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High powered Led COB vs high powered Led hard panel/brute type

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    #16
    Originally posted by paulears View Post
    I wondered if it was me, out of touch with the 'new' methods, but I just completed a shoot for a dancer and I tried the 'new' techniques and they were so boring, and worse, formless. The dancer stuff I've done for years and for traditional ballet and leotard stuff, a waist high side light is really useful because it puts light into places normally in shadow. Adding a conventional key light (a Fresnel with COB source) pulled the dancer away from the white background - when she was wearing black and pink tights and footwear. I get the impression that the modern way is to light for camera positions anywhere, rather than rig for certain angles. Now, shadows are consider bad, or worse, mistakes!
    thank you for saying this. every time a director says, "i love it! but can we get rid of that shadow...?" i die a little inside.

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      #17
      It’s funny… there are now companies selling little lights that clip onto your phone that they are calling ‘soft’ lights. There is even one called ‘the big softie’ - it is the size of a credit card and mounts close to the axis of the camera on your phone. They promise ‘cinematic’ results - haha.

      So yes totally agree that the terminology is crazy and confused these days.

      Honestly, I wouldn’t consider most LED panels to be a truly soft source either. Perhaps the Arri S360-C is close to big enough to substitute for a small window when used direct. Anything smaller than a moderately sized window attempting to act like a moderately sized window tends to look a bit uncanny to my eyes…. So what is the minimum size to create a character that feels truly soft? It is certainly not 1x1 or 2x1…

      One other point made in this thread that I would strongly disagree with though is that ‘hard’ lights create shadows and soft lights fill them. There is so much stunning cinematography out there where deep shadows are created with an incredibly soft key light…. Some more sci-fi inspired scenes can often use a very hard source as a fill too… so there are no definitive right or wrong… it is subjective and stylistic decisions as we all know..

      For me personally probably the most interesting light coming to market soon is the Fiilex Q10. That is a true hard source with a very small point source emitter that packs 900w…unfortunately it is going to be incredibly expensive so not really relevant to the original subject of this thread…



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        #18
        To me hard v soft is largely defined by the ability to cut and shape it with flags and barndoors. Even a little 1x1 can be a real pain to shape with a flag.
        Mitch Gross
        Prolycht Lighting
        NYC

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          #19
          Have we got a little confused maybe with just certain features that old lights had as standard and newer people don't quite 'get it' and are confused. I've always had a foot in video lighting and theatre lighting, and it always kept me smiling how different they were. I had to get used to TV folk thinking Fresnels were hard sources, while the theatre people considered them soft, and the hard light in theatre being projected shapes and shutters that gave as sharp and edge as you could get. We had 'floodlights' in theatre so useless for everything that nobody quite knew why we used them. The first videos I did in theatre showed just how un-floodlike they were. Then somebody invented asymmetric reflectors that put more light in the bottom of the beam so you could light cloths from the top, more evenly. In theatre, the small stages had Fresnels with 6" lenses and the big ones had 12" versions - which were much softer, but the 6" were more happy making nice puddles of light. The tubular soft lights never had any use on stage - though of as totally devoid of any emotional power - they sort of went blam! I remember Disney coming to London - my first time at a major show and the Lighting Designer hating the British frosts we had available for our follow spots. Up til then we'd had hared edged follow spots - but he wanted special soft, so he flew in from New York, deli-bags which when cut and opened out were just the right softness and lasted a couple of shows if you were lucky. Then another US Designer, Richard Pilbrow introduced us Brits into the light curtain - another new lighting concept. Throughout all this we've had soft light, controlled with barn doors and flags, and we've had hard light with real lenses, controlled with shutters and gobos, and even sharpened harder with snoots on the front to remove contaminant stray light.

          What we currently have for video seems to be re-purposed photographic equipment with light source, with gizmos for the front to soften up hard light. A good old fashioned tungsten lamp surrounded with white fabric worked for years as a really soft source, but now we concentrate LEDs in a small package and then moan when they don't quite do what the old ones did.

          We never even complain when we dim LED light and it goes that dirty sort of white - LEDs are the future and we must avoid not liking them. In fairness, I've now been running RGBW LED washes for years, and not the mega expensive ones, and they've been reliable and excellent value for money. I can throw almost any colour onto a set and see it. In the Tungsten days you could put a dark blue gel on a 1K par can and see about 5W of visible light, and watch the blue get eaten away minute by minute! A red or blue background was virtually impossible, now it's easy.

          We used to judge a face well lit when you could see both eyes because the angle hitting the eyebrow did not block the light, and we would intentionally have a shadow at the side of the nose, so your brain knew where the light was coming from. We then filled it in a bit because the cameras didn't do blacks very well, but kept the sense of direction. We'd happily light the backs of heads or maybe come up under chins to highlight or reveal stuff.

          I have couple of the bright small LED 'studio' lights. Dinky, but bright LED sources, small opening at the front, AC or battery power, a little set of barn doors and variable output. They look totally different from any of my old lights, and thankfully, camera sensitivity has gone up as LED brightness has reduced. The last rig had 6 flat LED panels and a Fresnel LED key. Looked OK, but boring - but I could put cameras practically anywhere and it was lit. For curiosity, I hung sip an Arri 1K tungsten and turned it on. Wow it was bright the cameras all blew out and 5.6 had to go down to F11 to cope with the brightness - from ONE light. Turning it off gave a sense of disappointment.

          I guess I'm just old and look at lighting as an art, and now it's more a craft - as in even illumination and a over concern about colour temperature. We've sort of got a bit paranoid about CT and the consistency of it - LED is just different, and all we need are whites that look white and pleasant skin tones on all skins. I accidentally sold the wrong LED panel - I sold a 5500K ones thinking it was a special ordered 3200K version. The customer never came back but I opened a box and discovered I had just one 3200K panel in with the others. I actually rather like it now, it goes in just off centre so one side of a face is warmer than the other. I like the look.

          Comment


            #20
            LED’s have gotten really good(and most of my lights are LED, now), but you still can’t beat real tungsten and real sunlight.

            When I’m in a space I can completely control, 99% of the time, I still light it 3200K, even with bi/variable color LED’s. There’s just something so off-putting to me, to lighting 5600K in a completely controlled indoor environment. It just doesn’t look or feel right to me(my naked eye). And at home, all of my outdoor floodlights are LED, but still 3200K. My neighbors are all 5600K. Every time I look over there and see his floodlights on at night(or even the day, he’s old and they’re on most of the time), I just shutter a little.

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              #21
              I was helping a young documentary filmmaker who was going to embed with a tribe in Africa. This group had no electric power and for safety did not burn fires at night and rarely during the day. The filmmaker had to travel very light as she's be using a solar panel to recharge her batteries but she needed a little bit of light so took some small LED panels. She asked me about using different color temps and I asked her what she would ever be matching to. All these people were used to was daylight so who needs tungsten?
              Mitch Gross
              Prolycht Lighting
              NYC

              Comment


                #22
                Great post Paul! It is shocking when you turn on the old lights and the new more sensitive cameras can't handle it. It is a step forward for sure but you are correct, the lights are different. I admit I like flat lighting ratios and hate crushed blacks. But also agree that shadows add to look as well. We all do different work, so it is tough to keep things in the art bracket when "modern" people almost look at you funny when you want to add lighting at all! Keep being a 'knower' and try to make art when possible...

                Comment


                  #23
                  Originally posted by Run&Gun View Post
                  LED’s have gotten really good(and most of my lights are LED, now), but you still can’t beat real tungsten and real sunlight.

                  When I’m in a space I can completely control, 99% of the time, I still light it 3200K, even with bi/variable color LED’s. There’s just something so off-putting to me, to lighting 5600K in a completely controlled indoor environment. It just doesn’t look or feel right to me(my naked eye). And at home, all of my outdoor floodlights are LED, but still 3200K. My neighbors are all 5600K. Every time I look over there and see his floodlights on at night(or even the day, he’s old and they’re on most of the time), I just shutter a little.
                  I am the same way. I also really hate it when the different colors get mixed in the same room. I look at everybody and think how can this not drive you crazy?

                  Comment


                    #24
                    Maybe this is the real important bit - it out looks right, even if it's technically wrong, we are happy. We have moved away from the brilliant white artexed (soft/difused) ceilings and the magnolia walls, so when we record in modern houses, even if we carefully set our lights to 5.6K, we get carpets and walls with tints and you see these walls in the moody shots all the time - sort of a pastels hell in a way!

                    Comment


                      #25
                      For many modern lighting styles I will often think, "turn on a damn light!" Far too often I find stuff underexposed or the lighting not directing the eye in a useful manner. It often looks like they just took the natural light as it fell and simply added one or two units to augment. Just because it is natural doesn't mean it is appropriate.
                      Mitch Gross
                      Prolycht Lighting
                      NYC

                      Comment


                        #26
                        Originally posted by paulears View Post
                        I wondered if it was me, out of touch with the 'new' methods, but I just completed a shoot for a dancer and I tried the 'new' techniques and they were so boring, and worse, formless. The dancer stuff I've done for years and for traditional ballet and leotard stuff, a waist high side light is really useful because it puts light into places normally in shadow. Adding a conventional key light (a Fresnel with COB source) pulled the dancer away from the white background - when she was wearing black and pink tights and footwear. I get the impression that the modern way is to light for camera positions anywhere, rather than rig for certain angles. Now, shadows are consider bad, or worse, mistakes!
                        Have you seen Taylor Swift's music video "Shake it Off"? Soft top light can be good too.

                        Comment


                          #27
                          Originally posted by James0b57 View Post

                          Have you seen Taylor Swift's music video "Shake it Off"? Soft top light can be good too.
                          For that industrial strength commercial gleam sure, it can work.

                          On a complete tangent, her new video "All Too Well" is shot on 35mm film with lots of small, directional sources that punp through diffusion or bounce off foamcore or other surface., There's also diffusion on the lens (at first guess I'm thinking classic Black ProMists or maybe Hollywood Black Magic), a low contrast look with lots of warm, and rich autumnal colors that aren't garish but still saturated. Oh, and it's in 1.33 ratio. The story is supposed to take place 13 years ago I believe and the look is certainly something that harkens back to a more classical style of lighting. It's beautifully photographed by Rina Yang and I wouldn't be surprised if one told me she used lensed tungsten sources for everything. So I guess there's that.
                          Mitch Gross
                          Prolycht Lighting
                          NYC

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