Have lights, subject complains they’re too bright!

Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews Forums Technique Miscellaneous Techniques Have lights, subject complains they’re too bright!

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    • #71115
      Avatarvideodx
      Participant

      I have this light kit:

      http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005NJIWYY/ref=pe_175190_21431760_M2T1_ST1_dp_1

      If you're considering, be sure to get better stands as the stands that they come with are no good.

      I'm only using 2 of the 3 softboxes.  Shooting in a pretty small room, maybe 12×13. I put the two stands as high as they will go and aim the softboxes down at the subject, 4 of the 5 lights in each softbox on. The subject complains that the lights are too bright.  Anything I can do about that? Thanks for any input…

  • #209063
    Avatarrs170a
    Participant

    Why are you using two softboxes? I've done hundreds of intervierws with a softbox and only use one as a key light. Other lights (Lowel tota) are used for back and fill lights.

     

    Mike

  • #209066
    Avatarvideodx
    Participant

    This isn't an interview type of video, I don't want to have shadows, should be more like a newscast, full even lighting, but without blinding the guy =)

  • #209076
    Avatarrs170a
    Participant

    Understood. I'll still repeat my original question which is why do you need two soft boxes, especially in such a small space?

     

    Mike

  • #209079
    Avatarvideodx
    Participant

    well if I only use one then it's not enough light, picture looks dark, unless I"m doing something wrong? they always say the more light the better with video, no? If I only use one box with all 5 lights on, then one side of the video will be darker than the other

  • #209080
    Avatarrs170a
    Participant

    This is extremely difficult to comment on with out seeing some pictures.

    If you can, please post a few shots of the room (from each end please).

    How tall is the room?

     

    Mike

  • #209081
    Avatarvideodx
    Participant

    Standard room, 8 ft ceiling, I'll get exact measurements of the room a little later. The softboxes are only about 6 feet away from the subject, and they're not even all the way to the sides of the room (cramped shooting conditions =(  )

  • #209083
    Avatarapost@andypost.com
    Participant

    a couple of thoughts.  First, a 60W lamp inside a softbox should not cause a squinting, eye watering, what are you doing to me sort of brightness.  I understand there are multiple lights, so the "pain" should be spread around a bit.  My guess is that your subject is doing just what you said….complaining.  He/she might be uncomfortable being in front of the camera, questioning their performance etc.  If it's not just whining, look at two things.  Look at the pupils of their eyes.  For me, when my lights are too bright, the iris stops way down and they look weird to me.  No dark in the middle of the eyes.  If you're convinced it's not whining, then see if you can just use fewer lights.  You have to like your lighting setup, not Mike.  Can you bump up your ISO an use less light?  You can try take the lights out of the soft boxes and bounce them off the off camera walls of the room.  Less light (darker), broader source (that even look you want AND it's not as specular for the subject. 

  • #209087
    Avatarrs170a
    Participant

    apost, it's a lot more than 60W. Each softbox has 5 60W. CFL lamps for a total of 300W. which is the equivalent of 1500W. of incandescent light.

    Specs as per the supplier's page at http://www.ephotoinc.com/green-screen-video-soft-continuous-light-lighting-kit-s.html

    videodx is using 4 out of 5 CFLs so that's still 1200 W.

    Your suggestion of bouncing them is a good idea but I would rather bouce them off of the ceiling, not the wall. This assumes that the ceiling is white and not some other colour.

    Another suggestion is to take another light out.

    You can also try pro grade diffusion material (so it won't burn up on you) such as Cinegel's Spun or Frost.

    http://rosco.com/filters/cinegel.cfm?CategoryID=6&menuReturn=film

    FYI, I never said he had to like my setup. I'm trying to offer suggestions based on my almost 40 years of shooting videos, both in studio and on location, with access to a lot of different kinds of lights.

     

    Mike

  • #209090
    Avatargldnears
    Member

    How much of an opportunity does the " talent " have to acclaimate to the lights? If the ambient light in the room is " low ", or significantly lower than the light level of the shooting lights, the " talent " may not have enough time to adjust to the sudden blast from your instruments?

     

    You say this is a small room? The amount of light needed should be no more than 150 ( incandescent ) watts per instrument, heavily diffused. ( are you using diffusion on your soft boxes ? ) If it were me, I'd begin with two lamps per instrument ( heavily diffused ) and only add additional lamps if needed. 

     

    Do you find that in order to shoot with the amount of light you're using, you have to switch in a ND filter on your camera? If so, switch the ND filter off and reduce the number of lamps in your fixtures to achieve a proper exposure.

  • #209092
    Avatarvideodx
    Participant

    I was using 4 bulbs in each softbox. I have a Canon XA-10, not a pro video guy by any means, just want to have a decent video that isn't dark and gloomy looking. I don't know about ND filters, I have a white card to set white balance and I use the P mode as I was instructed by people in another forum. If I used 2 lights in each softbox, I believe it would be super dark. I MUST be doing something wrong.

  • #209093
    Avatargldnears
    Member

     If I used 2 lights in each softbox, I believe it would be super dark. " ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   You " believe " or you " know "? Surely it wouldn't take much to run a test?  What F-stop appears in your camera viewer under the conditions you are reporting? If your display reads something around F-5, okay . . . . but if it reads F-11 or more, you have too much light.

  • #209094
    Avatarvideodx
    Participant

    I'm not sure if my camera displays F-stop, but I will check and let you know as we need to shoot something this morning.

  • #209095
    Avatarvideodx
    Participant

    I discovered something, in P mode, the picture on the LCD goes darker (which is why I was having to use all those bulbs). P mode says "the camcorder automatically adjusts the aperture and shutter speed to obtain the optimal exposure for the subject"  If I switch it to M mode, the picture gets much brighter (M is full manual control)  When I change to M mode, on the screen it says F2.4. There's a 2.0 but it's greyed out, not selectable.  Below that there's a 1/30, and below that there's a 5dB.  So perhaps I will set the white balance and just try recording in this mode with two bulbs in each softbox.  As much as I've read on this stuff, I don't think I'll ever understand it, and I've been messing with it since 2004.  I guess that's what I get for never taking a class.

  • #209103
    Avatarvideodx
    Participant

    Ok, good news is that my recording came out great using half as much light (two bulbs in each softbox)  This whole thing was a result of that P recording program setting.  Going to manual and then not changing anything seems to be the way to go.

  • #209108
    Avatarrs170a
    Participant

    Glad to hear that you finally got it sorted out!!

    I'd like to offer one more suggestion and that is to play with you r camera.

    Sit down with your manual and go through it from front to back exploring each and every button and what it does. That will give you a much better handle on what it's capable of.

    Happy shooting and editing πŸ™‚

     

    Mike

  • #209126
    Avatarvideodx
    Participant

    Many thanks, I actually did go through the manual when I first got the camera. It's a lot of info to retain though. That P mode is what was really screwing everything up. I thought manual mode would be too advanced for me.  Little did I know I didn't need to adjust anything in that mode and the picture looked perfectly fine…

  • #209136

    You are putting a lot of light on the subject, even with softboxes. I have a similar light kit, and I generally run in a smaller room with only three bulbs on in my key (using only one silk), and one or two in my fill (using two silks. I do use two lights, as I generally prefer a less dramatic look. I get a nice even light, with just a bit of depth and highlights on the talent.

  • #209201
    AvatarBrian
    Participant

    Our job is to make talent look good and feel comfortable.  It's easy to go a little crazy with new toys and make things too complicated and forget that less is often better.  If you want a high-end, dramatic look, it's generally easier to get that by being far more selective with lighting.  Paint the scene with light.  I've done very high end celebrity interviews where the lit scene was actually darker that the hotel suite was with normal room lights.  Modern cameras are very sensitive and often you don't need too many foot candles.  Especially in such a small space, you've got to keep the iris wide open to reduce depth of field so the background goes out of focus.  

     

    Not it knowing the exact setup, I'd be tempted to put one soft box with one or two lights about 3 feet from the talent at eye level and a reflector on the opposite side for fill.  I'd then use my other light to create a slight wash on the background. Break up the bkg light with anything you've got to dapple the light in an organic matter.  It's all a matter of style.  No one approach is right or wrong, we all look at the same problems differently.

     

    Another factor that can cause the light is too bright comment is contrast. You know, bright on talent, black behind the camera…  Sometimes a lamp, hall light, really anything behind the camera can help the talent feel more comfy.

     

     

  • #209202

    Very well said, Brian, and very helpful–thanks! I hadn't thought about using a reflector as the fill. I may play with a more dramatic look. And the ambient light behind the camera is a great idea! 

  • #209205
    Avatarvideodx
    Participant

    Thanks for the insight! The biggest problem I see at the moment is the very cramped room we have to work with at the moment, i.e. not being able to position lights where they should be, etc. When we get a bigger space, I'll be able to work with correct lighting procedures, angles, etc.  

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