In this episode we focus on what sorts of cheap lights we might use for production, what some of their limitations are, and how good we can make them look.
How Much Can You Put Out? I couldn’t find bulbs with exact matches in exposure. People selling you fluorescents tend to say they are 5x brighter for the same power. In my experience it’s much lower than that when you need a harder source with throw, and it’s higher than that when you want a softer source (since fluorescents are naturally larger sources and need less light-blocking diffusion to get a similar softness).
Four Bulbs One Guy: This one is pretty self explanatory. We shot it on a Nikon D800 at tungsten white balance, leaving that white balance alone the whole time. There was no post color grading/correction to it. The exposures were different based on the light and they were all metered with an incident meter to within a 1/3rd of a stop. I was surprised at how different they all were actually. The Kino in my experience has always gone a touch magenta/red, and that’s true here. In some ways it looks better on skin tones. It certainly beats the green of the other lights! The hardware store bulbs did not have advertised CRIs, and I think I see why.
Really Bangin’ It For Your Buck: Both scenes were shot on the same camera in the same location. Just about everything else changed. No, I don’t think this is award-winning-oh-my-God-best-lighting ever. But I do think that it’s really solid, and doesn’t hold the piece back. It’s good enough that you focus on the story, the flow, the big picture. Pro lights won’t necessarily make it better. They tend to make it easier. Trying to mount the backlight using only a $7 clamp fixture from Home Depot was enough to make me want to smash it. But the final result is vastly improved.
Holler if you have more questions.