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Digital Video Hacks by Joshua Paul

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Chapter 2. Light

Hacks 17–25

Lighting is important to video, especially if you are trying to create a more professional look. Even though you can effectively light a scene “naturally” by using what’s available, if you use specific techniques, you can bring out details (or avoid distractions) in your footage. Best of all, you can light most scenes for very little money.

Compile a Cheap Lighting Kit

Put together a bare-bones, super-cheap lighting package for digital video.

As most of us know, lighting is key to capturing a good-looking image. While preparing to shoot an independent film on location in Thailand and Cambodia, I realized that most of our gear had to be carried on our backs as we moved from location to location. I knew I was going to be lighting mostly with standard lights and using any available light source when possible, so I needed a portable and highly functional kit.

Gathering the Kit

Thailand and Cambodia both use 220-volt current, so I decided to buy most of my lighting elements in Bangkok. Before I left Los Angeles, however, I purchased the following items at a great place called The Expendables Recycler:

  • 3/4 full roll of 12” black wrap (black tinfoil used to block out and shape light)

  • CTO (color temperature orange gel)

  • CTB (color temperature blue gel)

  • ND (neutral density gel in 0.6 and 0.8)

  • Full Blue (a vivid blue gel)

  • Diffusion (both 216 and opal, with opal being more transparent)

  • Gaffer tape in both black and white (a strong 1” cloth tape)

  • A bag of clothespins (used to ...

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