I believe you can only get better at your craft if you practice at it. Throughout the years I have made mistakes, but I try to learn from them so that I do not repeat them. A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about using hot lights for interviews, and over the weekend I testing them once again. It is better to be prepared for a video production shoot than not at all. This is why I continue to test these light out.
Tungsten lights can be seen as the lighting of the past, their hot, inefficient, and just old. Well I like these lights; I like them a lot for several reasons. Tungsten lights have a CRI reading of 100. This means that they represent the full color spectrum. Unlike LED lights, tungsten lights allow for full color. LED lights are coming close to meeting the 100 CRI benchmark but they have a ways to go. Sure you can buy a LED light kit that resembles a tungsten light kit for about $2,500, but many of us who are dealing with video do not have that much money for lights.
The reason why I like the tungsten Lowel lights is that the light can manipulated in many ways. They can be controlled by barn doors, diffusion paper, umbrellas, black foil ect. They do get hot, but you can buy gloves to protect your hands. I bought a full Lowel light kit for close to $300. This kit also came with one hard case and one soft case. I did have to buy some heavy duty extension cords and a few dimmers.
The test I conducted over the weekend was with my son. I tested out 1 Omni light that had a 300 w bulb and scrim, one pro light for the background light, and one pro light that had a 125 w bulb. I tried two different umbrellas on the key light. I first tested a white umbrella and a full scrim on the Omni key light. This setup did not produce enough light, so I replaced the white umbrella with a silver one, and took off the scrim. This setup produced a lot more light which I feel looked good on my son’s face. I then turned on a pro light with 125 w bulb with a white umbrella as my fill. Now in both instances where I used umbrellas, I used them as a bounce not a shoot thru. The fill light produced enough light to take away some of the shadow on my son’s left side. As for my background light, I tested both a 125 w pro light, and a 300 w Omni light. Both lights were shooting through black foil that I made holes in.
I was happy with the test results and will be using this setup next time I shoot an interview. Setups like these take a little bit of time but it is well worth it. I can now setup my next interview with confidence and know what the end result will look like. I highly recommend videographers take the time to test their equipment out at home so that they can feel better prepared for when they get the call to record.