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How much light?

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James WilliamsHow much light?
by on Oct 17, 2007 at 5:59:40 pm

I'm shooting with a handheld Panasonic dvc60 camera. Generally speaking how much light(wattage) should i mount on the camera. 10 watt....50 watt...150? I've got to purchase a mountable light but got confused when i saw so much variation. Some suggestions on where you guys purchase lights would be much appreciated.

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MatteRe: How much light?
by on Oct 17, 2007 at 7:30:28 pm

I rarely use lights mounted on my cameras.

What is it that you want to shoot?

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Mark SuszkoRe: How much light?
by on Oct 18, 2007 at 1:00:54 am

All of them: use a dimmable light, and one with plenty of diffusion on it. I'm not a big fan of the on-camera light for anything except ENG work. Bad-looking on-camera light is always too much, too close to the lens axis, so people are squinting and overexposed, and the mood of the location is destroyed and people put on their guard.

If you are always one-man-banding it, at least use a long an extension arm to the side as you can manage, to put the light off to the side. Better yet, have an assistant work the light independently from you.

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james williamsRe: How much light?
by on Oct 18, 2007 at 2:46:31 am

I'm going to shoot a reception type event. Lots of couples dancing on a large dance floor. I'll shoot this event with 3 cameras. One camera taking in the whole scene, one staionary at a general angle and one roving camera. The last time i did this in a dimly lit venue the roving camera video was grainy dark and practically unusable. I have lights with deflectors and i agree lights can ruin a mood but can i somehow light up the subjects on the floor as i move around to get good video.
J. Williams

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Mark SuszkoRe: How much light?
by on Oct 19, 2007 at 2:49:39 pm

In a large ballroom:

A guy in the corner or behind the band with a follow-spot and an earpiece, taking your cues as to what to light up when and how hot to hit it. Somewhat expensive unless rented, can hit any spot on the floor but only from one angle. If integrated with the band or Dj lights, might actually be least obtrusive if it doesn't dwell too long in any one place.

A china globe type lamp, held on a stick by an assistant and on battery power, or a Chimera pancake type light. Good light, but calls attention to itself by odd appearance.

An LED lightpanel or florescent soft light with adjustable output. Relatively unobtrusive. Expensive, and short-range.

As to the "too dark" complaint, you know this old joke?
"Doctor, it hurts when I do this."
"Then, DON'T DO THAT!"

You might have to rent a camera with better low-light ability if you want to keep it more candid in low levels, or try and boost it in post, accepting grain as the price.

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JeffreauxRe: How much light?
by on Oct 19, 2007 at 3:24:50 pm

I've rented the LED lightpanels for this type of event, and I've been totally happy with the results.

The dimmer is key, because you can ease into it rather than hitting people over the head, and I also like the fact that they're self powered. The only bummer is that it probably doubles the weight of my camera (V1U)!

Something else I've noticed...while the lights can sometimes be obtrusive, I've also found that it sometimes works in my favor, especially at a reception setting. People get a few cocktails in them...see the bright light on them while on the dance floor...then proceed to get whipped into a frenzy and put on quite a show.

Makes for fun editing and can add a lot of flavor to the finished product.

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James WilliamsRe: How much light?
by on Oct 19, 2007 at 3:45:47 pm

Thanks for the input gentlemen. Just the type of information I needed to sift through. The LED light panel is something I'll look into as the event I'm shooting happens in December. I prefer to own my stuff but if renting is more practical I'll look into.
J. Williams

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JeffreauxRe: How much light?
by on Oct 19, 2007 at 5:10:28 pm

I like to own as much as possible as well. Renting is just a great way to try stuff out and help the decision making process.

For instance, to get set up with a lightpanel rig is going to be in the neighborhood of a cool $1,000. I'd hate to lay that cash down only to find out I don't like it! It makes the $40-$50 rental well worth it.

Good luck!

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