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Need advice configuring studio with greenscreen

NormanWillis's picture
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/08/2008 - 5:56am

Hello.

I have been reading as much as I can on greenscreen and techniques, and I watched the tutorials already. I see some other greenscreen threads out there, but I don't want to hijack anyone else's thread, and when I got too far afield on a different thread, I was advised to start a new one.

I am brand new to video editing. I am training up on Vegas Pro 8.1 and Boris RED. I am hoping to get into Adobe CS4 just as soon as I get Vegas and Boris all figured out (OK...so it may be Adobe CS5 or 6 by that time...lol). My goal is to make some lightly composited teaching and training videos for use in our organization. (I just want to composite things in order to make my points more interesting, and to make the illustrations easier to understand).

Camera is a Sony HDR-FX1 recording in HDV (1080i) with a juicedLink CX-431 pre-amplifier (to quiet the onboard Sony pre-amps). Microphone is a DPA-4088B headset connecting to the juicedLink by XLR connector with 12V phantom power. B-roll camera is Sony HDR-HC1 (which will also be used to feed in the tape).

My question here is about configuring my studio. Basically, my bedroom is going to have to double as "the studio." By 're-arranging the furniture' I can get about twelve feet in between theteleprompter and the greenscreen. Ceiling height is about ten feet.I have six Lowel Tota halogen light stands with umbrellas for diffusion. The green screen is a nicefoam screen (www.eefx.com), so it should not give off a lot ofoverspill.

The light bulbs I have on hand are these:

300W EHZ 2900K
500W FCZ 3000K
750W EMD 3200K

I was advised that I should use light bulbs of the same color rating; however, I am not sure if that means 'exactly' the same color rating, or whether it justmeans "don't mix 5200K with 2900K." In other words, are 2900K, 3000K and 3200K 'close enough for all practical purposes'? Or would it be better to pickjust one color (say, 3000K) and then make adjustments/jump through the rest of the hoops accordingly?

My green screen will be about 11-12 feet wide. Height is almost ten feet. My question is about placement of the lights, and myself, relative to the green screen. I read somewhere else that in order to get a clean key, it is best to put more light on the green screen than on you; and I also read that it is bestto stay in front of the lights that light the green screen (although why, I am not so sure). My problem is that the bed limits me to about six feet away from the screen. If I am six feet away from the screen (about halfway in between the camera and green screen) then I can move freely left and right, in order to make my points. If I need to be farther away from the green screen I can still do that, but it will limit my lateral range of motion (i.e., 'cramp my style') somewhat, although not excessively.

If I can freely mix 2900K, 3000K and 3200K, then ideally I would like toplace two 750W 3200K EMD's on the green screen, about four or five feet away from the screen. Then I would like to stand about six feet in front of the screen (so that I can have free range of motion left and right). If I do that, then I can use a 500W FCZ at 3000K for a key light, and perhaps a 300W EHZ at 2900K for a fill light, and then use another 300W EHZ for a back light (or even use two back lights, if I need a second one to kill any green over-spill).

First question: Will the two 750W umbrella lamps that are on the green screen provide enough peripheral lighting to kill any green over-spill from the screen, such that Ionly need one back-light (to make me 'pop')? Or will I need two back lights, in order to kill any green on the shoulders and hair?

Second question: Can I really freely mix 2900K and 3000K (on me), with 3200K (on the green screen)? Or do I need to re-work my setup, so that I only use500W bulbs at 3000K?

Third question: If I have to use only one color of lamp, are the 300W EHZ's at 2900K strong enough? Ido have an air conditioner in my bedroom, but this is the northern tip of California's Central Valley, and the only place that gets hotter in California is Death Valley (it got to118 degrees F in the shade here last summer). If 300W isenough light, then I would really like to go with that; but I also do not want to compromise picture quality in any way. I know that 1080i is not as good as 1080p, butat least for right now, this is what I have.

I am just guessing that 90 percent of our viewswill be on the Internet, but I alsowant to make things available on DVD and eventually Blu-Ray (or whatever they come out with), so audio and picture quality are more importantthan my comfort while filming. However, if picture qualitywould not becompromised by the use of, say, 500Wbulbs at 3000K on the green screen, and 300W bulbs at 2900K on me, that would be great.

Finally, how good is the chroma-keyer in Vegas? And does anyoneknowhow good thechroma-keyer is, in Boris RED? Eventually, when I get to Adobe CS4 (or 5 or 6, lol), I want to makeextensive use of their virtual sets, so I would use their chroma-keyer (is that correct?). I just think I need to learn Vegas as completely as I can, before I start to take on Adobe. I also understand that the keyer in the Matrox RT.X2 is superb, but I just don't have money for Adobe/Matrox just yet.

Any advice, comments or words of wisdom you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much for your help.

Norman


NormanWillis's picture
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/08/2008 - 5:56am

>>Finally, how good is the chroma-keyer in Vegas? And does anyoneknowhow good thechroma-keyer is, in Boris RED? Eventually, when I get to Adobe CS4 (or 5 or 6, lol), I want to makeextensive use of their virtual sets, so I would use their chroma-keyer (is that correct?). I just think I need to learn Vegas as completely as I can, before I start to take on Adobe. I also understand that the keyer in the Matrox RT.X2 is superb, but I just don't have money for Adobe/Matrox just yet.

Actually, it would probably be more accurate to say that I could maybe scrape the money for CS4 and a Matrox together, but it would definitely be scraping, and I think I just need to focus on learning one toolset at a time before I take anything else onto my plate. (My brain is full enough as it is...lol.)

Thank you very much in advance for your help andadvice.

Norman


NormanWillis's picture
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/08/2008 - 5:56am

I guess really I could boil it all down to just one question:

Can I mix 2900K and 3000K bulbs on me, and have 3200K bulbs on the greenscreen?

Or do they all the lamps need to be exactly the same color (e.g., 3000K)?

Norman


NormanWillis's picture
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/08/2008 - 5:56am

Whoa.

OK, since no one is answering my thread, now I am reading some more, and these new people I am reading use even less light on the green screen than on the talent.

I guess I will keep reading.....


CraftersOfLight's picture
Last seen: 6 months 1 week ago
Joined: 02/17/2009 - 5:42am
Plus Member

Norman

Take a look at the Tips and Tricks section of http://www.videomaker.com/vidcast/156/. There are some good episodes on Chroma-key and Green-screen.

Also check out Mark Apsolon on YouTube. He has some very descriptive, well produced videosaround Chroma-key as well.

I like the videos because they demonstrate cause and effect so I am not misinterpriting or get confused about what I am reading.

Life is not a guided tour nor a destination. It is a journey. Take the time to enjoy your family, friends and surroundings. Build memories. Share experiences. Travel at sight speed not light speed. (C)



NormanWillis's picture
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/08/2008 - 5:56am

Since it seems I don't know near as much about green screen as I thought, I Googled "green screen" again, and just started reading again.

From what I read, if I understand it,it looks like what I read earlier may have been wrong.There was this video by Walter Graff:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70SQCLk5e7Q

In his video snippet, he recommends putting less light on the green screen than on the subject.Herecommendedgetting a light meter, and putting about80 candles on the screen; so since he is supposed to be one of the respected names, I ordered a Sekonic light meter, and will try to duplicate that.


Ken
Ken's picture
Last seen: 7 years 10 months ago
Joined: 01/12/2007 - 10:54am

I also read somewhere about having the greenscreen illumination slightly less than that on the actors. One problem with too bright a green screen is that it will illuminate the actors from behind with green light. That can then be seen around the edges of the actors, and that makes it difficult to get a clean chromakey mask. Keeping the greenscreen brightness down helps. Also, using backlights or sidelights on the actors help to "wash out" the green color around the edges of the actors.

Don't worry if the color temperature of lights on the greenscreen are a bit off; they're only to illuminate the greenscreen. I would keep all your key lights the same color temp, but if a backlight doesn't quite match, it's no biggy. The key and fill light should be close to the same color temp, since they're illuminating much the same surfaces.

One more thought.... outdoors in nature, the sun is the key light, and the blue sky provides much of the fill light. So there the fill is a higher color temperature (even though it "feels" cooler than the sun). ;=)

Ken


CraftersOfLight's picture
Last seen: 6 months 1 week ago
Joined: 02/17/2009 - 5:42am
Plus Member

The thing I have noticed in all the research I have done around chroma key is that however you light your screen, it should be a "flat"single color/shade. No shadows or highlights by wrinkles or items between lights and screen. That sets the stage.

Then as you light your subject, they are far enough away and/or light angles are such that no shadows are cast by the talentonto the screen.

Somethingto keep in mind, havetalent's hair and clothing groomed to give a hard edge, or as close to one as possible,toreduce touch-ups in post.

Life is not a guided tour nor a destination. It is a journey. Take the time to enjoy your family, friends and surroundings. Build memories. Share experiences. Travel at sight speed not light speed. (C)


composite1's picture
Last seen: 8 months 2 days ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

Hey all,

Crafters has the line of it. No wrinkes, creases or discolorations because when the light hits them they will create unwanted texture on your background. The features of said texture will all reflect light differently giving you multiple colors of green which you will have to correct for (and may not be able to.)

You also want to light the background evenly to avoid having lighter and darker areas which will be separate colors of green which will have to be corrected for. Your lights should all be the same color temp tungsten or daylight bulbs (3200k, 5000k) preferably all the same kind of bulbs. Be advised, when using inexpensive 'improvised' lighting (flourescents, flood, halogen) the same rules apply and keep in mind though they'll work, they are not calibrated for film and video work and are either under or over the standard color temps of professional bulbs.

Lastly, get your subject far away from the background as possible. This will help separate the talent from the background and avoid 'backshadow' and green spill light falling back onto the subject. You can use key, fill and hair light as needed and if possible should be a color temp close to the scene you wish to recreate (i.e. outdoor scene = daylight bulbs.) The difference in the light color will add to the separation of the talent from the background. Fly-away hair or hair similar to the background color (you'd be surprised how blond highlights can be percieved as 'green' by a keyer) is a killer so keep a brush on hand and some light hair oil (you don't want it to shine, just hold together) for your talent if needed. Also, keep some simple cornstarch powder and disposable soft makeup pads and or cottonballs (don't use the synthetic ones) to lightly tone down shiny spots on skin or shiny apparel (like a hardhat or helmet.) This will help cut down on green spill reflecting off these surfaces and cornstarch is generally not an allergen and wipes/washes off with ease (unless you apply it with 'silent film' thickness!)

When storing or transporting your greenscreen, at best roll it up. If it is too long to fit in a vehicle rolled only, then after rolling fold it as few times as needed to make it fit. Also, keep a travel iron, a soft (non-color bleeding or linty) towel and a small board to use to knock out wrinkles and creases. Don't forget to iron the material while hanging and put the hot iron on the backside of the background in case you get overzealous.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


NormanWillis's picture
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/08/2008 - 5:56am

Hi All.? Great advice all the way around.? Thanks a lot.

Comp, after you gave props to DSE elsewhere, I decided to check out his stuff.??I ordered this video on lighting from VASST (done by Victor Milt), and am completely blown away.

http://www.vasst.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=135&category_id=4&manufacturer_id=1&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=66

Victor Milt talks about there really being 'no rules' for lighting; but that you just have to figure out what you want, and what works.? He also says to light each shot differently, and to change everything up all the time, in order to keep things interesting for the viewer.? I am about halfway through the video, and I?cannot believe how much it has opened my eyes.

I hope to finish watching the rest of the video tonight, but I already think I am going to?pick up some other backgrounds, besides the green screen.? I also need to pick up some reflectors, and reflector stands.? Victor Milt also shows how to make an ultra-low-cost fluorescent lighting kit which he calls a 'nano box', which you can make for?less than a hundred dollars.? He lit the whole thing with it, and?I am just stunned at how good the lighting looks.? (Some of his green screen keys are not clean, but that is a different matter.)??I would never have figured this stuff out on my own.? It is like he packs his forty years of experience onto one DVD.

Crafters and?Comp, I have scraggly hair.? Actually, my hair is OK; it is my beard that is scraggly.? It would take massive amounts of 'slick-em' to make it lay down flat, and stay down; and it would not be me.? ?I am thinking that perhaps instead of focusing just on a green screen,?I might also want to?use some colored or dappled backdrops?? Also, after watching the video, the thought occurs to me that maybe I should also consider?moving outside the bounds of 'the studio' (my bedroom), and consider filming in?other parts of the house?? I dunno: we will have to see about that.

I am pretty much re-thinking everything.? I am definitely going to use less wattage on the screen.? I think I will try just for 300W bulbs.? We will see how many candles that gives me?when the light meter gets here.? The eefx fabric is without wrinkles, and it is supposed to reflect 'relatively' little, and I re-arranged the bedroom yesterday,?to put seven feet in between me and the green screen; but seven feet is still not a whole lot.? I was also planning on wearing clean white shirts, and now I think I might consider some other color, since seven feet is not a lot of room, and white might pick up the green.? How does one deal with that?? Will it help to?wear a darker-colored shirt during green screen shooting?? Or does white do fairly well?? Also, someone said a magenta gel on the backlight cancels or kills green screen 'overspray.'? Does that sound right?? But how will a magenta light look as a backlight, or a rim light?? And how would that look on a clean white shirt?

I am glad I bought that video.? Also, since I am a 'one man show', is there any way to hook up an external reference monitor to a Sony HDR-FX1 (prosumer version of the HVR-Z1U), so I can see what the lighting looks like?? I would just?flip the on-screen monitor around, but it is small, and the teleprompter gets in the way.? Is there some way to hook up an external?Dell 19" monitor, or?a laptop?

Here are some of the specs from the Sony site:

<h3>Inputs and Outputs</h3>

I will try to remember the cornstarch!

Thank you for your help.

Norman


NormanWillis's picture
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/08/2008 - 5:56am

I apologize about all of the weird "A?A" symbols. I cut and pasted something, and it came out funny when I posted it, so I went back in and edited it. Then when I posted again, it had all the "A?A" symbols.

I got the external monitor hooked up. I used the Component Out cable, and plugged in RGB to the back ofour HDTV.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3984239&csid=ITD&body=MAIN#detailspecs

It looks great. I just sort of stood there for about ten minutes, blinking and going "Huh!"

I guess I just assumedI would be working in green screen all the time, because it seems kind of exotic, and because I could. But maybe that is not necessarilywhat I want to do all of the time, and in all circumstances? Maybe I should ask myself if and when it seems appropriate to do green screen work, and when it is appropriate just to havea colored or dappled backdrop, or even a regular set?

I'm still just kind of stunned from looking at the component closed circuit loop.

Norman


composite1's picture
Last seen: 8 months 2 days ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

Norman,

Glad you picked up 'Light it Right' it's a no nonsense look at basic lighting and how to build upon it. I've become one of 'Master Milt's' unofficial disciples as he has been quite helpful with critical reviews of my work. If you get a chance to go to one of his lectures, go.

I've built a Nanolight and have the materials to build a second (just not the time to do it!) The nano works really well (of course I had to tweak it some) and with flourescent lights I can get up to a 900w equivalent softbox. You can make them bigger than the traditional 6 light, but you have to change your construction materials to adjust for the weight.

That 'warm stunned' feeling you got from rigging up your system is compounded when you build one from scratch, it looks good and works as you intended.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


NormanWillis's picture
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/08/2008 - 5:56am

Hi Comp.

>>I've built a Nanolight and have the materials to build a second (just not the time to do it!) The nano works really well (of course I had to tweak it some) and with flourescent lights I can get up to a 900w equivalent softbox. You can make them bigger than the traditional 6 light, but you have to change your construction materials to adjust for the weight.

I've been trying to shop my way out of building a nano, but I may have to break down and build one, because I cannot find a box that has all of the same features.

Steve Kaeser makes some great-ooking Cool Flo lights with three rocker switches as a kind of a 'built-in dimmer', but they do not have any directional fabric (or directional grid), which I think would be critical for a key light.

http://www.skaeser.com/servlet/Categories?category=LIGHTING:COOL-FLO

Alternately, I can get directional grid in a Wescott softbox to retrofit my Tota lamps, but it is a lot of money, and then I would still have a halogen lamp (which is hot), rather than a fluorescent.

So it looks like in order to get both fluorescent and directional grid, I may have to build it. Is six large compact-fluorescents (screw-in-type) enough? And are they really dimmable?

I am thinking I could also build one small one for use as an eye-light.

As for lighting the green screen, how would it be to buildfourvertically-stackable troughtsout of plywood, four-foot-six-inches-long each, and then put a four-foot long fluorescent lamp fixture in each of them (perhaps a standard four-footshop lamp, with the reflector on it), and then brace the boxes so they can be stacked two high, and be pointed at the green screen(for a total of nine vertical feet of light)? I am thinking that if one had such troughs, the light wouldgo straight onto the green screen, and the plywood trough wouldphysically block/gobo the light from getting on the talent.

Also,I read somewhere that people get 4100K lamps (greentint to them), to specifically work with the green of the screen. Does that sound like it would work?

Also, what make and model of fixture do you use for your fill and back/rim/hair lights? Do you use the 'barn door' thing? And what wattage of bulbs?

Norman


CraftersOfLight's picture
Last seen: 6 months 1 week ago
Joined: 02/17/2009 - 5:42am
Plus Member

Norm

With the talk about all these lights and converting a bedroom into your studio, I would like to point out a potential issue. Unless you plan on routing electric from other rooms (need to be careful about this too) you do have a current limit to what you can run in lighting and other electric needs. Most homes have a about half a dozen 20amp circuits or less supporting the whole house. And are wired so that several rooms share the same circuit (is why you need to take care in "borrowing" power from another room). With a 20amp circuit you do not want to run more then about 15ampsfor any great length of time as thiswill wear down a circuit breaker over time. This also allows an intermittant use of electric in that other room(s) on the same circuit.

A quick way to figure roughly what your electric requirementsor availability areuse this formula;

Amps = Watts divided by Volts (house voltage in the US is around 120) soone 800Watt lampneeds (800/120=6.67) about 7 amps, almost half you power allocation.

Or 15 amps X 120 volts is about 1800 watts so you can subtract Light wattage (for each light)from 1800 and stop adding lights when you get near zero.

Life is not a guided tour nor a destination. It is a journey. Take the time to enjoy your family, friends and surroundings. Build memories. Share experiences. Travel at sight speed not light speed. (C)


NormanWillis's picture
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/08/2008 - 5:56am

>>Norm

With the talk about all these lights and converting a bedroom into your studio, I would like to point out a potential issue. Unless you plan on routing electric from other rooms (need to be careful about this too) you do have a current limit to what you can run in lighting and other electric needs. Most homes have a about half a dozen 20amp circuits or less supporting the whole house. And are wired so that several rooms share the same circuit (is why you need to take care in "borrowing" power from another room). With a 20amp circuit you do not want to run more then about 15ampsfor any great length of time as thiswill wear down a circuit breaker over time. This also allows an intermittant use of electric in that other room(s) on the same circuit.

A quick way to figure roughly what your electric requirementsor availability areuse this formula;

Amps = Watts divided by Volts (house voltage in the US is around 120) soone 800Watt lampneeds (800/120=6.67) about 7 amps, almost half you power allocation.

Or 15 amps X 120 volts is about 1800 watts so you can subtract Light wattage (for each light)from 1800 and stop adding lights when you get near zero.

Hi Crafters.

So basically, unless I want to pay a lot of money to upgrade my electrical circuitry, I need to go fluorescent?

I guess I will have to do that. So that rules out getting soft boxes for the Tota heads.

Thank you for the tip.

Norman


NormanWillis's picture
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/08/2008 - 5:56am

Thank you for that formula. I will try to bear it in mind while designing the studio, so as not to exceed 15 amps continuous.

I appreciate your help.

Norman


composite1's picture
Last seen: 8 months 2 days ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

Norman,

The nanolight would suit your setup well because you would be using quite well. One on each side of your screen with up to 100w equivalent flourescent standard (not daylight) bulbs would be more than enough light for your small room. Just keep in mind the nano's as described in the DVD use 60w (actual) sockets so your flourescent bulb's actual wattage cannot exceed that. The good news is a 60w flourescent = 13w, 100w flourescent 24w, 150w = 40w and a 200w = 65w. Remember these are 'equivalents' not 1-1 wattage ratios. The wattage equivalent is the amount of light put out is equivalent to a traditional tungsten bulb meaning it puts out nearly as much light as its equivalent bulb. Also, flourescent bulbs color temps are short a few degrees kelvin than a traditional tungsten or video/film specific bulb. The diff is around 500 - 1000 degrees kelvin less color temp. However, long as you do a good white balance an expose properly few if any will be able to tell the difference between whether you used a pro bulb or one you got from wal-mart. Be careful of consumer bulbs marked 'Daylight'. They have an extra 'blue' tint to them that can be seen with the naked eye. They are a 'poorman's' substitute for pro daylight bulbs and the rules of white balance and exposure apply. They would mainly be used to simulate daylight, though you may need a correcting filter or spend some extra time in post to make them match up with a scene shot outdoors. Do not mix them with standard flourescent bulbs! You will be sorry. 60w equivalent bulbs are okay in a nano as a keylight but you'll need to open up more. I like using 100w's which is more like a 600w softbox which is just fine for a keylight.

If you decide to make your nano, I strongly suggest adding an on/off or dimmer switch. Though they build up a fraction of the heat traditional bulbs do, they still get warm. Add the enclosed space within the built-in softbox and your foamcore doors will start to sag when you use 100w or 150w equivalent bulbs. Do not use 200w equivalent bulbs in a nano! At 65w actual they exceed the max wattage of the sockets, you can't fit 6 bulbs in the unit (4 only) so the max you could have would be an 800w softbox, they're heavy and they generate a lot of heat which will compromise the unit (and probably set it on fire.) Having the on/off switch will allow you to turn off the unit without having to unplug.

Your subject can be lit by a third nano or traditional lighting with no prob.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


NormanWillis's picture
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/08/2008 - 5:56am

Comp,

>>If you decide to make your nano, I strongly suggest adding an on/off or dimmer switch.

I have been scouring the market, and cannot find anything ready-made that has exactly the qualities I need. They make softboxes with egg crate for halogen, but not for fluorescent. None of the fluorescents I have seen have egg crate, except for the Kino Flo, which is way outside my price range. However, I have a handyman friend who might be willing to make me a nano (and some vertical-standing green screen light soffit boxes) for not too much money.

I was checking out Edison-base (screw-in) dimmable compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs for the nano.Apparently they come inthe 2700K and 5100K flavors (as well as a few others). I think I would probably go with 150w = 40w bulbs. Are the bulbs that they have at Wal-Mart dimmable? Or do I have to special order off of the Internet?

I think my main concern is about the integrity of the foam core, and also about the stand. I wrote Vic, andhe recommended thefollowing stand:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=cart_accessories&A=details&Q=&sku=513014&is=REG

How much weight can a good tripod handle? And how would itwork to use some thin (3/16ths") plywood instead of the foam core,as backing? Or how would it work to use some thin (3/16ths") plywood on the outsides of the foam core?

Norman


NormanWillis's picture
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/08/2008 - 5:56am

Hi Comp.

>>If you decide to make your nano, I strongly suggest adding an on/off or dimmer switch.

Is it advisable to add both, in line from each other? Or is that not advisable?

That way, if you want to turn the lights off, and the dimmer is set to a certain level, then you can turn it off without messing up your dimmer.

Norman


NormanWillis's picture
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/08/2008 - 5:56am

Hey Comp.

What size do you think is ideal for a nano?

Steve Kaeser sells a six light Cool Flo for $179.00. It is not dimmable, and it is only 32" x 32".

http://www.skaeser.com/servlet/the-659/900-WATT-COOL-dsh-FLO-SOFTBOX/Detail

Then to get egg crate, you have to modify some Photoflex egg crate, to cut it down to 32" x 32", and then swe in the velcro.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=cart_accessories&A=details&Q=&sku=145113&is=REG

I found the place that makes the egg crate, and they are making me a custom bid for a 32" x 32", but I have not heard back from them yet.

http://www.lighttools.com/

If I could get the whole thing for $250.00 and be done with it, would 32"x32" be a good size? Or would a 36"x 48" nano be better?

The Steve Kaeser modelwould not be dimmable per se, but it wouldbe adjustable, because you have three bank switches in the back,and you can either switch banks on or off, and/or you can also unscrew a bulb, and even swap bulb sizes. Plus it would be collapsible, in case you ever wanted to take it somewhere.

May I please ask your opinion?

Thank you,

Norman


CraftersOfLight's picture
Last seen: 6 months 1 week ago
Joined: 02/17/2009 - 5:42am
Plus Member

"So basically, unless I want to pay a lot of money to upgrade my electrical circuitry, I need to go fluorescent?"

you could find out which breaker(s) shut off you studio by running a radio in the room and flip breakers one at a time until the radio goes quiet. Leave that breaker off and find another working outlet in a nearby room (check the other outlets in your studio as well). Run an extension cord from that outlet to your studio (I would unplug this cord when not in use). That would give you a second line to work with (don't forget to turn the studio breaker back on at the box).

Life is not a guided tour nor a destination. It is a journey. Take the time to enjoy your family, friends and surroundings. Build memories. Share experiences. Travel at sight speed not light speed. (C)


NormanWillis's picture
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/08/2008 - 5:56am

>>you could find out which breaker(s) shut off you studio by running a radio in the room and flip breakers one at a time until the radio goes quiet. Leave that breaker off and find another working outlet in a nearby room (check the other outlets in your studio as well). Run an extension cord from that outlet to your studio (I would unplug this cord when not in use). That would give you a second line to work with (don't forget to turn the studio breaker back on at the box).

Nice. Practical.

Thanks.

Norman


composite1's picture
Last seen: 8 months 2 days ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

Norman,

The eggcrate is an interesting option. Concerning the size of the nano, the standard size demo'd in the DVD works just fine for me. Depending on the bulbs I use it puts out a substantial amount of light and is quite portable. Your space you described will be well served by 1 or 2 nanos depending on what bulbs you use. I paid less than $70 on my initial build of a nano (I did spend a little more as I tweaked the design.) You are not going to find a comparable and versatile softbox for that kind of money. If you aren't confident in your manufacturing skills then you'll be better off buying a light kit with a softbox(es) included.

Here's an inexpensive ready built option:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/465550-REG/Impact_FL_2K_Fluorescent_Two_Flood_Light.html

You'll be able to use vellum sheets as diffusion material. Vellum is tough (I use it over halogen bulbs and they have yet to scorch), you can get it in various colors and you can use it with your other lights.

Concerning the nano should you decide to build I didn't run across any bulbs that stated they were 'dimmable'. 3ways yes, but no dimmable. I used a straight on off switch similar to what you find on prebuilt light kits. That's worked out quite well. If you are setting up a serious studio where clients will be coming on set you want your gear to look as pro as you can. Since you're working out of your bedroom, use what will do a good job as inexpensively and safely as possible.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


NormanWillis's picture
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/08/2008 - 5:56am

Hi Comp.

>>If you are setting up a serious studio where clients will be coming on set you want your gear to look as pro as you can.

I agree. That is one reason I am trying to hard to find a pre-manufactured light with egg crate.

At the moment (i.e., at the start), I expect it will be just me. However, I have never been able to predict the future with any degree of certainty. I expect I might end up doing some guest interviews as time goes on. Hopefully the studio will not always be in my bedroom...but for right now, I have to begin where I am. But if possible, I want to get a light that will look pro.

Norman


NormanWillis's picture
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/08/2008 - 5:56am

>>The eggcrate is an interesting option.

>>If you aren't confident in your manufacturing skills then you'll be better off buying a light kit with a softbox(es) included.

To be honest, it is not that I do not have tools, or know how to use them. It is just that I find that it pays to task anything out that can reasonably be tasked out. (i.e., in "make or buy", I generally choose buy, unless what I want cannot be readily found, or adapted).

I learned a ton by surfing for purchase. One of the things I learned is how good the Kino Flo's and the Chimera's are, and all the nifty features that they have ready-made...and how much they cost. If I had the $$ I would jump for that...but I don't. But I also learned a ton about what is available out there, and what kinds of features I want build into my nano and green screen soffits, by spending some time to surf what is out there.

One of the things I realized is that these lights are really highly specialized tools, much like a painter's brushes, or specialized wrenches. You might be able to hunt everything with a .30-.30, and lots of guys do, but some situations are better served by a .22LR, a .223, a .257 or a 7mm Magnum.

When I went to the Light Tools website, the guy gave me four or five options about what kind of egg crate I wanted; i.e., how tight or how loose I wanted the diffusion pattern to be (20 degrees off direct, 40 degrees off direct, etceteras). It occurs to me that these egg crate deals are really like specialty brushes, allowing one to paint specialty this, or specialty that. I do not know how much he is going to want for the egg crate, but if the cost is reasonable, it might be worthwhile to pick up a slightly widerdiffusion pattern as well, just to get the mostflexibility out of thelight. (And that way one could have a tight/directional grid, and then have a less directional grid, and/or one could also remove the grid).

I would appreciate hearing your input.

Norman


NormanWillis's picture
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/08/2008 - 5:56am

Hi Comp.

How much does the foam core weigh?

My concern is, if the foam core will melt if one gets it too hot, then will it work to build the nano light out of 1/4" plywood, instead?

And will a good quality tripod hold the weight of the nano if it is made out of 1/4" ply, if it has a good counter-balance weight? Or would think plywood just be too heavy?

Thank you,

Norman


NormanWillis's picture
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/08/2008 - 5:56am

Hi Comp.

Here is my letter to Victor Milt (lower case) and his response (IN ALL CAPS)

<span style="font-size: medium;">If Foam Core is not resistant to heat, is thin (1/4") plywood an option?</span>

<span style="font-size: medium;">HEAT IS NOT AN ISSUE WITH THE CFL LAMPS. THEY BURN WARM TO THE TOUCH BUT NOT HOT.</span>

<span style="font-size: medium;">Or would that just be too heavy?</span>

<span style="font-size: medium;">ABSOLUTELY TOO HEAVY - FIND FOAM CORE 3/16" FOR DOORS AND 1/2" FOR BACK. IF YOU FOLLOW THE VIDEO INSTRUCTIONS, IT WILL TAKE YOU ABOUT 3 HOURS TO DO YOUR FIRST LAMP. I HAVE USED THE FIRST LAMP WE BUILT NOW FOR FIVE YEARS. IT'S STILL "GOOD TO GO" ALTHOUGH I'VE PATCHED THE TAPE BINDINGS ONCE OR TWICE AND HAD TO REPLACE THE PLASTIC 'EGG CRATE' ON THE FRONT. </span>

<span style="font-size: medium;">AN INCREDIBLE INVESTMENT - TOTALLY WORTH THE TIME TO BUILD.</span>

<span style="font-size: medium;">DON'T RUSH - DO IT RIGHT AND YOU WILL NEVER REGRET IT.</span>

<span style="font-size: medium;">I USE IT FOR EVERYTHING!</span>

<span style="font-size: medium;">AND EVEN CLIENTS DON'T NOTICE THAT IT'S ALL FOAM CORE AND GAFFER TAPE - THE LIGHT IT GIVES IS MAGNIFICENT - DON'T FORGET THE ENTIRE MOVIE "LIGHT IT RIGHT" WAS SHOT WITH THE NANOLIGHT. IN FACT THE BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS WERE AN AFTERTHOUGHT SINCE THE LIGHT ITSELF WAS SO FINE.</span>

<span style="font-size: medium;">ENJOY.</span>