Please Help fast with 3 point lighting

  • This topic has 5 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 15 years ago by AvatarAnonymous.
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    • #42407
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Hey guys, I am doing some video interviews in people’s offices and want to set up 3 point lighting…. but I don’t want to spend a ton.

      What do you suggest? What wattage will I need, etc….

      Mark

    • #178247
      AvatarSFChuck
      Participant

      Some of the pro light kits available at B&H, etc., use 150 watt PAR38 flood bulbs. They are available for about $8.00 each from most hardware stores. Three of them will get you an inexpensive but perfectly adequate 3-point light kit. Install them in heavy duty ceramic sockets…about $12.00 each with spring clamps.

      DON’T TRY TO CUT CORNERS BY USING PLASTIC SOCKETS. They don’t have either the current capacity or the heat resistance necessary for PAR38s. For that reason, they could spontaneously catch fire or fall apart.

      You won’t have any dimmers with this simple setup but you can change the lighting ratios by altering the placements. Reducing the distance between the light and the subject by 30 percent (from 10 feet to 7 feet, for example) will increase the illumination by 1 full f-stop. Increasing the distance by 40 percent (from 10 feet to 14 feet) will decrease the illumination by one stop.

    • #178248
      AvatarTomScratch
      Participant

      Are you trying to turn the office environments of your subjects into looking like studios? They may be more interesting if they look like offices!
      You need great appropriate lighting. This isn’t necessarily 3 point. (However, if shooting Hi Def or other low lux cam, you do need to turn up the lights and 3 point is a good starter.)
      If you are shooting CEO types, they usually have very well lit offices to begin with, including often the best source: Windows. Windows plus a reflector or two and one supplementary medium wattage light can do wonders. (Applies not just to CEOs.)
      Bring your 3 point kit (lights, supports, cables, duct tape…), but be prepared to jettison some or all in lieu of the existing environment.
      Last year I watched a special feature included in the DVD re-release of Fellini’s Eight and One-Half, made in the 60’s. In a behind the scenes documentary, Fellini’s cinematographer was an amazing professor on the subject of camera work and lighting. He talked about the invention and evolution of 3 point lighting and his view that it had become a tyranny. An interesting perspective!
      REGARDS … TOM 8)

    • #178249
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Thanks Tom, the reflector will certainly come in handy with windows…. if they are positioned correctly in the room.

      Do you have a recommendation on a reasonably priced light kit?

    • #178250
      AvatarTomScratch
      Participant

      SF Chuck, above, offered a good alternative to the pricy (and excellent) kits out there. I recently stumbled on a Markertek hard copy catalog with some interesting kit selections. Their printed catalog is a great read; they principally serve the pro market, like TV stations, network broadcast facilities, filmmaking companies, and the like. Unfortunately, their web site in my estimation is like finding your way on Mars compared to B&H which is easy to navigate.
      When you go to those offices for the interviews, keep in mind that you can move stuff around and position your subject pretty much where you want for the best dramatic and visual impact. Tables and chairs can be moved, but should be moved back when you are done. Behind the desk is often not a very good solution. Immediately when you enter the office, canvass the room and mentally decide on one or two best setups. Be decisive, signalling that you know what you are doing. Your subject will want to look good on video and will respect your artistic judgment. (Also, be aware of noise sources, like air conditioning vents, that may be a factor in your audio setup.) Good to ask your subject for suggestions on the setup as he/she may have the experience of other interview crews passing through or may have preferences based on whatever. But it’s your interview and your shooting style, so you have a lot of clout on this.
      REGARDS … TOM 8)

    • #178251
      AvatarSFChuck
      Participant

      In fact, I just assembled a two-light set for myself in about 20 minutes for a total cost of about $42.00, including the bulbs.

      Mine are a little more involved…I used small, fully-enclosed 2X4" handy boxes. I knocked out holes for the lamp holders and grounded power cords, mounted outdoor lamp holders specifically designed for PAR38 bulbs, installed power cord clamps, installed 3-wire cords and (VERY IMPORTANT) grounded each assembly by attaching the ground wires to the lugs on the lamp holders.

      I mounted 5/8" brass mounting studs on the bottoms of the handy boxes and placed the lights on a couple medium-duty light stands with swivels. (This was stuff left over from my still photography days.)

      Now I have two fully adjustable lights that can be raised to a height of 9 feet each. The best part is that the light my units put out is just as good, just as bright and the same color temperature as the $500-1000 kits sold in the pro stores.

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