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Everything you want to know about studio lighting

Lighting plays very vital role in photography. If there is not proper lighting available during the photo shoot then it can completely ruin photographer's imagination. It doesn't matter how much mega pixels your camera has or how proficient photographer you are, if your studio lighting is not right then you cannot achieve the desired results. Some photographers spend considerable amount of money on costly cameras and lenses but completely ignore the importance of lighting. Suppose, you have purchased an expensive camera but after completing the photo shoot you realize that pictures are contrary to your expectations. Bad studio lighting can be responsible for such things to happen. Hence, it is very important to have proper lighting in your studio to click the picture perfect.

There are mainly three types of lighting kits available in the market namely hot lights, cool lights and flash lights. Hot lights are simple halogen lights which are very helpful in video photography as well as clicking small products. Though these lights are very bright, they do not have enough energy to take photographs of people. The beam produced by hot lights is so bright that it seems very uncomfortable when shine in anyone's eyes. With this type of studio lighting, you need a camera with very slow paced shutter. Furthermore, these lights are also very hot and you need to produce and can easily catch fire.

Cool lights are simple fluorescent lights and do not get hot as comparable to hot lights. Thus, with these lights there is no danger of causing fire and it is safer to use as comparable to its other counterpart. It produces light similar to day light and can be used in the studio at day times too. Moreover, the beam produced by cool lights are eye soothing and do not cause any irritation in eyes. But like hot lights, cool lights also have very little power and get exhausts very easily. These lights have limited range as compared to hot lights.

Lastly, flash lights are the most popular studio lighting used these days. It does not have any limitations like those of hot lights and cool lights. Along with it, these lights are very comfortable to use. Flash lights are further divided into two types- hot shoe flashes and studio flash. Horse shoe lights are those lights which are fitted in the horse shoe of the camera. These are portable lights which can be easily carried from one place to another. Horse shoe lights are very useful to click photos at night or in dark places such as caves. Studio flash lights are used to take photos in studio. These are used along with umbrellas to balance studio lighting and to get perfect one.

You can easily purchase studio lights from a store near you. But sometimes retailers do not provide genuine products and charge much higher rates. You can buy good quality lights from several websites available on the internet and comparatively much lower rates.


Studio Method vs. Field Production

What are the pros and cons of each method? Learning the professional video production skills and become a master !

Television Studios come equipped with multiple cameras and microphones. Lights are attached to the ceiling on a grid. There is a control room with switchers and controllers. You set it up once and leave everything in place ready to go.

Everything in a studio is controllable: the lights, the sound, the action. The action is rehearsed and then done once, using multiple cameras. In the control room, the director switches the cameras and sound sources as the action is happening.

In a well-arranged studio, everything exists for the sole purpose of staging action and getting it on tape.
Every major city has professional television studios available for rent by the day. A PBS station or other small outlet is your best bet to get a relatively low daily rate. Crews are included.

Field production means you're anywhere but a studio. Field production is always dependent upon the characteristics of your location. Your location might be a doctor's office, the bottom of a cave or a chicken coop. Then again, it might be a $10,000-a-plate political banquet or backstage at a rock concert.

Each situation calls for unique methods but you can always find similarities. Field production usually requires a lot of setting up and tearing down the equipment.

These days, the same equipment can be used for both methods. This can save the low-budget producer a lot of money. Luckily for us all, video equipment has become cheap enough to let you set-up a studio in a chicken coop!

Although you can put a studio in the field, for low-budget video production, field production usually means only one camera and one mic. There are exceptions to that of course.

The Super Bowl, the mother of all field productions, uses at least seventy cameras along with two huge trucks full of tape decks, lights, microphones, cables, switchers, signal controllers, graphics generators, you name it that extravaganza uses it. But you don't have to be the Super Bowl to take a TV studio out into the field today. Computers and wireless transmission are two huge leaps in technology that make video production easier.

If you are going to do one-camera technique in the field, here are some facts to help you learn how.

Hollywood movies evolved using one-camera technique. Most field productions, especially low-budget, are done with one-camera technique.

One-camera technique means the action is repeated over and over with the one camera in a new location every time.

For fancy field production, all the lights are moved and re-set up in between every camera location.

Then, all that footage is editing together to simulate the effect you would have gotten had the action been captured simultaneously by multiple cameras, just like what happens in a studio. In other words, field production has always intimidated studio production.


If your videoing some kind of reality situation, like what I did for years in TV news, the action is not repeated for the sake of multiple angles. (Excuse me, Mr. Crook, can you shoot the dude again? I was out of focus.)

In a live situation, the photographer runs her butt off grabbing every conceivable shot as the action happens naturally and then this is edited to simulate multiple cameras.

In a studio, lights are mounted on the ceiling. All the lights are plugged into a board and are controlled individually by sliders and dials on that board. In the field, lighting will either be natural or from portables with collapsible tripods. Portables can be used inside and out.

TIP: You can also get various cloths and reflectors to greatly enhance control over the sun. They're cheap and make a world of difference in the attractiveness of your finished image. The sun is not controllable, but your image is!

In a studio, the show is edited live through a machine known as a video switcher. This saves TONS of time!

Field productions are edited using a computer after they are shot. Good editing can make even a boring subject exciting but quality editing is time consuming. An editor who knows his stuff will plan on taking a minimum of one-hour to finish one-minute of edited story. Quick, down and dirty editing might go faster, but not much. An extremely intricate :30 commercial that gets bickered over a lot might be in editing two weeks. No wonder the budgets for video can quickly soar out of sight! Don't let that happen to you.

The higher the level of the production, the longer editing can take. Quality editing can save an otherwise poor production. Good editing is usually planned, and not just a reaction to fixing stuff that went wrong when shooting. Good editing is one of your most powerful story-telling techniques.

TV Production equipment has come such a long way since the early days it never ceases to amaze me. Now you can set up a studio anywhere out in the field, even a mountain top!

It's not uncommon for crews of two or three to set up multiple cameras and a video switcher for a graduation, wedding or banquet event. Portability is easy. Not having to edit what might be a three-hour event saves days of work and lots of money! The digital capacity of today's machines can put an amazing amount of power on your desktop.


A Look At Some Digital Photography Lighting Tips For Picture-Perfect Photos

You can master digital photography once you have three things; the best camera, the best source of light and the right color. So if even if you own the best digital camera if you don't know how to make perfect shots then you won't get the quality you are looking for.

Professionals in this camera world know that the best camera is only one of three things that you need. There are other factors to making a good picture and shot, one of those happens to be lighting.

You have probably seen photos that are blurry and you can't make out the picture. There are a lot of pictures that turn out this way and it's because you are not getting the picture right.

If this is your problem then the reason is most likely that you can not get the lighting right in the time that you are taking the picture. You were most likely thinking that oh the camera will fix the problem for me, yes it will but in the conditions that you might be in it might only change the settings slightly and not to your standards.

The key to getting a nice picture is to capture it the first time the right way. By taking the picture the right way it is meaning to set the light in the area of the shot to what it needs.

Below are some tips to making a picture come out nice.

After the sun rises and after it sets are good times to take photos. During these times photos will be at there peak potential and will be to there highest quality. The reason this is the best time is because the orange red color that appears in the sky at these times is what your camera is compatible with and what will make it produce nice perfect pictures and shots. The color of the area you are in can make a difference in brightness as well.

Sunlight is the form of light that will make your pictures nice when you don't have a flash. It is up to you to make the choice of where to make the shot at during the sunlight hours. You can get the best out of your camera during the sun hours and using the sun will make your pictures higher of quality. Shooting the perfect shots is not easy in taking a digital photo. You will need to have the best possible lighting as you can. Remember to take pictures at the peak times like after the sun rises and after it sets are perfect times and also while the sun is our during the day are peak times.


Why Do You Need a Studio Flash Strobe Light Kit?

Investing on a studio flash strobe kit is the next probable step for photographers who wish to bring their craft to the next level. Much about photography is how much a person knows about their light source.

You need to know more than just which brand might be best for your lighting needs. You also need to know how to manipulate the lighting to make the set have the atmosphere that the photographer has in mind. Of course daylight is usually the best light, but not if you're trying to mimic a particular mood.

Cost is also a consideration. Dramatic scenes can be cast with either continuous lighting or a studio flash strobe. Continuous lighting uses lots of electricity, and the bulbs tend to overheat and burn out very quickly. Strobes, although more expensive up front, will ultimately cost less over their lifetime.

A basic Studio flash strobe lighting kit would be made up of two strobe lights with their own tall light stands, a shorter light stand, varied reflectors, soft boxes and an umbrella. The shorter light stand is often used for smaller subjects or as a stand for the light source dedicated for the background.

The two tall light stands will usually hold the strobe lights. The photographer will adjust the height and direction to direct the light to add a depth of field to the photo. One light will typically be used as a fill light, while the other will be the main light on the subject.

Controlling light is also for achieving the mood they want. Soft boxes are used to soften the light that touches the subject. In portraiture, hard shadows are often considered distracting in a photo. The umbrella as well as the reflectors is used for directing or controlling the light in a studio or in an outdoor shoot.

Depending on the mood desired, the photographer can use an umbrella or reflector made out of different materials. For flattering portraiture, a gold reflector will often be used, as they cast a warm and richer tone on the subject's skin tone.

In order to create a surreal atmosphere using a combination of light and shadows, a silver or aluminum reflector can be used. One side of the reflector may be coated with black. This can be used to block or trap the light that's being reflected from the light source or the walls, or surrounding surfaces.

Most studio light kits also have a carry bag that you can store all of these items in. Typically each component in a studio lighting kit is collapsible and can be easily transported to your location shoots.


Video Production - White Balancing and Color Temperature Explained

If the color of the video you shoot is messed up, chances are high that the problem is either with white balancing the camera or the "color" of the light you are videotaping in.

These two things are a bit on the technical side when it comes to making video but they are not really that hard to understand. White balancing and color temperature are intricately related and any discussion of one will include the other.

White balancing is an adjustment you make to the camera that tells it what kind of light you are recording in so that the camera records video the correct color.

Small, automatic cameras always have automatic white balancing so you do not need to worry about it, but larger video cameras have manual white balance control which gives you better quality. Now a small automatic camera can easily be overwhelmed by different colored lights and not be able to handle it, but outside of changing your light, you would have no control over the situation.


Different types of light are different colors, and these differences are measured on what's known as the Kelvin color temperature scale. Color temperature has no relation to any HEAT that might be given off by the light, rather it is about where the light falls on the color spectrum.

The camera needs to adjust itself, called white balancing, in order to shoot proper color. This might seem strange, because light generally looks white to us humans, regardless of its source. We do not see sunlight as blue, florescent light as green, or incandescent as orange, but they are.

Cameras see the light as it is truly colored but our brains and eyes sort them all out as white or else we'd feel like we were on a permanent LSD trip. (Wow man, everything is soooo colorful.)

Color temperature is the technical term for measuring the color of light. The Kelvin Temperature scale is used. Standard sunlight is about 5,400 degrees Kelvin. Shadowy sunlight is "colder," about 7,400 degrees.

Tungsten halogen TV lights are orange and come in at 3200 degrees kelvin.
You do not really have to know these exact values to adjust your camera.

Most cameras white balance by pointing them at a white card that is reflecting the light being shot under. Then a button is pushed and the camera reads the white and adjusts all other colors relative to the white.

It is important to re-white balance your camera every time you change light sources and of course, every time you turn it on.

One advanced tip is to white balance on a card with a slight blue tint and you will get a nice warm orange. Not orange enough to look distorted, just orange enough to look inviting.

You can do the reverse by balancing on a slightly orange card. This gives you a blue tint, which might just be what you need to make that Christmas scene shot in July look cold.

To play it safe and get the truest color, it is best to shoot in one type of light. Mixtures can throw a camera off. For example, if you shoot inside under incandescent light your windows will look overly blue. Sometimes that can actually look nice, but often it looks horrible.

If you go outside to shoot without changing your white balance setting from taping indoors, your video is likely to be very blue.

If your camera has a manual white balance, use it every single time you change light. Also change it as the day lingers, because sunlight in the evening is much bluer than sunlight at noon. If your camera does it automatically, cross your fingers and hope for the best. Most do amazingly well.

One great feature to look for in more advanced video cameras is the ability to set white balance presets. They can help you change your white balance quickly, without having to go through the typical routine with the white card.

I hope this information helps you make better videos!

Lorraine Grula
Internet Video Gal


Video Editing Software - What is the BEST?

I often have people ask me, "What's the best video editing software to use?"

My answer is always, "It depends."

What are you going to edit? How much experience do you have? How complicated do you want to get?

What is "best" for one person won't necessarily be best for the next person.

Personally, I use Final Cut Express. I love it. FCE will do almost everything it's big brother, Final Cut Studio will do. The biggest difference between the two is in the number of video file formats it works with. Final Cut Studio works with a larger number of professional grade formats.

I still shoot on mini dv, which is accepted in Final Cut Express, so I saved myself a bundle and bought FCE. ($1,200 vs. $300)

Validation for my luv of FCE came when I read Videomaker Magazine's annual Best Products of the Year awards. Videomaker gave Final Cut Express the "Best Video Editing Software" title.

According to Videomaker, FCE is a fantastic, low-cost stepping stone into professional-grade editing. The newest version, FCE 4.0 even accepts AVCHD, the new high-definition format.

VideoMaker's annual "Best" awards have several more categories for video editing software. In a category they call, "Best Introductory Editing Software," Videomaker declared a tie between Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 12 ($129) and Corel Video Studio Pro X2, ($99). According to Videomaker, both programs are simple enough for beginners but powerful enough to do complex tasks. (FCE would probably drive newbies just as nuts as Final Cut Pro.)

Pinnacle Studio actually has three levels of complexity and price. Pinnacle Studio is the least expensive at $49, Studio Plus comes in at $99 and Ultimate v. 12 costs $129. All three keep simplicity at the forefront by configuring tasks as templates rather than making the editor select all variables involved. This feature is definitely what a beginner wants.

Corel Video Studio comes in two levels of complexity and price. Pro X2 costs $99 and the basic version runs $70. The basic version limits you to two video tracks and two video overlay tracks while the pro version gives you seven.

When considering an entire suite of video editing software, VideoMaker Magazine gave the top nod to Adobe Creative Suite 4 Production Premium at $1,699. NOT CHEAP. But you get all this: Illustrator, Photoshop Extended, Flash Professional, After Effects, Premiere Pro (the actual video editing software), Encore, Sound Booth, Device Control, Bridge and Dynamic Link. If you are really serious about achieving professional level video editing, this would be a great package. If you don't need quite that much capability, you can get Premiere Pro by itself for $799. Adobe has done a good job of making Premiere much more user-friendly over the years and they also now have a version for Mac.

Adobe also won a Most Innovative Software award for Visual Communicator 3, made especially for the video blogger. Adobe touts it as streaming video made simple. The software helps you with the entire production process, not just post production. It includes a teleprompter as well as features that let you upload your to the web. Adobe purchased this software from a company called Serious Magic.

The final software award, Best Visual Effects Software, was given to proDAD Adorage. If you want to add lots of fancy transitions, this software includes transition effects such as Particles and Lights, Universal Tricks, Diamond Composites, Power FX Pearls, Eyecatcher FX and Particles and Objects. All nine volumes together sell for $499. You can get individual packages starting at $73. Keep in mind this software is not full-fledged video editing software, but rather a package to use in conjunction with standard video editing software.

So if you have been looking to buy some video editing software, consider your needs and budget. Then you can decide what is best for you.

Thanks for reading Video Production Tips

Lorraine Grula
Internet Video Gal


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