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Looking for a new lighting instrument

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Ty Ford
Looking for a new lighting instrument
on May 31, 2019 at 2:57:53 pm

Hi,

I have an audio studio in which I’ve installed a charcoal muslin back drop and very simple 5-point lighting.

Here’s an example of what that looks like. Pretty simple.







I’d like to add a fixture that will allow me to blow some light on the backdrop behind the talent. Maybe something with different color choices and possibly some patterns.

This fixture would hang from my dropped ceiling on a scissor clamp.

Got any suggestions?

Thanks,

Ty Ford

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Mark Suszko
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jun 5, 2019 at 3:16:13 pm

Video projector? it would have to be expensive to get the amount of light needed in that application. Though switching out the black for a gray would make that easier. The options for colors and patterns with the video projector would truly be infinite.


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Todd Terry
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jun 5, 2019 at 3:23:03 pm
Last Edited By Todd Terry on Jun 5, 2019 at 3:29:21 pm

Since Ty was wanting color choices and patterns, to me the obvious choice is one of the new LED versions of the ol' tried-n-true Source Fours...

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1147738-REG/etc_7461a1061_series_2_t...

...or....

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1147741-REG/etc_7461a1071_series_2_d...

T2

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



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Mark Suszko
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jun 5, 2019 at 4:15:24 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Jun 5, 2019 at 4:18:01 pm

Todd, that's just so outrageously expensive!


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Rick Wise
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jun 5, 2019 at 4:34:19 pm

If budget is a consideration (is it ever not one?...) then why not "the old tried and true Source 4" original (incandescent.) Dirt cheap used. Check eBay....

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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Todd Terry
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jun 5, 2019 at 4:46:21 pm

It is expensive, Mark, very... but you have to remember that price is no object to the audio guys.

I learned that recently when complaining in the audio forum about the high cost of one piece of simple gear that I needed (a mic mixer), and found myself fairly berated for wanting something more affordable. I was told by various forum members things like:

"So you are one of those guys"

"...unlike your cheap camera, it will provide years of faithful service."

"...there is no short-cut or work-around..."


So I figured audio guys would want to "do it right" and budget wasn't a consideration.

:)

T2

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



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Ty Ford
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jun 6, 2019 at 12:45:22 am

Mr. Terry, I reviewed the object of your complaint and found no grounds for your objections.

Yes, there are cheaper EVERYTHING. But there are quality standards. If we ship you off to prosumer-land, you'd better know a LOT about audio so as not to underachieve and hurt your own reputation. Given that you said you don't have a solid foundation in audio, sending you off with iffy-gear is a very bad idea.

Oh, and as a side note. Please don't kill the messenger.

Yours Truly,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
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Todd Terry
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jun 6, 2019 at 2:32:42 am

Relax, Ty... no messenger killing here.

My comment was mostly in jest, only partially to make a point.

That said, though, I didn't feel overly helped and did feel relatively chastised for suggesting there might be a more cost-effective way to solve my problem. Instead I was more or less told "that's what it costs" before the conversation devolved into suggestions like using lavalieres instead of booms... which in no way would have solved the problem.

It wasn't necessarily you, but everyone (although you did call my camera "cheap" without even knowing what I was shooting with... and, it's not).

Maybe things are different here on the video side of things, where there is almost always a hack to do something cheaper or different, or a possible way to do the impossible... and a pretty rich DIY culture of helpful people. It's a different world... I can build a homemade camera crane and the viewer will never know the difference. I can't build a microphone.

Cheap doesn't necessarily mean bad. Take the show Modern Family, which is shot with $100K Alexas sporting $100K lenses. Yet all the car interiors are shot with GoPros.

I will say though that the audio forum was recently surprisingly indulgent of one particular longtime troll-poster (who is persona non grata on just about every internet forum).

All that being said, the Source Four is the instrument you're looking for to do what you want in your studio... whether it be the uber-expensive LED version, or a cheap used incandescent fixture like Rick suggested.

That instrument will do what you want, and make you happy.

T2

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



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Rick Wise
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jun 6, 2019 at 3:41:45 pm

Nicely and gently put, Todd. I know I'm not alone in this experience: in my very long career as a cinematographer and sometimes director, I've come to realize that great sound people are almost a different species of human. I admire them enormously. I do my best to give them space to do their job.

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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Ty Ford
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jun 6, 2019 at 4:12:28 pm

Well we've sort of jumped the track here, but I think the bottom line is WORKING TOGETHER.

I was on a shoot. We had six or seven setups to do in the day. Setup #3 had talent opening a door, stepping in and delivering lines. I setup a locked down shot with my trusty boom holder. The lighting folks set lights and said, "Boom Shadow!!"

I said that I could lav the talent, but would much prefer to boom him because of the quality of the sound. I grabbed my wireless gear and headed for wardrobe. I wired the talent. When we came back the lighting folks had found a way to achieve their lighting without causing a boom shadow. WORKING TOGETHER.

Maybe because I had worked with these folks a number of times and we all felt "connected" it turned out just fine.

On a totally different shoot, we had been working hard all day and it was one of the last setups. I had hired a second audio guy because of the number of talent. We rolled. The director (who I had also hired) said, "That's it. Let's move on!" I said, "Nope. Both talent were talking low and over each other." The words were important. I looked at the other sound guy and asked if he got it. He said no.

I had to argue with the director (an old and dear friend) to do the shot again. In the end I said, "You didn't hear what we got. You weren't wearing cans. You can dislike me now, but you'll hate me in post if you don't do another take."

I was also the technical editor for the project and he was the creative/content editor. In post, he agreed that the take I objected to was crap and the extra effort was worth it.

Not all sound people are easy to work with. Some seem to have PTSD from "unknown sources" or being beaten down by directors who don't pay attention to what they are being told. We are wearing headphones so we know what just happened. Directors who don't wear headphones are problematic. They sure as heck are watching the monitor as the shot goes down. Some of them are not as aurally fixated as sound people. They may not be able to look and listen critically at the same time. They need to do both.

Sometimes I'll ask for playback so the director can listen to the take. I do this to save my own butt if I have a problem with the audio. If the director is OK with the audio, then I'm not responsible.

etc., etc., etc.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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Ty Ford
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jun 6, 2019 at 7:13:24 pm
Last Edited By Ty Ford on Jun 6, 2019 at 7:19:15 pm

Wow. the fixture you suggested weighs 24 lbs.

I'm pretty sure that'll overstrain the scissor clamp and residential dropped ceiling in my basement. Given the small real estate there, I'd rather not use a floor stand.

Again, I need a throw of about 10 feet and would like to go from 1' to 5' diameter, soft to crisp, colors, blades ands a gobo holder.

Would these do it?
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1287662-REG/hive_lighting_hivewls1ck...

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1433163-REG/hive_lighting_hive_c_ms4...

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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Todd Terry
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jun 6, 2019 at 7:52:52 pm

No, you're right... you definitely don't want to hang an instrument like that from a scissor clamp.

And I fully understand not wanting to give up the floor real estate.

You could do what I did in my own edit suite, where I hung a big monitor, and also have a drop ceiling (which apparently you do, too). This is a 42' monitor (not gigantic by today's standards, but pretty big), and it is a plasma montior, not one of today's light-as-a-feather LEDs or LCDs... this guy is heavy.

This montitor hangs on a piece of pipe... just steel plumbing pipe, actually... and goes up through the ceiling tile where it is attached to the joists between floors. I couldn't find a commercial "real" hanging system for the monitor, so I hit Home Depot and built this...



You could hang an anvil off of it. Behind the scenes (or rather, above the tile), it looks like this....



It's just plumbing pipe, and a couple of T-connectors. The pipe runs through holes I drilled in the floor joists above, and one of the T-connectors allows for an easy cable pass to the monitor.

So yeah, a Source Four is heavy... but I really don't know another instrument that will give you that kind of punch and that kind of throw from that distance, and be super adjustible and take gobo patterns. It's really exactly what that light was made for. There could be smaller/lighter fixtures out there that will do similar, but I don't know what they are. If you are willing to give up pattern projection and some adjustability almost any one of a zillion different little fresnel instruments would work... but no patterns.

T2

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



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Todd Terry
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jun 6, 2019 at 8:05:55 pm

I was just now able to look at your links.

The Hive lights are decent... the Leko barrel combined with the little Hive "Bee" light would be a decent combo, and not crazy heavy or outrageously expensive. If you went with one of the bigger Hive lights, like the Hornet or the Wasp instrument that you linked to, that might be overkill... both in price and weight.

Leko Barrel + Bee Light = 2.35lbs total, $1300
Leko Barrel + Wasp Light = 6.35lbs total, $1750
Leko Barrel + Hornet Light = 4lbs total, $2200

All three of those combos do the same thing... it just depends on how much output you need... we don't know how bright (or dim) your present setup is.

Again, what is killing you price-wise is pattern projection. If you can give up that, you can find a little fresnel that will do the job for a hundred bucks.

T2

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



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Ty Ford
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jun 6, 2019 at 9:46:21 pm

Todd,

Thanks for the studio shot. A very clean MacGuyver rig. I like it and may use it. (or try)

Hmm, I talked to one of the guys at Barn Door lighting and he suggested a Chauvet fixture.

https://www.filmandvideolighting.com/chauvet-ovation-led-stage-spot-light.h...

It's 20 lbs.







I found the above video and was bothered by the noise of a fan or motor in the background.

Given my small space that just wouldn't work. Do you know if any of the fixtures you're suggesting run a fan?

Thanks,

Ty

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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Todd Terry
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jun 6, 2019 at 10:01:25 pm
Last Edited By Todd Terry on Jun 6, 2019 at 10:03:38 pm

Yeah, you likely don't want fan-cooled instruments in such a small space.

I said "likely," because they aren't always a problem. I have LitePanels Astra instruments which have fans, and you would never know it (not an appropriate fixture for your job, just an example of fans). They are perfectly silent. I also have some Boltzen fresenels that are fanned but silent. Maybe if you pressed your ear to the body you could hear them, but not otherwise... I've never had a mic pick them up at all. Then again I also have some other older instruments where you can clearly hear the fans.

The old-school incandescent Source Fours do not have fans. I can't say with certainty if the newer modern LED versions are fan-cooled or not (I've not had the opportunity to use them). They might, might not... will have to plead ignorance on that. I don't know if the Hives have fans either.

I completely forgot about another instrument that I'll recommend you look at, the Source Four MINI... I completely forgot that it came in a mini version....

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=source%20four%20mini&N=0&InitialS...

That's the way I'd go. It's smaller than anything else, cheaper than anything else, and will do all that you want it to... and weighs only a couple of pounds. Plus the Source Four is the industry standard for exactly the job you are trying to do, especially in a tiny studio space.

T2

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



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Ty Ford
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jun 6, 2019 at 10:17:04 pm

Thanks, Todd.

I'd just need to get a fist full of colored gels, right? and there's a 50 Degree accessory that would probably come in handy.

Ty

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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Todd Terry
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jun 6, 2019 at 10:20:47 pm

Yup. Unless you need to actively change color during a shot, I think a multi-color and DMX-controllable (or app controllable) instrument is probably overkill. Otherwise, gels will work fine.

T2

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



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Mark Suszko
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jun 7, 2019 at 3:15:42 am
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Jun 7, 2019 at 3:17:44 am

Cringe at the suggestion if you like, but, we have bought a couple of multicolor American DJ type LED lights to use as color accents on shoots because you can dial in whatever color and intensity you like, and these were in the $150 range, run cool and quiet, are light weight as well. Come with bard doors, no gel holder, but a smart guy can rig something up... we got them because getting color gels became such a hassle for us... and now it's not an issue. Only problem that came up was, a flicker that we are able to dial-out using variable shutter int he camera, what Sony calls 'clear-scan, from back in the day when you had to adjust shutter to get clean images of CRtT displays. Most better cameras have a variation of the feature.,


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Ty Ford
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jun 7, 2019 at 3:17:58 am

Hi Mark,

Not cringing at all. What make and model?

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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Todd Terry
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jun 7, 2019 at 3:23:49 am

There's nothing cringe-worthy bout that, it's a valid idea.

I will note that barn doors on those kinds of heads are pretty much useless for any actual cutting.

I thought most of those had fans though, Mark... or don't they?

T2

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



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Mark Suszko
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jun 7, 2019 at 3:31:10 am

Not all of them have or need fans, especially the really small ones, If barn doors won't do, there's always black Cinefoil, and bulldog clips, my weapons of choice.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jun 7, 2019 at 3:29:45 am

Well, it was specifically an American DJ brand LED PAR can, you can look that up and find it or something similar under a hundred, heck I bought a baby one for my uke band for 50. They come with DIP switches or menu buttons on them to set the color and brightness as well as effects like strobe to audio picked up by thr light's internal mic, cycle thru colors at different speeds, ramp one color up and down in a loop, imitate lightning flashes or police strobes etc.. a little tedious to do by hand, so we also got a little three-slider external DMX controller for it, cost a other $50, runs an XLR cabe to the light and works like a little dimmer board. if you already have DMX controls then the XLT cable is all you need, plus AC power.






ours didn't have the extra UV light feature, could be cool if you want to get funky with black light paints and chalks.

This Chauvet is similar

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SlimPAR56--chauvet-dj-slimpar-56-rg...


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Mark Suszko
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jun 7, 2019 at 3:40:00 am

The tiny one I bought for uke videos was just over twenty bucks on Amazon, three years back; I looked it up and it was a Rainiers RGBW 10W LED PAR can, but they have replaced that model with one that has a crystal-like diffuser on the front. Anyhow, for twenty bucks, it's almost worth it just for S&G.


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Bill Davis
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jul 13, 2019 at 6:45:34 pm
Last Edited By Bill Davis on Jul 13, 2019 at 6:46:42 pm

Just remember guys,

LED arrays DON'T CUT.

No clean edge from a barn door - just weird venetian blind effects.

EDIT: Just realized how late to this thread I am. Sigh. Too busy. Carry on!


FWIW.

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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Ty Ford
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jul 13, 2019 at 7:16:32 pm

Thanks Mr. Bill,

Here's where I'm headed with a mini leko as an extra piece.
https://bhpho.to/2XHDEKy

Regards,

Ty

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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Todd Terry
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jul 15, 2019 at 7:09:15 pm

That's probably a great instrument (at $2K+ it ought to be).

And if you have money to burn, go for it.

If it were me though (and I'm cheap) for this particular application I'd just hit eBay and buy a little tungsten fresnel for probably less than a hundred bucks.

T2

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



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Mark Suszko
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Jul 13, 2019 at 8:50:52 pm

Well, no clean edge if you don't first add a diffusor to those LED's to make it seem like one bigger point source, anyway. But in a wall-washing application, is it that big a deal?.


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Bob Cole
Re: Looking for a new lighting instrument
on Aug 15, 2019 at 12:14:42 am

Ty, you know I love you and only want the best for you.

Even though you are a nationally-recognized audio engineer and author, who is plenty busy doing audio stuff and don't need to mess with video.

Even though you and I serve the same market.

Even though you are now seeking advice on how to do your own video work.

So, I want to be as helpful as possible to you, because you (truly) have been a Godsend to me, generously answering all of my audio questions, and a few life questions as well.

Here's your solution:


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