mark Suszko
Re: Portable lighting solution??
on Mar 7, 2013 at 5:25:50 pm

I think flows are what you'd want for outdoor supplemental where the power is hard to come by. They don't have the throw distance of an HMI or tungsten light and so would have to work in close, but are soft and low on power draw: a trunk full of marine batteries and an inverter could be all you'd need.

Consider an overhead butterfly along with the reflectors and you might be able to avoid powered light altogether.

Is audio a big deal? If not, simplest is to rent a generator and an HMI. The HMI will have what it takes to fight the sunlight directly. If there is audio, but it isn't too complex, do an ADR looping session after the shoot, on location or in post.

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Bill Davis
Re: Portable lighting solution??
on Mar 8, 2013 at 12:46:14 am

On reading this it kinda seems to me that most of your experience might come from reading and talking about production rather than from actually doing a whole lot of field shooting?

I might be wrong, but I base that on the fact that most of your post wasn't very practically helpful to me in figuring out what to recommend. You tossed around terms like "green cast" that's hardly on the radar of any competent pro because it's something that virtually every with any actual experience knows how to avoid.

You kinda posted nothing about the location that would help me, for example, determine what the natural light might be like. No compass directions, useful location survey data or basics. I can't tell whether the cryptic "on a mountain" means your driving, hiking or helicoptering to the location - each of which would effect what I might practically suggest. (notice Mark suggested a generator. That's cool if you're 50 feet off a good road or in a developed campground, but functionally useless 3 miles off road on the edge of a ravine.

So all I can do is give you the advice I'd give anyone else. Hire someone with the experience to know the right prep questions to ask. That's really the only way you're assured to return with great footage that you don't have to waste money fixing in post.

You can't learn lighting by reading forum posts, any more than you can learn to bake a cake by reading cookbooks. Theory is fine, but reality is messy, variable, and requires adaptation - and you just can't adapt to a situation until you're in it.

If you're not confident that you know enough yet to do it yourself, the smartest thing you can possibly do is spend some money on people who DO know how to do stuff and watch and learn from them.

If this is just for learning, then go have fun and learn from the mistakes. That's what every one of us here did. For YEARS.

Now if I'm assessing this wrong and you do have a lot of practical experience and just want advice on a specific situation, you've got to describe that situation in specific terms that we can understand so we can help.


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

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Craig Alan
Re: Portable lighting solution??
on Mar 26, 2013 at 6:30:54 am

LEDs are getting a lot better in terms of temperature control and have filtered into the professional workflow. But they are still quite expensive if you stick to the famous manufactures - though they're cheaper to run. The kit below is great for very soft even lighting and it even-outs skin tone -- in other words fairly idiot proof and talent looks good under it. However it may not be the look you are after. With Fresnels you can get more modeling and can go either hard or soft. Daylight Fresnels are expensive. HMIs a more common choice for daylight temp and greater power. Expensive. The kit below does not come with bulbs so buy the daylight temp. Plus you still need a back light but your reflector could do the job there. You might just want to wait for the magic hour and get what you need with out artificial light. Scout the location the day before and see what different locations and angles bring to the table. Take lots of shots with talent and you have the whole night and day to review your footage and decide where to set up the next day if you even need to. I'd bring a broadcast monitor with me and a way to shield the screen from the sun so you can really see what you are getting.

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