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Thread: budget lighting rig

  1. #1

    Default budget lighting rig

    bit heath robinson but mighty impressive results ....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Blog Entries


    Pretty poor technique.

    This is almost a demonstration on how not to do it!

    The background lights are positioned too low,that's why it looks artificial. Light coming from beneath eye (or camera) level looks "wrong" nearly all the time.
    Cables not resting on the floor but making a "washing line" at ankle height, you WILL trip over it at some point. That's not an "if" that's a "when".
    An industrial light completely enclosed in silver foil. It will overheat. Also the bulb life is reduced to a few hours.

    A "cookie" made out of white card. Just right to reflect light everywhere where you don't want it.
    Likewise a flag made out of white card.

    "I haven't got filter gels so I used wax paper"
    Using wax paper on a hot light... Call the Fire Brigade now, so that they're ready for the flames.

    The Key light, too low and on the "wrong" side of the subject, casting an ugly nose shadow (didn't this boy notice that?).
    His upstage eye is almost constantly in shadow.
    Double shadows on the background.

    I won't even start on his microphone placement (he's speaking to his right but has the microphone placed on his left, hence the occasional distortion as the auto-levels struggle.

    The results are very unimpressive, this is someone who sells himself as an expert but is actually lacking in experience and technique.

  3. #3


    When he said wax paper he may have meant baking parchment. This stuff is designed to take the heat of being in an oven so is safer than normal wax paper. The thing I noticed was the use wooden pegs, they will catch fire before the baking paper. (I know from experience) So if anyone is thinking of doing this, dampen the wooden pegs first. Better still use metal clips like THESE.

    Even I wouldn't put foil on the work lights. I liked the idea of the cookie and thats a good point about using a dark one Rob.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rembrandt Rob View Post
    This is almost a demonstration on how not to do it!
    Excellent post Rob. Whilst it's a shame the guy has gone to so much trouble only to get it wrong, it's allowed you in very few words to broadcast to the community some obvious to you but very simple basic lighting "rules" and demonstrate some of the problems with getting it wrong. This is far more effective than any number of "how to do three point lighting" vids that we see, where the lights are good and never in the wrong place.

  5. #5


    I thought it looked fairly good. He was trying to cast shadows here and there, including on his face (note the shadows on my own little avatar), for a more dramatic look, and I thought it was fine for that. Wouldn't have been a good look for a talk show, but for something dramatic he got the effect he wanted.

    There's an article here where somebody outlines how to build your own light kit. This thing has been on the net for years and years. One thing I like about it is that what he says about how poorly made most "pro" light kits are from their mostly useless barn-doors to the light as a feather stands and bad circuitry. He's exactly right. Most light kits are absolute garbage, and you're much better off making your own.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Blog Entries


    Putting to one side the actual results, this is a sterling example of the way bad techniques can spread. Or to put another way, a willingness to teach can sometimes exceed our ability. I'm as guilty as anyone, and as tim suggests, someone pointing out mistakes can be more effective than knowing the ideal way.

    To be honest, I thought the lighting looked fine, especially on my litle phone. But the comments here taught me so much more than the video. And as I wAtched the video after reading rob's comments, I could spot everything that could be done better. The mic placement was a perfect example.

    You can't fault the maker of the video for trying, but he admits himself he is learning, and I thank everyone here for teaching me a better way!

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