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View Full Version : Lighting an indie film!


NathanRomano
10-24-2009, 11:15 AM
We're filming a movie in December and it's damn crunch time. I'm doing all of this myself, so I really have no help on getting any of this equipment.

I've got my mic, camera, script, actors in, so yay. Now I'm working on lighting. I originally planned on getting some work lights. Spend about 100 bucks, but then I was on Amazon. I saw some of these sets for about 250-300.

http://www.amazon.com/CowboyStudio-Digital-Continuous-Lighting-Carrying/dp/B001P7G0ZQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=photo&qid=1256400715&sr=1-2
Like this one. The set looks pretty good and I can probably round up enough money for that. What I'm wondering is- is it as good as it looks?

Silverload
10-24-2009, 02:28 PM
Just rent. It'll be cheaper and you'll have better lights to work with.

Work lights are uncontrollable. They are only usable for flooding an area with light, and don't expect to get a good cinematic look from only work lights.

Same problem with the lights in your link, but instead of the harsh light of a work light you'll get something much softer.

I personally only own a basic three light kit. Two fresnels, 300w & 650w, and a large 2000w equivalent florescent softbox. I rent everything else I need.

I strongly recommend that you rent. Most rental places have good deals on light kits similar to mine. You can pick up a few fresnel lights (they are very controllable) & a softbox light or two fairly cheap. Look around and find the best kit that you can afford.

The key to great lighting is to accessorize. So make sure to rent plenty of accessories as well. Barn doors & light stands should come with any basic light kit rental, if not get them. Also get frost gels, colored gels, scrims, a bounce board or two, and flags. You want to be able to control the light as much as possible. The list of accessories is endless, but this should give you a solid kit to work with.

You should be able to rent all of this for a weekend for well under $100.

NathanRomano
10-24-2009, 02:29 PM
Wow. Thanks man!

adamjohnson
10-24-2009, 03:34 PM
Try and rent LEDs. Trust me.

Conventional bulbs use all that power (anywhere between 500W and 100,000W) and alot of it is lost generating HEAT. A 500W bulb left on for 25 seconds will generarte enough heat to set something on fire - Ive done it. You'll melt gels and sometimes the set. Ive done that too.

LEDs dont generate any heat, making a much more pleasant on set experience. They also require less power because theyre not wasting as much, which comes in handy if you're having to use a generator or other portable power on set.

Their light is also cooler on the kelvin scale, IE they're WHITER. White light looks blue to the naked eye, but trust me, its white. With conventional lights you'll have a more difficult time getting that yellow to a real white, with gels.

And gels are a MUST.

Get barn doors and the thingy that lets you slide in gel screens.

You can alter light color with gels. But you can also use a diffuser and skip the big soft box. You can softe up your light etc.

Chinese lanterns are also another cheap thing used on ALOT of set. Get a white lantern with nothing on it and it cam simulate moonlight really well, as well as a general 360 degree light that can be hung above any set.

I try to use available light whenever possible. It creates a more realistic viewing experience. Windows and set lamos are very good.

NathanRomano
10-24-2009, 04:15 PM
I can't find any place near me renting lights :(

Silverload
10-24-2009, 04:29 PM
I can't find any place near me renting lights :(
You might have to find somewhere out of town. Where do you live?

Try and rent LEDs. Trust me.

LEDs are great, but they're way out of his price range to rent. He'll get more light for a cheaper price going with good old fashion tungsten.

Conventional bulbs use all that power (anywhere between 500W and 100,000W) and alot of it is lost generating HEAT. A 500W bulb left on for 25 seconds will generarte enough heat to set something on fire - Ive done it. You'll melt gels and sometimes the set. Ive done that too. .


For what he'll be renting I doubt that he'll use more than 4,000 watts worth of light. And I doubt that he'll be renting a light hot enough to melt a gel anyways. Regardless, these lights do get crazy hot (even the small ones) so always wear gloves.

I once saw a bug burst into a quick flame after landing on a 1000w tungsten. :D

With conventional lights you'll have a more difficult time getting that yellow to a real white, with gels.

That's a non-issue if he is shooting on digital. All he has to do is white balance the camera.

NathanRomano
10-24-2009, 04:34 PM
I live in Greensboro, NC.

Here's the problem: Scheduling issues, I have to film one scene two weeks before the week of filming.

Silverload
10-24-2009, 04:46 PM
There is a studio in Raliegh I know of, about an hour from Greensboro, so that'll be the best place to start looking.

Silverload
10-24-2009, 04:52 PM
Also check here: http://www.ncfilm.com/

Silverload
10-24-2009, 04:54 PM
And here you go: http://www.onlocation-nc.com/lightgrip.htm

It's about an hour from you, so you should have no troubles with your schedule.

NathanRomano
10-24-2009, 05:00 PM
wow. you are the man. I spent hours searching. Much Love!