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Need to turn a windowless office into a professional video studio

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Anna Green
Need to turn a windowless office into a professional video studio
on Feb 26, 2018 at 6:36:47 pm

I'm in a bit of a strange situation. I'm a video producer at a relatively popular web publication. We shoot a lot of little lifehack/how-to videos (mostly close-up, tabletop stuff showing hands manipulating objects w/ a few different colored backdrops) in our "studio" which is a small, windowless office room with florescent overheads. As you can probably guess from this set-up, our videos aren't as professional-looking as they should be.

I've been tasked with choosing lights for the studio, and I can't emphasize enough how little I know about lighting (beyond the googling I've been doing for this). Can anyone recommend a light set-up that would work well for this situation? Or provide any advice that might lead me in the right direction? Budget is low—ideally under $1K but maybe up to $2K. I'd love to get powerful enough lights that we can stop using our awful overhead lights altogether, but I'm not sure how feasible that is with our budget.


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Rick Wise
Re: Need to turn a windowless office into a professional video studio
on Feb 27, 2018 at 12:53:19 am

With your budget, I think your best bet is to stay with very simple consumer lights. You already have overall ambient light with those overhead fluorescents. Get something like this '4-lamp 4-feet fixture (https://www.amazon.com/Lithonia-Lighting-Fluorescent-Square-Wraparound/dp/B...) and work up a way to place it sideways at about the height of your table. Make sure you bulb the fixture with the same kind of bulbs that are in the overhead fluorescents.

Experiment with: position and number of bulbs lit. Once you have played around with this unit and are getting better results, maybe add a second fixture to add something to the background. You can place colored gels over a unit for a color effect.

Play, have fun!

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
MFA/BFA Lighting and Camera Instructor Academy of Art University
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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Anna Green
Re: Need to turn a windowless office into a professional video studio
on Feb 27, 2018 at 3:02:06 pm

Thanks for the advice! Out of curiosity, what would you say would be a reasonable budget for something professional?

And you'd recommend sticking with the overhead lights instead of trying to replace them?


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Mark Suszko
Re: Need to turn a windowless office into a professional video studio
on Mar 23, 2018 at 4:28:55 pm

Just to add an alternative view, I recently got a new kit for my own simple home studio needs. I went to Amazon and got a 3-light softlight kit with a boom arm and stands from LightDow, I'm using it with "corncob" style Bonlux LED bulbs, and this kit emulates my favorite Lowell Rifalights, without the heat, for a ridiculously low price. Under 90 bucks, bulbs included.

What I got:
Lightdow Overhead Softbox Continuous Light Photo Studio Youtube Vlog 600W Soft Box Lighting Kit (Model Number: LD-TZ002)

Build quality not as rugged as a RifaLight, but serviceable. For small vlogging projects at a desk or table, might be all you need.


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