31 Mar 2014

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In a previous post, we discussed the importance of being intentional with lighting when it comes to your video shoots. In this follow up post, I’d like to take a bit of time to discuss more in-depth what sort of tools we use here at GCC when it comes to lighting our film productions.

Before we talk gear, I’d like to mention that there is a plethora of amazing tutorials out there that address the different techniques of lighting. One thing I’ve learned along the way is that with lighting, there isn’t one magic formula. It takes time to train your eyes to see what to look for and it also takes time to understand how to get that look that is in your head. Here’s an amazing resource that features a number of great tutorials that specifically deal with the techniques of lighting.

http://filmmakeriq.com/2011/04/20-lighting-tutorials-for-film-and-video/

Let me be the first to say that having the most expensive gear won’t automatically make your film productions amazing.  I think often we tend to think that if we have better gear then everything will just be better.  Specifically with lighting, having great gear does help, but there’s a ton of other great ways to light a set with inexpensive lights. What’s really most important is being creative and intentional with the lights your currently have. With that said, there’s a number of different technologies and types of lights available for your productions today. A few basic things to clarify before we jump in to what we use here at GCC.

Color Temperature.
Most lights sold today fall into 2 categories – Daylight and Tungsten Balanced lights. You will want to choose your color temp based on where you are shooting and what type of mood you’d like to get from your piece. 9 times out of 10 we gravitate towards our Daylight balanced lights. Much easier to balance with the ambient daylight from windows and any outdoor source.

Basic Types of Continuous Lighting.
There are 4 basic types of continuous lights – Tungsten, LED, Fluorescent and HMI. Each one has it’s own advantage over the other. HMI is by far the most powerful, but also way more expensive than the other 3. They also are much bulkier than the other 3. LED are typically light and portable, but lack the power of a tungsten or HMI. In our productions we’ve found that Fluorescent and LED lights are our preferred choices for performance and cost.

Here’s a rundown of some of the lighting tools we use here at GCC. 

China Balls
These by far are the most inexpensive lights we use. They provide a very soft light and are super portable. They also give a 360 degree angle. Can be used with either tungsten or daylight balanced flourescent bulbs.

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Aputure Amaran AL-528S LED
We’ve recently purchased a set of 4 of these little LED lights. They are daylight balanced and can run off battery power. One thing we love about them is there portability. We can stick them about anywhere and they pack a focused punch.

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Kino Flo Diva-Lite 401
This is a light we tend to use on almost every shoot. It provides a beautiful and soft directional flourescent light that can be dimmed from the control on the back. We also love it because it runs cool (which is great considering how hot some Tungsten lights get). Great for interviews and as a key light.
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Kino Flo 4 Bank
This is the bigger brother of our Kino Flo Diva. This specific model has 4’ bulbs and provides us an even larger light source. Since the ballast is wired separate, the actually light is super lightweight. Another go-to light for any interview set. Like the kino, the bulbs you use in the kino’s can be changed from either daylight to tungsten balanced bulbs.

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