I have a shoot coming up in the next couple of weeks. Ultra-low budget. I'm using Halogen lamps I bought from Home Depot. They cast harsh shadows and I was wondering if you had any advice on how to combat that. Are there cheap diffusers I could purchase? Would you even recommend using the halogens? is there another cheap lighting alternative out there? Flourescent? I'm shooting on the canon hv20. I appreciate it, thanks.
Well obviously those halogen lamps are not ideal, but sometimes one has to make do, especially on a budget.
There are a few things you can do on the ultra cheap cheap cheap... I wouldn't recommend them for most shoots but if there's little money they might have to do...
Firstly, take the "cages" off your halogen work lights. BE CAREFUL with these instruments, they get hot enough to fry an egg... literally. You can diffuse the instruments with umbrellas, or even a white bedsheet. Most fabric stores will have translucent vinyl shower curtain material that is actually great for diffusion... but again, be VERY CAREFUL and don't put any of these diffusers very close to your light source or they will burn and/or melt and/or cause a fire. Watch them like a hawk, and never leave anything unattended even for a minute. You can also bounce the halogens into a white bounce card for a soft look (just a big piece of white foamcore... usually 4x4 but you might not be able to find anything quite that large at just a hobby store). Again, be VERY CAREFUL or the halogens may burn the card.
If you want to go a cooler route, make your own poor man's KinoFlos... at Lowes or Home Depot you can pick up those cheap fluorescent shop fixtures for almost nothing. You can get either daylight or tungsten balanced (more or less) tubes for them. You can also pick up some cheap clamp-on reflectors and put the spiral flo bulbs in them... they also come in daylight or tungsten color flavors (although the higher-wattage spiral bulbs may only be available in daylight balanced). Run some tests as you might get some "phasing" with these, depending on your shutter speed... you might need to shoot in "clear scan" mode (I can't remember if the HV20 will do that, but I think so). These cheap flos will probably also have a noticeable green spike to them... you may need to combat that with some minus-green gel on them, or run some post tests and see if you can sufficiently correct it in post.
The flos will not give you nearly the output that the halogens will, but will be a LOT softer and a heckuva lot cooler and safer.
Not an ideal way to light... but it can work.
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