Hi guys, i have just started doing my first stop start film and I am struggling to light up me set or even know what I am looking for :(. Are shadows in general bad? 

I currently have two lamps using 100w Halogen (daylight bulbs) should I be using brighter ones? I have them both placed to each side (no back light) but im getting shadows. I have read some of the threads and a lot of people are suggesting cans.  I had two a while ago but I had problem building a good rig to hold them. Im thinking of buying them again but are not sure how many? or how to build a suitable rig to hold them as I cant drill or fix anything into my apartment because i am renting. Would I be better of just buying these and avoiding the hassle

 http://www.ebay.ie/itm/135W-CONTINUOUS-LAMP-BULB-WHITE-UMBRELLA-LIG...

would two do the job in lighting my set up or would that be a newb mistake?*(i only have a small budget of 150). 

Thanks for any help and sorry for the basic question that must get asked a 100 times 

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Lighting depends entirely on what's going on in your scene. Shadows aren't by themselves bad, and can help create realism, drama, impact, whatever. 

The reflector you link to is fine if you want to cast a broad, flat light all over everything. You'll still have a shadow, tho, depending on where you place the light. It just won't be as distinct. 

Back on the old site Light Maestro Jim Aupperle had a great post about the basics of 3-point lighting. (Key, fill, accent.) Wish I could find it. 

Personally, I wouldn't recommend going out and buying a bunch of fancy lighting equipment just now. You can get by quite nicely with simple equipment you can find at a hardware store. I use basic portable light sockets, the kind with a clamp on them, screw in some 50 watt halogen bulbs (floods or spots, depending on the scene), and then wire them up to simple dimmer switches for more control. A length of wire bent into a frame in front of the bulb allows me to wrap foil around each light, which serves as barn doors or snoots to more carefully control where the light shines, and to clamp on gels or diffusion. 

Yeah, I could do that with some nice cans with lovely focused lights in them, but for an amateur I'd prefer to spend 50 bucks rather than a couple hundred. 

For the most part, I think my stuff comes out fairly well:

Eye of God

//shameless plug

Maybe you could post some more information about what you're trying to achieve? It would be easier to figure out what might be needed knowing more about what you have in mind.

nice work, lighting looks good to me :)

yeah sorry, trying to make a film on different origami flowers on a white background. So just single items on the screen that i need lit up. when I place the two lamps each side im getting shadows behind the flowers. It might just be an angle thing as I raises them higher I less of a long shadow but they only lamps so cant get them on the ceiling :(

Have you considered putting the flowers on a different plane than the background? You could have them on a sheet of glass with the white background considerably farther back. By lighting the background separately you'd avoid the shadow issue.

My worry with using the flood lamp with the reflector is that the lighting would end up too flat and you wouldn't get any detail in your origami pieces.

You need at least one more light shooting down into those shadows. If you can position it just behind the flower aiming slightly forward, that will also serve to kick the flower out from the background a bit. 

However, I'm not sure if you're ever going to be able to be rid of shadows with that sort of set-up. Is there any way you can lower your camera and figure out a way of mounting the flower so it stands up on its own and doesn't have to rest on your background? 

I suppose if you really wanted to lose all possibility of a shadow you could shoot against green and just key in a different background.

I'm sure someone else will have better advice than I can give. 

Love the flower, BTW!

I don't know if that would work as im shooting from a slight angle to near op down view. Below is an image of what I mean and the shadows i am getting. I tried grease paper but still getting the shadows at the side :(

yeah I hear what you are saying thanks for the help. hopefully someone else can stop by and help

I am no lighting expert by any means.  The best advice I've been given is:  Light it until it looks good.  So if you like what you see, you're basically there.  If I was lighting your shot, I would try to get rid of the light shadow on the right side.  Use a White Card to bounce light into that area or cover your light with some diffusion.  You can even try aiming the light at the ceiling, if it is white, sometimes that can give you a good Fill light.  

I have a 5 lights on my current setup.  I wanted the entire set to be completely white.  First, I've got 2 basic garage work lights with two 4 foot 5000k fluorescent tubes.  One is rigged high above the set, the other one underneath the set, both aimed at the white background.  Then I have 3 lights from a lighting kit doing the rest.  2 of those lights point at the left and right edges of the BG to help fill out the edges.  Then one light is aimed at the set from the front and above.  This one is called the Key light but it is from the same kit and no different from the other 2.  All three use fluorescent 5000k bulbs.  (the coiled kind)  Here is a photo from my current setup.  It may be difficult to see where all the lights are but it may help.


See my Gumby Blog for more photos.  Hope this helps you.

Anthony's right about bounce cards - they're a great way to get rid of unwanted shadows. Reflected or diffused light is good for filling in shadows and dark areas, it has a very different quality from direct light, which is in straight rays. The scattered quality of reflected or diffused light evens out tones really well. I find myself frequently using small white pieces of posterboard, paper or cloth, envelopes - anything reflective really and rigging them with wire or something to get them right where I need them, often just off camera. 

Diffused light means light that's filtered through some kind of translucent material - a good and cheap way to do this is those Chinese paper lanterns that hang from the ceiling. In fact I discovered these are a cheap trick used a lot by Hollywood and photographers to provide a good diffuse fill light, which is good for lighting faces - it evens out lighting and shadows and fills in rough areas like acne or blemishes. One lighting strategy for that shot I can think of - possibly the best one, would be 2 of the paper lanterns, one oneach side and keep moving them around until they push the shadows away. You could still also add regular direct lighting sources  and white bounce cards too if you want. 

Another possible strategy - if you want to completely eliminate both shadows for an unnatural look use a piece of translucent plastic for the stage floor and light it from beneath. Of course this will make the floor look luminous and your paper look dull and heavy in comparison, probably just about the opposite of what you want to do.

Or you could create a light tent. This is a trick often used to photograph small objects commercially and make them look really good. Here's the first thing that came up when I ggoled it: http://home.comcast.net/~kirchh/Pen_Restoration/Light_Kit.htm

You don't have to buy a kit of course, doesn't look too hard to rig one up using some tracing paper or sheer white fabric and some hardware store clamp lights. Be sure to leave the front open so you can reach inside and aim the camera in through the opening of course. And keep the lights far enough from the material so you don't generate too much heat and burn down your house. 

You could make it bigger than this if it helps. Of course, a light tent achieves essentially the same thing as using a couple of the China lanterns, but with more surround, and that makes it harder to reach in. Wouldn't be hard to come up with something midway between the two - big pieces of sheer fabric supported in front of your lights positioned on both sides, or maybe really big China globes. Maybe more than 2 of them if you want. Just throwing out suggestions. 

In fact maybe a good hybrid would be a well-lit white board for the background like in Anthony's pic and then 2 big China globes. This should allow you to eliminate any shadows, then if you want some more directed lighting you could add in one or two of your Halogens. Oh, I should mention - with the diffused lighting like the China globes bigger is better. A bigger diffuse light source wraps around your subject and eliminates more shadows around the edges. That's why for the ultimate in shadow elimination somebody invented the light tent - basically putting your subject INSIDE the china globe and the lights sources outside! Complete wraparound lighting! 

The light tent idea is a great solution if you want to eliminate all the shadows.  I found a tutorial here.

wow guys, no surprise this place didn't let me down. Been pulling my hair out trying to think a way around it, great stuff guys! thanks again going to try the tent tomorrow and definitely move towards a set up like yours Anthony.  

and thanks for the tutorial cant wait to try and build it

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