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Lighting Help


Dustin
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While being stuck in the house like everyone else, I thought I’d try my hand at a simple interview/talking head lighting setup. Most of the stuff I shoot is run and gun with minimal lighting. I was also inspired by film riot’s recent diy cinematic lighting video. I own an aputure 528s and 198c lights. I was quickly uninspired with the results. I had a cheap diffuser box I had picked up years back but while that helped it didn’t soften the light enough. I then took to DIY adding 2 white t shirts. This helped greatly to soften the light but then killed most of the power. Even when adjusting my framing and bringing the diffused light closer to my face, it still didn’t look quite right. I tried bouncing it off the wall at full power to the left of the test subjects (my wife) face but that gave it more of a nice living room feel not soft, cinematic look. I don’t have any video footage to show but basically I couldn’t seem to find a combination of softening and diffusion to get an acceptable soft light. Is it my gear or is it me? Is the 528s known to be harsh even with diffusion? Do I need a giant light dome style softbox? With all the lighting products that have come out I’m wondering if maybe I need to invest in some better lighting. I know I need better grip.

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Dude post up some pics if you can’t show video!

If you’re just messing around, you could try killing any stray light and boosting your exposure essentially boosting the brightness of your lights?
 

If you want I’ve also found nofilmschool, the premiumbeat blog, and newsshooter as pretty good resources. Mayne search there for lighting tips too?

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No need to invest in better gear, it's simply a matter of knowing how to use it properly.

2 hours ago, Dustin said:

I then took to DIY adding 2 white t shirts.

That's a great idea.
T-shirts may be a bit too dense and thick, that's why you lost so much power.

A translucent shower curtain is a way better solution.

image.thumb.png.1b79f1bb56c49a814caceca0ab13c76d.png

Not only it's bigger (bigger diffusion → softer source), but also lets through more light. You can get it for a couple of dollars.

 

2 hours ago, Dustin said:

I tried bouncing it off the wall at full power to the left of the test subjects (my wife) face but that gave it more of a nice living room feel not soft, cinematic look.

Another good recommendation.
Bouncing LEDs off a big surface greatly improves softness of lighting, but it's crucial to control the spill.

 

Providing some videos, photos or at least a diagram of your lighting setup would help us help you, since right now we can only imagine what you did.

 

I really recommend taking a look at some Behind The Shoots, etc.
For example:

https://www.instagram.com/p/B7oFetnA_qZ/

https://www.instagram.com/p/BxWHJhVH8SO/

https://www.instagram.com/p/Be2weUMAFkV/

 

It's nothing groundbreaking, just the things I was talking about - diffusing a LED panel with some shower curtain, placing some white bounce to wrap the light around the subject, putting some flags to kill the spill, and, finally, black curtains on surfaces which could reflect the light.

Gear isn't the deciding factor. Owning Aputure 300D wouldn't help you, at all.

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Thanks all! Figured I just need more practice. I will keep tweaking and maybe post a clip. Further analysis of the clips from last nights exercise actually weren’t that bad. Sometimes judging results of the small Sony a6500 screen isn’t the best...

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Another possibility... you could use a softbox and grid on your light panel to soften and control the light, then have it push through a second diffuser frame/panel etc. The grid will help combat the spill. I bought this frame for around £35 on amazon a few years back. Unbleached muslin on top of the standard diffusion.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Light-Reflector-5in1-Flag-Panel-80x100cm-Photography-Multi-Studio-Frame-Diffuser/372671319007?hash=item56c4f10bdf:g:tgAAAOSwkLtc3WAS

IMG_20191122_183258.thumb.jpg.636d8b0f55be8986975a693a4c8e9a3e.jpgIMG_20191122_193325.thumb.jpg.15b0dfd81616c2063a6fb6774b626a46.jpg

quick and dirty test with the setup :)

1080019509_TEST_1.1.1.thumb.jpg.1bdc79236f07a20e1e51f35e0bad230b.jpg

 

Best of luck mate :)

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42 minutes ago, AlexTrinder96 said:

Another possibility... you could use a softbox and grid on your light panel to soften and control the light, then have it push through a second diffuser frame/panel etc. The grid will help combat the spill. I bought this frame for around £35 on amazon a few years back. Unbleached muslin on top of the standard diffusion.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Light-Reflector-5in1-Flag-Panel-80x100cm-Photography-Multi-Studio-Frame-Diffuser/372671319007?hash=item56c4f10bdf:g:tgAAAOSwkLtc3WAS

IMG_20191122_183258.thumb.jpg.636d8b0f55be8986975a693a4c8e9a3e.jpgIMG_20191122_193325.thumb.jpg.15b0dfd81616c2063a6fb6774b626a46.jpg

quick and dirty test with the setup :)

1080019509_TEST_1.1.1.thumb.jpg.1bdc79236f07a20e1e51f35e0bad230b.jpg

 

Best of luck mate :)

Thanks man! I’ve given it a second thought- I have a spare shower curtain and a mic stand I could drape that over and try shooting the 528 through that setup. 
 

Thankful for this communities quick encouragement!

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The problem with using a shower curtain or ripstop nylon as a shoot through material is that a lot of the light is lost, since it bounces off the diffusion material and back toward the lens.

The benefit of a soft box is that some of that light that bounces off the diffusion material is then "reclaimed" by the white (or silver) lining of the softbox. With most softboxes, I think you would get around one-stop more light than if you used a simple diffusion fabric hanging from a mic stand in front of the light panel. (It has been a while since I tested this out with my old photoflex soft box (RIP), and some of my nylon diffusing material, so I don't want to swear by how much more powerful a softbox actually is.)

Paul C. Buff claims their reflective soft silver Parabolic Light Modifiers (PLMs) provide four times the light output of softboxes. But that was with strobes / flashguns, which are going to block a lot less light than light panels  when light is bounced off them. However, their soft silver PLM's are a bit specular and shadow contrast is higher than a typical softbox / octabox.

One can use the white cover with the soft silver plm to make it less specular and lower contrast, but that cuts down the efficiency of the light. 

https://www.paulcbuff.com/Light-Modifiers/PLM-Umbrellas/86-Soft-Silver-PLM-Umbrella.html

I haven't used the soft silver PLM yet, but am thinking of getting one... either that or go with a godox or other light similar to aputure 120D and go with a softbox.

 

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10 hours ago, Levi said:

If you want I’ve also found nofilmschool, the premiumbeat blog, and newsshooter as pretty good resources. Mayne search there for lighting tips too?

NoFilmSchool had descended into trash in recent years, nothing like the early years when it was one of my favorites. 
PremiumBeat Blog is "ok".
Newwshooter and Redshark News are two of my news sites I check out the most! (and here, of course, and some sound & economics sites too)

But for learning lighting, I reckon YouTube has some of the best content (just a couple of videos from each, dig deeper with each channel, so much more content there!):

Luke Seerveld

CookeOpticsTV

 

Cinematography Database Fan

 


Indy Mogul


Gaffer & Gear

 

Tom Antos

Aputure

CineSummit

KINETEK

Hurlbut Academy

Andyax 

Grip Tips

Hillbillygriptruck (a fellow Kiwi!)

Media Division

 

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On 4/5/2020 at 1:06 PM, Benjamin Hilton said:

Shane Hurlbut ASC is giving away his illumination experience for free right now, his stuff is like gold in the area of lighting, should answer a lot of your questions:

https://www.hurlbutacademy.com/illumination-experience-workshop/?mc_cid=cc66b59990&mc_eid=d730f5a46a

Thank you for sharing this! My god it’s like a visual textbook reference. Really superb

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