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At weddings -- Camera lights or not??

Michael White's picture
Last seen: 5 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 04/09/2011 - 4:58pm

 I've only done a few weddings so far, and after every shoot, I ask the folks if they thought camera lights (during the dark scenes) would be distractive....   and they have all said they would rather have the lights to get a good video than no lights. What is the opinion of other wedding videographers -- camera lights on or off??


doublehamm's picture
Last seen: 1 year 3 weeks ago
Joined: 11/29/2009 - 5:52pm

I always ask, and I always am told to go ahead. BUT asking is better
than "pissing" them off if you don't know. I have the SWAT set from
flo-lights and a couple others that go on for at least the spotlight
dances (and sometimes needed for toasts). Then I use a single camera light once the dance starts to get the rest of that footage.


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 5 months 5 days ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

I ALMOST ALWAYS ASL but also have them attached and ready to use in emergencies. Regardless of what people in or out of the industry say, what manufacturers claim or otherwise, VIDEO IS LIGHT, LIGHT IS VIDEO, and you will NOT get the same quality color and image results in poorly lighted venues without some kind of lighting, used appropriately. THAT BEING SAID ...

... another thing I do is turn on the light with it and the camera facing the floor or ceiling, THEN when the people I throw it on notice it's coming I bring it into play. I use toughspun in front of the light if it needs, or use a dispersal filter if such a thing is available for the model lights I happen to be using. I DON'T use Kleigs or some other Super Nova lamp system ;-(

I also use small, LED units with disposable batteries to place inconspicuously around the head table, etc. that are rather unobtrusive and yield just enough glow that I get good results, same thing for audio backup, using my arsenal of Zoom H2 standalone recorders for sound.

I HAVE set up and used 1,800 watts worth of NRG studio lighting around the dance floor. Reaction is a mixed bag, but if I have hassles it's usually from the DJ who complains that My lights are having an adverse effect on HIS light show ... most of them are compliant enough that a compromise is possible, say for the main dances, but not after the party dancing starts.

Until there's an affordable camera that tests out to produce the SAME image quality, clarity and coloration with or without available or added lighting, I will bring and use them when they are necessary to produce a quality production. I HAVE had clients tell me NO LIGHTS and I add a line to the production agreement so stating, warning of the loss of quality, emphatically stating that NO CAMERA on the market can match one that USES lighting properly, and they sign off on any resulting liability due to perceived lack of quality based on their demand to NOT use any lighting at all.

Their call.


Michael White's picture
Last seen: 5 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 04/09/2011 - 4:58pm

Wow, great responses (and so quickly). I've done lots of corporate videos where lighting is a given... and now that I've jumped on the wedding wagon, I will need to (quickly) learn the secrets of good videos in dim lighting. I can't see dragging in lots of lights to accomidate every scenerio, but having good lighting on the camera seems like a "must have". For weddings, I use 3 cameras and that would give me 3 light set-ups. I'm hoping that would be sufficient (sounds like it should work fine). Thanks guys.


vid-e-o-man's picture
Last seen: 6 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 02/06/2010 - 4:20am
Plus Member

If all else fails,I have had some success, with the brides OK, getting some of the house lights back on for a short time: duringspecial dances, bouquet toss, garter, etc. This, I think, will help the photographerfocus. At least thats what I suggest.


Michael White's picture
Last seen: 5 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 04/09/2011 - 4:58pm

Good points vid-e-o-man. At my last wedding shoot, moments before the "grandparents" dance, the DJ shut down all the lights except the "mirror ball" and I didn't have my camera lights handy... ruined the whole dance. Live-and-learn.


Shaun's picture
Last seen: 3 months 1 day ago
Joined: 01/04/2011 - 2:40pm

I prefer not to use video light during a wedding but will always choose to do so if the light is poor. The LED light on the top of my camera is adjustable and so I don't have to make everyone look like frightened rabbits!! You also get much better colours in the final wedding video and the wedding photographer often appreciates the extra light. So I would always advise to use when needed.

My LED light goes on top of my camera from the beginning of the day - I am never without it just in case I end up in a situation with bad light. The thing with weddings is that you are dealing with constantly changing levels of light as you move through various rooms and locations over the day. So I would never be without it!!

Beautiful Life Film and Photography
Creative Wedding Video and Wedding Photography
Website: www.beautifullifeuk.com


Silvis's picture
Last seen: 8 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 01/30/2012 - 5:29pm

I hardly use lights as I believe they are intrusive to the wedding and theatmosphereis changed. Tocompensate the lack of light I use fast lenses such as 1.8 F or a DSLR with good low lightcapabilitysuch Canon 5D MK2 or Sony NEX5N.

Have a look of some of my wedding video samples.


faqvideo's picture
Last seen: 1 year 10 hours ago
Joined: 03/28/2006 - 4:09pm

I liked your sample video, Silvis. Was it done with Canon? If yes, what lenses did you use in that video?

As for the using lights, I never use lights during the Ceremony, and rather increase GAIN (same as ISO, I dare to say) on my camera. But I always set at least one, or more often two Lowell Pro 250 W lights, both diffused, remotely controlled at the reception.

Before the reception I set the lights in such a way that they lit the head table and the podium. Remote power allows for awkward placements, in far corners, behind the guest tables, etc. Key-chain type power controller from RadioShack in my pocket allows me to switch the lights on and off from anywhere in the room.

When the time comes close to the formal dances, I may move my lights close to the dance floor. It may take some cooperation from, or cause some inconvenience to the guests. Be super nice.

And I also use my camera light, it's usually 20 W halogen light balanced to 3200K.


videoworksjh's picture
Last seen: 1 month 2 weeks ago
Joined: 11/05/2010 - 10:40am
Plus Member

There's an old saying, lights, camera, action.  You will notice lights come first.  I explained it this way to the bride.  We can video.  This event.  For the moment or for the memory.  The moment includes lowlight and bad video quality.  The memory includes lights extra audio recorders and good quality video and audio.  You can have your cake and eat it too.  I also have invested in a new Sony A ?? 65 camera with some fast wide-angle lenses.  The jury's still out on this.  Good luck


Joshua Strazewski's picture
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 05/12/2011 - 9:49pm

 I was shut down on extra lighting by the church for the wedding I just shot.  No camera lights, no flash, not even the red record light could be showing.  I warned the couple and they were still happy with the end result.  Even though the static cams were pretty darn dark.


doublehamm's picture
Last seen: 1 year 3 weeks ago
Joined: 11/29/2009 - 5:52pm

It will be rare for you to find a church that allows any 3rd party lighting. In fact, I have never seen one. You can only do what you can do. Now the red recording light? That is pretty strict and almost laughable... A little gaffers tape can fix that though!



aikidoka's picture
Last seen: 12 months 1 day ago
Joined: 04/05/2012 - 9:25pm

"It will be rare for you to find a church that allows any 3rd party lighting..."

On the contrary, we've filmed over 60 weddings and only one church would not allow lighting. Maybe its more geographical. When we use to shoot with camcorders we use to haul 2 x 1000 watt lighting kit on 12 ft stands. Not a single priest,pastor or minister complained about it.

As for the original post...why make it hard on yourself during post? Why not light it when you know you need it...we shoot DSLR with really fast lenses andalthough we technically really don't need to use lights we still do since the quality is a lot better.

Cheers!


dellwovideo's picture
Last seen: 4 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 05/20/2011 - 6:35pm

I try to avoid lights at weddings whenever possible. However... rules are made to be broken.

For ceremonies, definitely ask the client first. And be honest with them. Explain thatthe less the light, the worse the video. Let them decide. Check out the venue if you've never been there. You may be able to get them to work with you on their spots for the dais since most facilities have special lighting for the podium area. If you add your own lights, make sure you aren't casting harsh shadows.

For receptions, I try to avoid lights, or use as little light as possible. But again, check with your client. They may say go ahead, blind grandma for good video. The viewer will thank you later. :-)

Something as simple as an LED panel with a dimmer may give you a couple of extra stops of light and make the different between usable or unusable video. My panel has sunlight temperature as its default and an amber filter for 3200k. Inside lighting, especially low light, is generally in the 3200k range.

Finally, there's the asthetic to consider. Do you mind that spotlight look in your video? Just like with the ceremony, ask to see if you can bring up the house lights a nitch or two at the reception.

I find communication, pre-planning an preperation are the keys to being able to get the best litvideo at a wedding.


D0n
D0n's picture
Last seen: 3 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 5:28pm

here is my one little contribution to this debate... assuming you get the "go ahead" to add lights... you now got other issues... cables and lightstands. I prefer to think of lightstands as "idiot magnets"... if there is an idiot in the room, and there is always at least one.. they will be irresistibly drawn towards it and will walk into it... no matter what signage/barriers/police crime scene tape you use to mark it off..

so liability issues arise...

I simply took two white torchiere styled halogen floor lamps, bolted them into heavy clay pots painted white, wired woven wicker baskets to them and I set them up before the rehearsal (roll out matts over the cords) set the light level I need and then tell the couple to place flowers in the baskets... one on each side of the ceremony... then the lighting becomes part of the decor, and when the house lights go down, I still got my minimum light levels needed...